Helping sports organization solve integrity, growth, and development challenges

Q: What Is the Ideal Composition of An Athletics Policy Board?

A:  While there is no one ‘right’ composition for the Board or Committee that serves in an athletics program oversight and policy approval role, following are important considerations:

  1. Objective View.  No member of the Committee should be in the normal decision-making line of authority over athletics.  The Committee is charged with oversight responsibilities.  It would be a conflict of interest for a member of the Committee to be directly associated with the athletics department or be administrators to whom the athletic director reports.
  2. Majority Faculty.  Athletic department conformance with higher education's core belief in faculty control of academic integrity is essential.  The majority of voting members of the Committee should be members of the faculty.
  3. Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR).  The FAR is usually a presidential appointee charged with representing the institution to governance associations of which the institution is a member.  Not only is the FAR responsible for voting on behalf of the institution, this person is also delegated with regular oversight responsibility.  It is a good idea for the FAR to chair the Policy Board to lend continuity and stability to the leadership of the Board.
  4. Student-Athletes.  There should be one current or former male and female student-athlete representative on the Committee as voting members to be sure the “customer” voice is heard.
  5. Alumni.  There should be one or two alumni as voting members to be sure the views of this important stakeholder/donor group are considered.
  6. Athletic Director.  No member of the Athletics Department should be a member of the Committee except the Director of Athletics who should serve as an ex-officio non-voting member to be sure it operates on the best information possible.

Committee members should have term limits and within each type of representative (e.g., faculty, student-athletes, alumni), terms should be staggered so that all members of a group aren’t leaving or starting service at the same time.

-- By Donna Lopiano, SMR President