Pres. picks review committee

By Jim Wozniak

NIU President John LaTourette Friday named four administrators from universities participating in Division I athletics to complete the external review of NIU’s athletic department.

University of Kansas Chancellor Gene Budig will serve as chairman of the external committee. Other committee members include Southwest Conference Commissioner Fred Jacoby, West Virginia University Athletic Director Fred Schaus and Gwendolyn Norrell, Michigan State University’s faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The external review is the second phase of the athletic department’s two-stage review LaTourette requested in January. The internal committee has not completed its report, but committee Chairman James Mellard said its report would be finalized by the end of the semester. LaTourette said the internal review committee’s report will be reviewed before the external review team will meet at NIU June 4 and 5.

LaTourette said he hopes to have the external review committee’s report within a month after the committee comes to NIU. LaTourette said he might discuss details of the report before the committee submits it in case factual errors are found.

Although committee members are spread around all parts of the country except the West, each has had connections with the Midwest.

Jacoby received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. He was also assistant football coach at Wisconsin for eight years, and then he became commissioner of Wisconsin State University Conference for five years.

Jacoby was commissioner of the Mid-American Conference for 11 years. NIU was admitted into the league in that time along with Ball State, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. NIU sports information Director Mike Korcek said Jacoby was responsible for getting the MAC into the California Bowl and starting the MAC’s women’s league.

Jacoby left the MAC in 1982 for his current post in the Southwest Conference. That conference was disrupted earlier this year when the NCAA cancelled Southern Methodist University’s football season for 1987 and part of 1988 as punishment for repeated violations of NCAA rules.

“He has a reputation for high standards for athletics and academics,” LaTourette said. “The Mid-American Conference has had little or no infractions. I think they (SWC) brought in ‘Mr. Clean’ so to speak.”

Jacoby said he was part of a similar review of St. Louis University years ago. He said he looks at the external review committee as being outside consultants. He would not comment about how he views NIU’s athletic situation right now.

“I’ve been to the campus quite a number of times,” Jacoby said. “I have good feelings about the university. I think Mr. (Robert) Brigham and (William) Monat were interested in a strong program, not just regionally.”

Brigham is NIU’s men’s athletic director, and Monat was NIU president from 1978-84.

Budig, 46, was president of Illinois State University in the early 1970s before serving as president at West Virginia and currently as chancellor at Kansas. He earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Nebraska.

Janelle Martin, NIU associate sports information director and a 1984 Kansas graduate, said Budig is a sports enthusiast but she does not think he has had an athletic career or has been an athletic administrator. LaTourette and Jacoby said Budig has had experience dealing with the Board of Regents, which governs NIU, ISU and Sangamon State University.

Budig was out of town this weekend and unavailable for comment.

Shaus, 60, was coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in the late 1960s and general manager until the early 1970s. He also has coached at West Virginia and Purdue University. He now is a member of the selection committee that chooses the 64 teams for the NCAA basketball tournament.

Schaus also played basketball for West Virginia in the late 1940s and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there.

Schaus and Norrell were unavailable for comment Friday.

LaTourette said he chose to have four external review committee members instead of the seven, like the internal review team, because he said those four people represented the four perspectives he wanted.

e said if Norrell had not accepted a committee spot, he might have added a women’s athletic director to the committee.

“These people have to work on a rather intense basis,” LaTourette said. “They will come in very much like an accreditation team. The number is about right. Any more would make it difficult.”

LaTourette said he looked for members who were both familiar and unfamiliar with NIU athletics. He said he accepted nominations from faculty/staff, coaches, the NIU Athletic Board, the internal committee, Brigham and women’s athletic Director Susie Pembroke-Jones.