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Letter from President outlining his actions on the recommendations in the final report of the ad hoc Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, chaired by Charles Alan Wright (law).

Appeared in the mintutes of Faculty Council meeting, September 20, 1999 (D 67-75).



September 30, 1999

Dr. John R. Durbin
The Faculty Council
FAC 22 (F9500)

Dear John:

This letter is my response to the final report of the Ad Hoc Committee On Intercollegiate Athletics, D&P 17000 - 17034. As I said when I discussed the report at the Faculty Council meeting on September 20, I have discussed the report and recommendations with a number of interested members of the campus community. I outline below the actions that I am taking on the recommendations.

I have had a chance to thank many members of the Committee in person. I want to take this opportunity to recognize the entire Committee for its thorough and diligent consideration of the issues and for an excellent report.

The Committee proposed a mission statement and underlying principles for intercollegiate athletics beginning on D&P 17021. Nine specific recommendations followed beginning on D&P 17024.

The mission statement and underlying principles provide excellent guidance and standards for intercollegiate athletics operations and decision-making. A draft mission statement, including goals and objectives, that draws on the work of the Committee currently is being reviewed by the Athletics Councils. I will be meeting with both Athletics Councils this fall and will discuss the mission statement and the underlying principles. I also will be discussing action on the nine recommendations. These are:

  • We recommend that those with responsibility for the conduct of intercollegiate athletics always bear in mind that there are philosophical differences among the faculty and other UT constituencies about the place of athletics.

I am very aware that these philosophical differences exist. Patti Ohlendorf and I had a number of meetings this summer with various persons about the Committee's report. This issue was discussed with the Athletics Directors, the Chairs of the Athletics Councils, and the Faculty Representative to the NCAA and the Big 12. I also talked about the philosophical differences when I visited this summer with the Big 12


Commissioner. The issue will be kept in mind as major decisions regarding athletics are made.

  • We recommend that every effort be made to keep the faculty and other University communities fully informed about the athletics programs.

This will be an agenda item when I meet with the Athletics Councils this fall. I have asked Patti Ohlendorf to work with the Athletics Directors, the Chairs of the Athletics Councils, the Faculty Representative, and the Faculty Council Executive Committee to establish an appropriate mechanism for additional communication.

  • We recommend that before a new construction project or repair and renovation project estimated to cost $10 million or more goes to the President for approval, the Faculty Council, through its representatives on the Faculty Building Advisory Committee, be informed about the project and given an opportunity to express its view.

The Faculty Building Advisory Committee will be advised of any such projects and I will consider the views of the Committee when the projects are presented to me.

  • We recommend that the two Athletics Councils and the administration give further consideration to this idea. [The idea is to provide donors to academic units the opportunity to purchase prime seating for athletics events or other athletic benefits.]

The idea will be discussed this year. Of course, there is a significant capacity issue associated with this recommendation, especially with football and basketball, as pointed out in the report.

  • We recommend that the Longhorn Foundation and the Longhorn Legacy Capital Campaign report directly to the Vice President for Development as well as to the Athletics Directors.

As the Committee pointed out in its report, the major gifts officers in the colleges and schools began reporting jointly to the respective dean and the Vice President for Development. This provides for more standard and enhanced assessment of the work of the major gifts officers, better coordination of effort, and a mechanism for the colleges and schools to share funds and other resources with the Development Office. Patti Ohlendorf, Johnnie Ray, DeLoss Dodds, and Jody Conradt talked about this recommendation. It was decided that although the formal reporting line for the major gifts officers will not change, in part because the Athletics Departments are not eligible to receive any of the funding that the Development Office provides to the colleges and schools for development operations, those staff will take part in the same types of assessments and coordination sessions that the deans and the Vice President for


Development have with the major gifts officers in the colleges and schools. This change was made during the summer and both the Vice President for Development and the Athletics Directors are pleased with the effort.

  • We recommend that it continue to be the case that the President is in charge of intercollegiate athletics at this university and that the Athletics Councils be advisory to the President and to the Athletics Directors.

I agree fully with this recommendation. As I mentioned above, I plan to meet this fall with both Athletics Councils. I have asked Patti Ohlendorf to work this year with the Chairs of the Athletics Councils and the Athletics Directors to assess the operations of the Councils and determine what improvements might be made. I also am establishing a series of three meetings throughout the year to talk about athletics issues with the Vice President for Administration, the Chairs of the Athletics Councils, and the Faculty Representative.

  • We recommend that the two members of each of the Athletics Councils now named by the Regents be appointed instead by the President.

I am discussing this recommendation with the Chairman of the Board of Regents. The Regents will make the decision on this recommendation.

  • We recommend that the faculty representative to the NCAA and to the conference serve at the pleasure of the President and that he or she be ex officio a nonvoting member of the Athletics Council and that the chairman of each Athletics Council be one of the faculty members of the Council, named to be chairman by the President.

This recommendation received a large amount of my attention this summer. I discussed it with the Chairs of the Athletics Councils and others. Based upon those discussions and my personal belief that appointed positions should be for set terms, the following actions are being taken: The Faculty Representative position will be separated from the position of Chair of the Men's Athletics Council. Both Waneen Spirduso and Beverly Hadaway made this recommendation to me after they had time to reflect on the issue after the Committee had reported. I am making this change for several reasons. First, the issues that come before the Faculty Representative are not confined to men's athletics. In addition, the Faculty Representative's workload is heavy and becoming more so. The intercollegiate athletics enterprise in the United States is in flux and is in need of diligent attention. The Faculty Representative must play a major role in this review and interact effectively with the Big 12 and the NCAA. The Chairs and faculty members of the Athletics Councils provide the primary internal faculty advice and input on athletics issues while the Faculty Representative's primary focus is with external relationships and obligations. The Faculty Representative will be an ex officio member of both Councils, thus adding to faculty input on the Councils. I am establishing a six-year term for the


Faculty Representative and a four-year term for the Council Chairs. Both Waneen and Beverly have told me that they do not wish to remain as Chair for another four years but both have agreed to continue as Chair at least for this year. I am very pleased that Charles Alan Wright has accepted appointment as the Faculty Representative effective October 1.

  • We recommend that the Men's Athletics Council continue to meet at least as often as it is doing in the current academic year and that, except where urgent circumstances require otherwise, its meetings be scheduled well in advance.

This recommendation is being followed. The Chair of the Men's Athletics Council and the Athletics Director have scheduled the Council to meet regularly throughout 1999 - 2000.

I want to express once again my appreciation to the Committee for its work and the report. I also appreciate the interest of the faculty in these issues. I reiterate what I said to the Faculty Council shortly after I assumed the presidency. That is: While I serve as President here, I will place utmost emphasis on the preservation of The University's integrity in all of its aspects, including intercollegiate athletics. At Texas, we have an admirable record of competing with integrity in our sports programs. Moreover, we have done so over many years at a very high level of achievement. In the men's programs, we have also done so within a self-financing program that does not burden The University's resources from State appropriations, tuition, or fees. Finally, Texas has competed with honor and integrity in a period when The University has made great strides toward academic leadership at the top level. Very few other universities, even among elite private institutions, can make the same statements. I am deeply committed to seeing that they remain true when I depart from this office.



Larry R. Faulkner