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Governance Working Group

Governance Working Group met on May 21, 2002

The Governance Working Group met on May 21, 2002, from 3:30 to about 5:30, to interview VP President for Business and Finance Bill Shkurti and VP for Student Affairs Bill Hall and to discuss the agenda for upcoming activities. It was decided to have a May 28 meeting to talk over what we have learned from our interviews and the email responses from current/former chairs of Athletic Council. The list of questions for the interviews is attached below.

In responding to particular questions (numbered below), VP Shkurti made the following points:

(2) Governance Structure: Athletics has reported to him on financial matters since President Kirwan came, but not before. Athletic Council (AC) needs to balance often conflicting expectations between athletics as a business and academics, but it should not micromanage athletics budget. AC should have inputs into big spending decisions, as an advisory committee, but it is responsibility of administration to oversee fiscal side of things. How President deals with athletics is crucial to governance. Governance of program is now much better than it was 5 years ago.

(4) Weaknesses/Problems: We should be grateful that we don't have to subsidize athletics from academic budgets. Worries generally about escalating revenues and costs, an "arms race" in intercollegiate athletics.

(6) Most Important Decisions Involved In: Approval of annual budget and capital expenditures both come to him, the first as routine, the second periodically. Capital process for Schottenstein Center was not what it should have been, because early estimates were bare-bones and costs escalated for reasons beyond U control. Worked well with AD Geiger to control costs as much as possible. Board placed moratorium on new construction, and additional building is to be self financed. While Athletics does not compete with academics over capital budget, we are reaching limit of debt capacity, which would lower bond rating and increase interest rate for both athletic and academic projects, thereby increasing costs. A past problem was that Athletics budget was in deficit for two years in a row, but no longer. More commonly, Athletics has contributed money to the academic side of the U. Overall, feels better about fiscal situation for Athletics than he did in past.

In responding to particular questions (numbered below), VP Hall made the following points: (1) Governance Goals: Need to make sure U has proper control and oversight, which was not the case 5-6 years ago. Critical for institution to be committed to education of student athletes and to their development as young people inside and outside of the classroom. (2) Governance Structure: Needs to monitor closely to protect fiscal integrity of program, but also must be sure athletics is not overtaxed. Needs to protect against boosters undermining goals and violations of NCAA regs. Shared governance process is a good thing, and is working well now. Also, reporting line to President is working well now. Athletics doesn't need to report to VP for Student Affairs, though that VP should be a member of Athletic Council (AC) -- and a voting member, which is not now the case. VP Hall also is involved in athletics as member of coordinating council and President's cabinet. Shares operations of Schottenstein Arena and works regularly with AD Geiger on those issues. Pleased that admissions of athletes to U is determined outside of Athletics.

(6) Decisions about Athletics: One major decision he was involved in was in having Schottenstein Center report to VP for Student Affairs rather than Athletics. Has been in regular interaction with Athletics regarding Larkins expansion/renovation, which will be shared between Student Affairs and Athletics. Also is involved through intramural programs, which he runs. He and AD Geiger meet regularly to talk over common issues. Feels that AD Geiger is very student focused; he insisted that Younkin Success Center be for all students, not just athletes. Younkin and faculty involvement in academic oversight of athletes (David Franz) has been very useful in changing the culture and improving athletes' academic performance.

(7) Weaknesses/Problems: Sees no major problems, but worries about amount of dept (which he thinks is well managed) and especially harsher treatment of student athletes for misdeeds than students would receive. Athletes have to abide by student rules, but they have rights of students and the attention they receive from the media sometimes undermines those rights.

(8) Representation: Doesn't hear overwhelming dissatisfaction with athletics among students, and they are sufficiently represented on AC, which reports well to student government. In past, ticket policies did not always serve students well. Only they had IDs checked against tickets, and it is good that they can now move down into empty seats after games have begun.

Attending: Paul Beck, Doug Berman, Susan Hartman, Kimberly Mahoney, Kris Richardson (for Shkurti interview only), Anne Wilkinson (for Shkurti interview only)

Minutes reported by:
Professor Paul A. Beck, Chair
Department of Political Science
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210-1373
Phone: 614-292-2880 Fax: 614-292-1146

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