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Article Posted March 22, 2013

Featured - Regents vote to increase oversight of college athletic programs

Regents vote to increase oversight of college athletic programs

Athletics will receive closer scrutiny by the Board of Regents under a new policy adopted by the University System of Georgia’s governing body.

The new Policy 4.5 addresses the establishment of intercollegiate athletics, the expansion of sports, changes in intercollegiate athletic competition levels and the funding of these programs on all 31 campuses. Under this new policy, the Board of Regents must give its approval in these broad areas of athletics before an institution can move forward.

“The Board wanted to provide greater clarity for its own decision making and for our institutions as they explore athletics,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “This policy makes it clear that in the future, we are going to address athletics from a System perspective and with the board’s close attention to the financial impact upon our campuses and on our students.”

The new policy was developed under the direction of Dr. Houston Davis, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the USG. Davis said that prior to today’s action, there was no specific policy in place to guide the board and institutions in this significant area of activity. “An internal group looked at other state approaches and then worked with the regents and the campus presidents to develop and fine tune the policy adopted today,” he said.

Financial considerations drive much of the new policy, requiring campuses to provide detailed information on projected expenditures and revenues and the sources of funding for both the creation of new and the expansion of existing athletic programs. The policy sets forth that the “operation of intercollegiate athletics cannot come at the expense of academic programs and essential activities at a campus or by diverting funds from other major campus functions.”

New guidelines require institutional presidents to first notify the chancellor of athletic plans and the chancellor then will determine if the board should receive written notice. If a “formal review and approval by the board is required, the institution shall submit, for that approval, a full proposal to the Board of Regents for integrated review,” states the new policy. This would ultimately move to a formal action on the board’s regular meeting agenda for the regents’ discussion and approval.

This proposal process includes seven key criteria that must be addressed by institutions in any athletic proposal to the board, including:

• Submission of a five-year operational and capital plan;

• A record of support and approval for the plan by the campus, students and community;

• Proof that grants-in-aid will be administered in strict compliance with intercollegiate athletic rules and regulations;

• An assurance that equitable athletic opportunity will be provided for members of both sexes;

• The stipulation that academic programs cannot be compromised;

• Demonstrate that the implications of athletic programs on facilities has been analyzed; and

• Require that all funds related to athletics be administered under the direct authority of the campus president.

Davis noted that the policy clearly outlines the proper roles and responsibilities of both the board and presidents with respect to athletics. “This policy makes it clear that presidents retain the right and responsibility for all operational aspects of athletics and for ensuring programs are in compliance with federal law and the rules of the relevant athletic associations.”

The policy also requires the University System to provide ongoing monitoring and oversight of programs to ensure financial stability, including the required submission by institutions to the chancellor of annual reports and the academic success rates of student-athletes, as well as annual audits of any separately incorporated athletic association.

The new policy went into effect upon the board’s approval on March 12, 2013.

Posted by Sonja Roberts
Published in: Board of Regents

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