Faculty Assembly urges Athletic Board reduction

By Sean Noble

The University Council Faculty Assembly recommended the size of the NIU Athletic Board be reduced from 34 to 20 members to conform with national university standards.

The Faculty Assembly’s Rules and Governance Committee presented the reduction proposal at the assembly’s regular meeting Wednesday.

The Faculty Assembly’s recommendations will go before the UC at its meeting Wednesday for a customary “first reading.”

Committee chairwoman Linda Sons said her committee’s recommendation conforms to the standards of 27 universities and colleges surveyed by an ad hoc committee set up by the athletic board.

She said the survey polled such universities as the University of Wisconsin, Ohio State and the University of Florida, “schools with which we might want to be compared.”

Survey results showed the average school’s athletic board size to be 13 to 14 members. “This smaller number made those boards more effective. There was a positive relationship between small size and operating efficiency,” Sons said.

The question of the athletic board’s organizational structure has been in committee for about two years, Sons said.

The board’s structure, if revised according to the new recommendation, would consist of 16 voting and four non-voting members.

Sons said the Huskie Club and NI Club representatives on the board would be moved to non-voting status from their present positions as voting members.

“We really have no reason for this change except, again, to conform to general standards. Most other universities have no booster club people on their athletic boards,” Sons said.

The board still would fulfill the “institutional control requirements” of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, he said.

The NCAA requires that an athletic board maintain a “clear majority of faculty or administrative people.”

Judith Bischoff, UC executive secretary, said any change in the board’s composition would mean a change also in the associated bylaws.

She said, “The constitutional task force has told us they’d go along with what the University Council has to say.”

Daniel Wunsch, an athletic board representative from the college of business, said, “I agree that if a similar quality of work can be done by the board with a smaller number, that would be efficiency. I can’t see anybody arguing with efficiency.”

Wunsch said he did not think the present number of board representatives is “absolutely necessary.”

“I don’t see where it’s necessary for the althetic board to represent every area it does now,” he said.

Wunsch said he believed one representative on the board from each college at NIU would be sufficient.

Athletic Board Director Curt Norton said he will address the UC, Bischoff said. She said she will speak at an athletic board meeting in two weeks.

A second proposed change is that one of the two student athletic representatives must be female and the other must be male.