NCAA Discusses Postseason Funding

By Staff

Coaching Management, 14.1, January 2006,

The NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet has endorsed a plan to help track and field programs afford to send athletes to both the indoor and outdoor NCAA championships. The Cabinet voted 47-1 this past fall to reimburse schools for expenses related to both events, instead of just one or the other. The proposal now goes on to the Management Council, which will decide in March whether to send it on to the Executive Committee.

“The good news is that we’ve made it onto the Management Council’s agenda,” says Mark Bockleman, NCAA Assistant Director of Championships and Liaison to the NCAA Division I Track and Field Committee. “However, we don’t know exactly where we’ll fall in the council’s priorities.”

As part of its overall $1.9 million in new budget requests for 2006-08, the cabinet has recommended adding $869,000 ($442,000 for men and $427,000 for women) in new funding for men’s and women’s track and field, which would cover transportation and per diem expenses for attending the national indoor championships. Currently, Division I schools choose to be reimbursed for either the indoor or outdoor championships, with most schools choosing outdoor because more athletes participate. In effect, this makes Division I indoor track the only championship in any NCAA division that doesn’t reimburse its participants.

“The cabinet’s recommendation is that student-athletes in the national indoor championship be treated the same way as student-athletes in the other 87 NCAA championships,” says Chris Dawson, Assistant Commissioner of the Pacific-10 Conference and Chair of the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet. “Philosophically, we believe all qualified student-athletes should have equal access to the championship, and lack of institutional finances shouldn’t be a barrier to participation.”

If passed by the Management Council in March, the proposal will be forwarded to the Executive Committee in April, and could go into effect in time for the 2007 championships. If denied, it will return to the cabinet, which could discuss the issue again in September 2007. And though the committee could decide to fund only a portion of the $869,000, Bockleman believes it will either approve or deny the entire amount.

“They’re looking at a whole list of priorities, and it really comes down to which ones the budget can fund,” says Bockleman. “The fact that it passed at the cabinet level demonstrates it’s an important issue, and if it passes the Management Council, it has a good shot at making it the rest of the way.”