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Athletics Department Oversight

So you want to be an AD


You might think that a chapter on athletics department over­sight would give you the distilled version of what you need to know to become an athletics director. There is indeed a lot of material in this chapter, and you need to understand all of it. But the kind of AD you become likely will be determined not merely by the knowledge, but rather by how well you are able to keep all elements at the forefront of your job.

Documents in this chapter include the following:

  • The Model Division II Athletics Department (developed by the Division II Athletics Directors Association and approved by the Division II Presidents Council).
  • Organizational charts
  • Gender-equity plans
  • Diversity plans
  • Recruiting policies and procedures
  • Equipment management and rotation
  • Strategic planning information, both for Division II and for on campus

Each of those components will enter into the daily life of an athletics director. The temptation may be to dwell on respon­sibilities that relate directly to competition – items such as re­cruiting and equipment management, or maybe glitzier tasks such as scheduling. However, the best athletics directors build their jobs around factors that will lead to the best possible student-athlete experience. That demands constant attention on academics (addressed in other chapters) and equitable treatment of all personnel and student-athletes.

Your expectations will frame what kind of coaches you hire and retain, and what kind of student-athlete you recruit. Those expectations should clearly fit your institution’s goals and the strategic plan for Division II, which represents the collective wisdom and purpose of about 300 schools.

This chapter does not include everything an aspiring athletics director will need to know about running an athletics depart­ment, although the Model Division II Athletics Department document touches most of the bases. Certainly there is no substitute for the learning that comes from actually being in the role. Still, a careful reading of the material in this chapter will help you think about how you would juggle all the balls that are tossed each day to an athletics director.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How would you ensure that your athletics program reflects the goals and priorities of your institution?
  • How would you create an equitable climate, both for stu-dent-athletes and for coaches/administrators?
  • Are you sufficiently knowledgeable about recruiting regulations to develop or enhance institutional recruiting policies and procedures?
  • Do you have enough management skills to construct an orga-nizational structure in which staff members are able to work efficiently toward the achievement of departmental goals?
  • Are you familiar with planning processes and, if not, how to you plan to acquire the knowledge?