Report urges active role by university boards in athletics

October 11, 2012 2:00 PM

Ryan Rivet

Tulane President Scott Cowen was among a small group of university leaders serving as advisers for a new report released Tuesday (Oct. 9) by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) calling for enhanced board oversight of college athletics.

Scott Cowen

Tulane President Scott Cowen was one of 14 university leaders who advised the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges for a new report calling for more board oversight of college athletics. (Photo by Sally Asher)

“We all know that the integrity of college sports has been challenged by the recent incidents on several campuses,” says Cowen, who was one of 14 members of the AGB’s advisory group. “Which makes it all the more imperative for boards to be well informed and most importantly, involved in the oversight of intercollegiate athletics.”

The report says that as many as 25 percent of Division I universities have no policy in place for board oversight in spite of the fact that most athletics programs get funding from institutional resources.

“With more than 80 percent of athletics departments requiring a university financial subsidy, boards must keep a careful eye on how subsidies are impacting the overall well-being of the university and the athletic departments,” Cowen says.

The report also suggests that governing boards have an active involvement in the supervision of student athletes’ academics and NCAA compliance by the athletics departments.

Cowen says the Tulane board is already operating at a high level in all areas addressed in the AGB report.

“At Tulane, we have a very strong athletics subcommittee of our board,” says Cowen. “It meets regularly, hears updates from Athletics Director Rick Dickson, and makes recommendations to the larger board about decisions that will shape the department for years to come.”

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