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"Understanding the Governance and Financial Impact of Athletic Programs" was one of several sessions within a track organized by NACUBO in partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This session and others were designed to nurture partnerships between athletic departments and business officers.

Among the audience were chief and athletics business officers who posed challenging questions for a panel that included Dr. Guy Bailey, former president/chancellor at the University of Alabama, Texas Tech University, and the University of Missouri‒Kansas City; Rick Anderson, vice president for administration and treasurer, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas; Kathleen McNeely, vice president of administration and chief financial officer, NCAA; and Rick Legon, president, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB).

The panelists offered observations and suggestions for business officers:

  • The value of the NCAA dashboard indicators cannot be overestimated. The president, athletic director, and CBO at each NCAA Division I, II, or III member institution receive the dashboard indicators, which include valuable benchmarks that can be used to inform the direction of the institution's athletic program.
  • CBOs and other senior leaders should more clearly communicate the high grade-point averages and academic success of student athletes, putting to better use positive statistics about athletics on campus. Studies show that these successful graduates often aspire to leadership positions.
  • The amount of media contracts is likely to increase in the coming years. These contracts can significantly offset athletic program expenses. Kathleen McNeely predicts that because of this, the number of NCAA Division I institutions that operate unsubsidized could increase in upcoming years.
  • It is a governing board's responsibility to understand finances around athletics. The Statement on Board Responsibilities for Intercollegiate Athletics, published in 2009 by AGB, points to NCAA key data indicators that are highly useful to governing boards. Legon urged chief business officers to utilize this resource and, "Help your board carry out what they are legally required to do."

Other sessions in the track for athletics business officers included "Communicating and Building Relationships With Campus Administration," "NCAA Reform Initiatives," and "Strategic Planning for an Athletic Program."

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