President John Welty’s statement:
Last fall, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) issued the final report of the NCAA Presidential Task Force on the Future of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics.
This report, prepared by a 50-member task force, of which I was fortunate to be a member, is titled “The Second Century Imperatives: Presidential Leadership-Institutional Accountability.” The report places emphasis on campus-based presidential leadership and institutional accountability in the funding of intercollegiate athletics and the integration of intercollegiate athletics with the university’s educational mission.
The report sets a clear direction for ways to fully integrate athletic and academic programs at universities and colleges throughout the United States. I am committed to ensuring that Fresno State will be at the forefront of these national changes.
To implement the recommendations of the task force I am today announcing the creation of the Fresno State Commission on Athletics Finances.
The NCAA report highlights the significant steps that have been taken to address academic issues concerning student-athletes and points out that “financial integrity of intercollegiate athletics is the remaining piece of significant athletics reform to be achieved.”
The report further states, “The faculty has an indispensable role to play in the integration of athletics departments with the rest of the campus, the development of athletics budgets in accordance with the way in which budgets for the rest of the campus are determined and the support of presidential leadership in aligning athletics with institutional mission and values” [p. 17].
The report calls for greater transparency with regard to athletics budgets and development of systems and controls that assures the fiscal integrity of athletics programs.
As I review these NCAA initiatives, I am confident that university presidents will find them helpful in addressing some of the issues surrounding the funding of major athletic programs. I also believe implementation here will help us build on the momentum of ongoing integration actions.
Under the leadership of Athletics Director Thomas Boeh and his staff, the university has made major strides in strengthening its compliance and student-athlete academic assistance programs. These programs are more closely integrated with the university’s academic programs and mission. We are beginning to see success in these areas, and many of our coaches have led the way in improving the academic success of our student-athletes.
However, like many of our sister institutions, Fresno State has struggled with fiscal issues in our Athletics program. Four years ago, we began taking initial steps to place stronger fiscal oversight for the program under the Associate Vice-President for Financial Services by creating a dual reporting structure. This past year we achieved a balanced budget for the first time in several years. In addition, two years ago we strengthened our Athletics fundraising program by combining all Athletics fundraising under one entity and governed by a newly appointed Bulldog Foundation Board of Directors.
These were clear improvements, and we’ve already seen positive results. However, I do not believe we have completed the task and it is imperative that our actions are consistent with the recommendations found in the “Second Century Imperatives” report.
We must have an Athletics program operated with unquestionable fiscal integrity and provide information to supporters of the program that assures their financial commitments are being invested wisely to achieve our goal of being recognized as a premier Division I Athletics programs.
Our new Commission on Athletics Finances shall have the following responsibilities:
1. Complete a review of the means by which Athletics programs in our comparable peer group of universities are funded and recommend any actions that should be taken with regard to the long-term funding of Fresno State’s Athletics program.
2. Review the current fiscal operation of the Athletics program, including but not limited to:
a. The organizational effectiveness and efficiencies of the Athletics fiscal operation;
b. Business processes, operations and internal controls;
c. Assuring that budget reports and fiscal data are transparent for all stakeholders;
d. The role of the Athletic Corporation and its contribution to Athletics operations and fiscal integrity.
3. Examine the existing structure of Athletics fundraising and determine if this organization is most effectively suited to meet the long-term needs and expectations of the program. Such review shall include the current processes used for gifts and the procedures followed to ensure that donor funds are utilized as intended. Also, review any recommendations that may emerge from the current external review being undertaken with regard to Athletics matching gifts.
4. Seek out best practices in these areas and determine the feasibility of adopting these practices to build a model for other universities.
Athletics Director Boeh, who supports this initiative, offered this comment: “Those of us within the Department of Athletics enthusiastically applaud this comprehensive overview of the department’s financial structure, operational procedures and funding model within the context of the NCAA Division I-A environment. I believe that this commission represents an important next step toward the long-term sustainability of Fresno State Athletics while maintaining the spirit of the recent recommendations of the NCAA Presidential Task Force. This effort will result in the development of significant internal efficiencies as well as a less-complex and fully transparent athletics department that is more easily understood and embraced by our community. “
Dr. Paul Oliaro, Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Fresno State, will chair the commission.
Serving as members will be the following:
Thomas Boeh, Director of Athletics
Steve Katz, Associate Vice President for Financial Services
Dr. Ken Shipley, Associate Provost
Dr. Andrew Hoff, Interim Dean, College of Engineering
Ellen Jamra, Director of Advancement Services
Dr. Mike Botwin, Chair of the Academic Senate
Dr. James Kus, Chair of the University Budget Committee
Dr. Lynn Williams, Faculty Athletics Representative
Faculty member to be appointed by Academic Senate
J.P. Moncayo, president of Associated Students Inc., or designee
Bill Chaltraw, chair of the Bulldog Foundation Board of Directors, or designee
John Wallace, president of the Bulldog Foundation Annual Fund
James Woodward, Chair of the Audit Committee, Fresno State Foundation
Vinci Ricchiuti, Member of the Fresno State Athletic Corporation Board and Fresno State Foundation
Tom McFerson, Chair of the Athletic Corporation, Audit Committee
Ex-officio, non-voting members: Cynthia Matson, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer; and Dr. Peter Smits, Vice President for University Advancement
Staff resources: Chris Robinson, University Controller; and Associate Director of Athletics for Business upon appointment to the position
I am asking that the commission submit an initial report with preliminary recommendations to me by June 1.
I look forward to the recommendations of this commission. I believe that the work of this group is extremely important to the success of our Athletics program in the future.
For more information contained in this release, please go to the following Web sites:
Second Century Final Report: NCAA Presidential Task Force on the Future of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics
Second Century Report Executive Summary