Alan Hauser has seen all the recent headlines questioning who is looking out for the best interests of the student-athlete.
After serving as the faculty athletics representative at Appalachian State since 1986, Hauser believes FARs are suited to help answer those questions in intercollegiate athletics. After all, FARs are the conduit between the athletics department and the academic side of campus.
Hauser, the former president of the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association, has always approached his role as a champion for the student-athletes on his campus.
“One of the main things a FAR can do is advocate for the student-athlete,” Hauser said. “That can be in a variety of areas. A good example is the issue that’s going on now about concussions. We can ask the questions on our campuses of how are we dealing with this issue. What steps do we have to ensure safety? We can also ask questions about things in academic areas and in terms of rules compliance and being fair with student-athletes.”
These are the types of issues that Hauser says FARA members have been strongly interested in through the years. But the FARs’ voices aren’t always heard by the public or don’t receive the media coverage they deserve.
Hauser, who is in his 42nd year teaching in Appalachian State’s philosophy and religion department, understands the need to generate revenues at the Division I level. But the message too often gets lost.
Hauser believes if everyone involved in intercollegiate athletics took a step back, it would make the entire entity of intercollegiate athletics stronger.
“Why was the NCAA founded?” said Hauser, who grew up in Chicago, graduated from Concordia Teachers College in his hometown and received a master’s degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. “It was founded for issues surrounding the safety and well-being of student-athletes. I’m not trying to be negative toward anyone involved in college sports, but this is something that can’t slip into the background.”
Hauser speaks from experience.
When he became the FAR at Appalachian State 28 years ago, there was no opportunity to learn from a mentor. The previous FAR left abruptly, and the school turned to Hauser. He immediately went into on-the-job training mode and found a successful path in that role. He has since dedicated his career to making sure that newly appointed FARs travel a smoother road than he maneuvered.
Hauser, who was presented the David Knight Award in 2013 for his contributions to FARA, has been a good sounding board for FARs. He helped conduct the Division I Faculty Athletics Representative Institute that was held in May at the national office in Indianapolis. The institute is designed to give newer FARs advice on how to succeed in the job and where they can find available resources so they can advocate for the student-athlete.
Hauser knows how rewarding it is to see intercollegiate athletics live up to its mission.
“What I like best is you get to see many good success stories that happen to student-athletes as a group or individually,” Hauser said. “You get to see how many fine people are coming up through the system. These are the people who are going to be our leaders in the future.”