Intercollegiate Athletics Oversight Policy
The purpose of this policy is to delineate clearly the roles and responsibilities of the University of Richmond Board of Trustees (the “Board”), the University’s president, and the University’s director of athletics regarding the oversight and operation of the University’s intercollegiate athletics program. This policy is intended to advance the mission and strategic plan of the University’s athletics department, and to ensure appropriate integration and collaboration between the athletics department and the rest of the University. This policy is also intended to complement and align with the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy and the applicable NCAA and conference constitutions and bylaws.
This policy applies to the University of Richmond and all of its Affiliates. As used in this policy, the term “Affiliates” means organizations or entities in which the University owns a controlling interest or has the right to elect the majority of the entity’s governing board.
Role and Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees. The Board, in the exercise of its fiduciary duty, is responsible for the oversight of the University’s intercollegiate athletics program. In carrying out its oversight, the Board is aware, as the Association of Governing Boards advises, “of the balance between appropriate oversight and involvement in institutional policy and intrusion into management prerogatives.” (“Trust, Accountability, and Integrity,” p. 3) The Board, acting as whole and through its standing committees, is responsible for:
- Delegating administrative responsibility for intercollegiate athletics to the President and lending its full and public support to the president in the execution of his or her duties;
- Approving, with the president, standards of accountability and benchmarks against which to measure the success of the intercollegiate athletics program;
- Holding the president responsible for the appropriate execution of those responsibilities, through means including giving proper weight to performance of that duty in assessing presidential performance during periodic reviews;
- Periodically reviewing the athletics department mission statement and strategic plan, which shall reflect the University’s academic mission and values, and approving all changes to the mission statement or strategic plan;
- Ensuring an effective culture of compliance in athletics programs;
- Ensuring that the budget for the athletics department is incorporated into the University’s five-year and annual budget process, in keeping with the board’s overall responsibility as financial stewards of the institution;
- Approving the addition or elimination of any intercollegiate sport;
- Approving any change in the University’s primary athletic conference affiliations, except for conference changes limited to a single Olympic sport; and
- Ensuring the full integration of the athletics department into the governance and administrative structure of the University by working with the president and the director of athletics;
- Conducting periodic educational sessions for trustees, including new trustees regarding this policy, other University policies relating to the athletics department and applicable NCAA and conference rules;
- Periodically, conducting a review of this policy.
Delegation to Committees of the Board. The Board may delegate certain oversight responsibilities to standing or ad hoc committees of the Board. In certain instances and at its discretion, the Board may exercise its oversight as a Committee of the Whole. Ordinarily, however, consistent with the foregoing commitment to ensure the full integration of the athletics department into the governance and administrative structure of the University, the following standing committees of the Board have the oversight responsibilities described below:
- Academic and Enrollment Management Committee. The Academic and Enrollment Management Committee of the Board shall provide oversight of institutional strategies and policies relating to the admission of and financial aid provided to student-athletes in the same manner in which it exercises oversight of University-wide admissions and financial aid policies. The Academic and Enrollment Management Committee will also provide oversight of institutional policies and practices regarding the academic achievement of student-athletes.
- Advancement Committee. The Advancement Committee of the Board shall provide oversight of the University’s fundraising and alumni engagement relating to the Athletics program.
- Audit and Compliance Committee. The Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board shall provide oversight of the Athletics Department compliance program to ensure that the program is effective; fosters a culture of compliance among athletic department administrators, coaches, staff, student-athletes, alumni, and boosters; promotes compliance with applicable laws, NCAA and conference rules, and University policies; and takes action to prevent, detect, and remediate compliance issues.
- Business Management Committee. The Business Management Committee of the Board shall review and recommend to the Board the approval of the University’s annual and five-year budget, which includes the University’s athletics department. The Business Management Committee, consistent with its risk management oversight responsibilities, shall also review risk management and insurance programs relative to the athletics department, and, consistent with its overall responsibility for University capital expenditures, review and recommend to the Board capital expenditures and construction projects for athletics that meet the threshold requiring Board approval.
- Compensation Committee. The Compensation Committee of the Board shall establish and periodically review the compensation of the athletic director, in a manner consistent with that of other senior administrators. The Compensation Committee shall also review and approve the compensation and key contract terms for any head coach or Athletics Department administrator whose proposed compensation meets or exceeds the then current threshold set by the Committee for the review of University employee compensation.
- Student Development Committee. The Student Development Committee shall provide oversight for University strategy and policies regarding the welfare and student experience of the University’s student-athletes, which shall include academic performance and progress of student-athletes and the full integration of student-athletes into the academic life of the University.
Responsibilities of Individual Trustees. The Board recognizes that the University’s athletics program, like its academic and extracurricular programs, benefits from the engagement and support of trustees. However, given the highly regulated environment of intercollegiate athletics and high profile nature of a successful Division I athletic program, it is imperative that trustees engage with the University’s athletic teams, coaches, staff, and student-athletes in a manner that promotes compliance with applicable rules and steadfastly avoids actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interests. As the Association of Governing Boards advises, “It is not appropriate for governing boards to be directly involved in day-to-day operations and decisions,” and it is important for the Board to understand the distinction between its governance role and “any unique or private interests its members may have in athletics.” (“Trust, Accountability, and Integrity,” p. 36.) To that end, individual trustees are expected to comply with the following standards:
- Trustees should be familiar with and strictly comply with all NCAA rules and University policies, including, but not limited to those relating to athletic boosters, improper benefits, recruitment, closed practices and scrimmages, and access to sidelines, locker rooms, and other athletic facilities.
- Trustees should not participate directly or indirectly in or seek to influence the hiring of any coach or athletics department staff member, the negotiation of any employment agreement with a coach or athletics department staff member, or the dismissal of any coach or athletics department staff member.
- Trustees should not participate directly or indirectly in the recruitment of any prospective student athletes or seek to influence any admission decision with respect to student-athletes and should, instead, refer any prospective student athlete or his or her parents to the appropriate staff member or coach in the athletics department.
- Trustees should not provide anything more than de minimis gifts or benefits to coaches or members of the athletics department staff.
- Trustees who wish to make a cash or an in-kind contribution of goods or services to one of the University’s athletic teams should work with the University’s Advancement Office and must obtain the approval of the University’s director of athletics or his or her designee before contacting a coach or sports administrator.
- Trustees should avoid the appearance of over-familiarity with a coach, team, or student-athletes.
The President of the University. The president of the University is vested with ultimate responsibility for the conduct and control of the University’s intercollegiate athletics program. The president’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Subject to the approval of the Compensation Committee of the Board, the selection, appointment, and oversight of the University’s director of athletics;
- Setting appropriate standards of accountability and benchmarks against which to measure the success of the University’s intercollegiate athletics program including standards and benchmarks relating to:
- Budgets and finances,
- Department Staffing,
- Student-athlete well-being,
- Academic performance of student-athletes,
- Academic advising,
- Graduation rates,
- Capital expenditures, and
- Such other metrics as the President deems appropriate;
- Establishing and upholding, with the faculty and administration, admission, academic, and eligibility standards for student-athletes that reflect the institution’s academic values and mission;
- Communicating to the Board on his fulfillment of responsibilities as they relate to agreed-upon goals, standards, and benchmarks of the intercollegiate athletics program;
- Reviewing, with the Board or the appropriate Board Committee, the NCAA institutional self-study and the institution’s compliance with Title IX provisions concerning gender equity, as well as departmental compliance with any laws and regulations to which the institution is subject;
- Along with the director of athletics, communicating clearly with the Board, coaches, administrators, students, faculty, boosters, and alumni concerning compliance with institutional, conference, and NCAA rules and regulations, the mission, values, and goals of the athletics department, appropriate stewardship of and contact with donors and students, and the acceptance of benefits from the athletics department; and
- Along with the director of athletics, serving as the University’s spokesperson to the media and public for all matters relating to the University’s athletics department.
The president of the University may delegate these responsibilities to members of the University administration, but he or she retains oversight responsibility.
The Director of Athletics. The University’s director of athletics is responsible to the president of the University for the leadership of all aspects of the University’s intercollegiate athletic program including NCAA compliance; the welfare of student-athletes; ensuring that the academic expectations of student-athletes and their courses of study are consistent with the institution’s overall academic standards and commitment to academic integrity; the management of department personnel, financial management, strategic planning, public relations, marketing activities, athletic facilities, and, in coordination with the vice president for advancement, fundraising. The director of athletics’ responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Developing a mission statement, subject to approval by the Board, that reflects the University’s mission and academic values;
- Providing leadership and supervision for the athletics department’s efforts to establish and implement strategic plans; achieve identified goals and objectives for athletic and academic success; safeguard academic integrity; and ensure that the athletics department’s plans, goals, and objectives are consistent with and further the University’s strategic plan;
- Ensuring that the athletics department has a culture of compliance, implements an effective compliance program and holds coaches, department staff, and student-athletes accountable for compliance with applicable laws, including Title IX, NCAA and conference rules and regulations, and University policies;
- The recruitment, selection, and dismissal of athletics department staff and coaches, consistent with University policies and procedures;
- Subject to approval of the Compensation Committee, when appropriate, and applicable University policies and procedures, the negotiation and execution of all employment agreements with coaches;
- Ensuring the routine evaluation of administrative and coaching staff and trainers to promote and maintain high standards of performance in degree attainment/graduation, teaching athletic skills, ethical recruitment of student athletes, sportsmanship, and overall development of student-athletes;
- Managing the fiscal affairs of the athletics department including, in coordination with the vice president for business and finance, developing annual and five-year budgets for athletics, managing departmental expenditures in a manner consistent with established budgets, overseeing the marketing, ticket sales and revenue generating activities of the department, and developing and promoting effective business policies, procedures and practices within the department;
- Promoting the welfare and academic achievement of student-athletes;
- Collaborating with the University’s vice president for advancement in athletic fund raising, ensuring the close coordination of all fund raising activities with the Advancement Office, and identifying athletics fundraising priorities consistent with the University’s strategic priorities and fundraising strategies; and
- Along with the University president, serving as the University’s spokesperson to the media and public for all matters relating to the University’s athletics department.
Advisory Councils and Committees. The University president may establish general advisory or issue-specific ad hoc committees or councils to provide guidance and input to the president and the director of athletics, and shall establish such committees or councils required by the NCAA constitution and bylaws. The following bodies currently serve in an advisory capacity and the charters and responsibilities of these bodies may be changed from time to time in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures:
- The University Athletics Council. The Athletics Council advises the president of the University in matters relating to the proper development, oversight, and control of the University athletics program. A complete description of the Athletics Council and its membership may be found here.
- The Faculty Athletic Committee. The Faculty Athletic Committee represents University faculty on the Athletics Council. A complete description of the Athletics Council and its membership may be found here.