Pres. may complete selection

By Jim Wozniak

With one position yet to be filled, NIU President John LaTourette might complete the formation today of the NIU Athletic Department’s external review committee, said Ken Beasley, assistant to the president.

This committee will be the second part of a two-stage review of athletics LaTourette ordered in January. LaTourette last month said the committee would consist of four people from different universities—a president, an athletic director, a faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and a commissioner from an athletic conference.

“I understand that it’s (the selection) going to be soon,” Beasley said. “We’ve had a hard time putting together the external committee because it’s hard to get four people to come (here) at the same time.”

Beasley said the internal committee will have to submit its final report to the president before the external review comes to campus. He said having the report would make it easier for the external committee to decide which NIU personnel to interview and which records to request. He said the external team will not spend a lot of time on campus.

“We want to be as efficient and quick as possible,” Beasley said. “It’s going to be a very intensive and short time.”

LaTourette was unavailable for comment Friday.

The delay in naming the external committee has given the internal committee more time to compile its report. LaTourette originally targeted the completion of the report by the internal committee as April 1. Internal committee chairman James Mellard said Friday the report now should be finished by the end of the semester at the latest.

“We’re coming along,” Mellard said. “Our schedule has been a little bit opened up because it appears the external committee won’t be coming in as soon as expected. We don’t have to be finished by the first of April, the middle of April or even the first of May.

“We’re drafting the report and probably will be done within two or three weeks. One of the problems is some of the people on our committee have had professional commitments. I think it (the delay) helps in the respect that we can spend more time on drafting and revising the report. It’s like turning in a term paper and having more time. You can refine your concepts, your thoughts.”

Mellard said the internal committee has met twice a week since the beginning of February. He said the meetings usually last from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with committee members putting in additional time afterward.

Mellard said he has not received a new date from Beasley or LaTourette for the internal committee’s report, although he said he has kept in touch with them. He said he wants to finish the report as soon as possible because the committee members’ plans change in the summer.

“I’m absolutely committed to having the report done by the last week of classes,” Mellard said. “Plus I promised them at the outset that I wanted to finish it before I grew old.”

LaTourette will decide to whom the report will go. “We’re writing the report to assist the president and the external review team, but it goes strictly to the president,” Mellard said.

Mellard would not reveal what conclusions the internal committee has drawn so far because he said it is “too premature” to say. He said the committee is using the same categories that appeared on the survey athletic department personnel completed earlier. Those categories are roles, goals, organization, personnel and resources. Recommendations from the internal committee follow.

“In the beginning, those categories were those we were charged to deal with,” Mellard said. “Moreover, it will be very helpful to have those things (categories) for the external committee.”

Mellard said the internal committee’s report will not mention people who gave recommendations by name, but he said feelings and ideas expressed might be stated in a general manner.