Charter of the Coalition On Intercollegiate Athletics

March, 2003

The Coalition. The Coalition On Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) is a group advocating for reform in intercollegiate athletics, created by and representative of faculty senate leaders at Bowl Championship Series conference schools.

Origins. The impetus for creating the Coalition was evidence of some sustained momentum towards reform, as indicated by a succession of national statements from groups such as the Knight Commission and the AAUP, a series of studies that provided new data and insight on relevant issues, and the formation of the Group of Six cooperative effort among BCS-conference presidents.  In late 2002, the adoption of the initial set of Group of Six reform proposals and the appointment of Myles Brand at the NCAA reinforced this momentum.

Goals. The Coalition’s purpose is to articulate a broad national faculty voice in support of reform efforts, to contribute ideas towards a successful long-term strategy for reform, and to work with other groups committed to ensuring that athletics enhances rather than undermines the academic mission.  The expectation at the outset is for an initial period of several years of high Coalition activity, leading towards adoption of an acceptable comprehensive program of staged reform by the NCAA or by some alternative emerging structure, followed by a diminishing role tracking the success of the adopted program.

Strategy. The Coalition advocates a strategy of reaching consensus among groups interested in reform on the desired long-term outcome of comprehensive reform, and building an agenda of specific phased steps to accomplish that goal over time.  While rapid elimination of negative aspects of athletics practices may be desirable, emphasis on speed may limit both the goals that can be set and the chances of success.  Therefore, the Coalition’s strategy balances goals of speed, comprehensiveness, and practicability.

Membership. The Coalition has been established on the basis of membership by individual faculty senate leaders, who have determined individually the degree to which they may seek sanction for their decision to participate from faculty leadership groups within their institutions.  Its initial structure is ad hoc, and it makes no strong claim to represent faculty in a broad sense.  To the degree that the Coalition is able to build legitimacy by developing a clear program that faculty may broadly support and accomplishing steps towards initial success, it may choose to formalize issues of membership, engagement with local faculty leaderships, etc., to maximize the degree to which it can claim to represent a national faculty voice.

Leadership. The Coalition will initially be led by a Steering Committee that includes at least one and no more than three representatives from each of the six conferences that have participated in founding the Coalition.  Committee members are nominated by faculty senate leaders within each conference, and appointed by agreement of those leaders.  The committee will begin from ad hoc procedures, and formalize its governance principles to the degree this seems useful to the committee, or to the degree Coalition members indicate this necessity.  Initially, the Steering Committee will attempt to draft a vision of long-term reform objectives and a tentative agenda for reaching them that Coalition members can respond to, refine, and perhaps adopt.  The committee is also charged to undertake on its own activities intended to provide a foundation for the Coalition’s organizational viability, and play a leadership role in the activities listed below.

Activities. The Coalition’s activities may fall into the following categories:

1) Bringing together ideas from a wide variety of people, both within the Coalition and outside, faculty and non-faculty, and including campus NCAA faculty athletics representatives, administrators, and trustees interested in reform, and national groups, such as the NCAA, AAUP, and the Association of Governing Boards (AGB).

2) Drafting documents that articulate faculty viewpoints and that constructively contribute to reform efforts.

3) Organizing or participating in events, such as conferences, that can bring together people interested in reform, both to enlarge the coalition and to accomplish specific tasks efficiently.

4) Identifying key issues and proposals where developing additional data is critical to designing reform or effectively advocating for it, and working with other groups, such as the NCAA, AAUP, and AGB, to identify specialists and find funding to support necessary research.

Scope of Reform. The Coalition seeks comprehensive reform that would affect five broad categories of intercollegiate athletics activities (the examples below are not intended to be exhaustive and some bridge more than one of the five categories):

1) Academics. This includes issues of initial and continuing eligibility; admissions and student-athlete academic standards, etc.

2) Student Welfare. This includes issues of scholarship policies; academic advising and other forms of student support; equity concerning matters such as gender and race; athletics scheduling; training expectations and time limits; athletes’ engagement in campus life, etc.

3) Finances and Scale. This points towards issues related to the athletics “arms race,” and includes the cost structure of athletics departments and revenue/non-revenue programs; financial planning, reporting, and monitoring; competitive equity within conferences and divisions; the relationship between winning programs and solvency; the constraints of anti-trust law, etc.

4) Commercialization. This concerns responses to financial imperatives that may lead to dependency on corporate and media funding, requiring various forms of commercial behavior that may conflict with academic missions or values, including corporate sponsorship contracts and branding control; media contracts and scheduling/marketing control; high-stakes dependency on revenue streams influenced by factors outside institutional control and not related to institutional priorities, etc.

5) Governance. This includes the shared governance roles among faculty, presidents, athletics administrators and trustees on individual campuses over such matters as academic standards and support for student-athletes, athletics personnel decisions, supervision of financial planning and performance of athletics auxiliaries, programmatic athletics department decisions, etc.