» 5/2/12 - COMMENTARY: The truth, in media, can hurt
For subscription information, click here.
This article appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Champion magazine.
By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
The NCAA took a big step forward in efforts to preserve and promote the sports played by most of the student-athletes it supports with an agreement for the national office to assign a senior leader the responsibility for prioritizing and sustaining Olympic sports within the collegiate structure.
Joni Comstock, NCAA senior vice president for championships, was named to take on that role in June.
The recommendation, approved in April by the Division I Board of Directors, came from the Leadership Council, which appointed a subcommittee to study endangered sports and sports that face challenges to their growth. That group was chaired by Peg Bradley-Doppes, incoming chair of the Olympic Sports Liaison Committee.
Bradley-Doppes, athletics director at Denver, called the decision to designate those duties to a senior NCAA staff member a “win-win.”
“We have an obligation to better use the resources that have been entrusted to us,” Bradley-Doppes said. “Every member institution of the NCAA is a member of the NCAA because they believe that athletics enhances one’s life. All the rules and regulations we have in place are there to protect and serve our student-athletes. This is in line with that philosophy.”
Instead of creating a new position, the subcommittee recommended that the duties be added to an existing senior-level position in the national office. Comstock, who has been with the national office staff since 2006, will work with Rick Adams, a senior staff member at the United States Olympic Committee office in Colorado Springs. The goal is to use the underlying structures of both organizations to provide the expertise and research needed to guide strategies for Olympic sport development. The arrangement also seeks to improve the collaboration among the organizations and national governing bodies to grow the sports where opportunities exist.
Comstock will work with Rick Adams, a senior staff member at the USOC office in Colorado Springs, to provide the expertise and research need to guide strategies for Olympic sport development.
“Both organizations are committed to competitive excellence, integrity, the well-being and support of athletes, and enhancing the opportunities for both men and women in participation in sports,” Comstock said. “Many of our NCAA student-athletes are selected for an Olympic team during their collegiate careers or later become members of Olympic teams and participate in the Games. Many of our coaches are head coaches or play other significant roles in Olympic team development and leadership, too. All of them take great pride in representing their university and country through their sport.”
Comstock and Adams will guide strategies for promoting Olympic sports within the NCAA, encouraging the use of institutional facilities in creative ways, creating coaching education and fundraising programs that increase the value of at-risk programs and Olympic sports at the institutional level, and ensuring a continued review of the mutual obligations of all the involved stakeholders.
“One significant objective we share is to sustain as many sports and sport opportunities as possible,” Comstock said. “We have seen the loss of many programs on NCAA campuses over the last few years. This is an area of common interest.”
Bradley-Doppes encouraged emotional and financial support and “the energy required to keep these sports active and our competition level high.”
“This is a great way to pool resources – our staff, our intellect and our talents, collectively – to help the NCAA in its mission and the USOC in its mission,” she said.