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UW’s Buchanan Contributes to Report on Intercollegiate Athletics


October 10, 2012 — University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan was part of a national advisory group that helped produce a new report calling for enhanced board oversight of college athletics.

The 14-member panel of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) included presidents and board members from universities across the country. Buchanan and the other members “were vital counselors as AGB examined the relationship of college athletics and academics, and the role that governing boards play in the oversight of intercollegiate athletics,” AGB officials say.

The new report cautions that as intercollegiate athletics departments increasingly operate like businesses, boards must act to ensure an appropriate balance between athletics and academics in their institutions, or policy makers or regulators will do it for them.

The findings of the report, an initiative of the AGB Intercollegiate Athletics Project, were announced at this week’s Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics meeting in Washington, D.C.

“In light of recent issues in college sports, it is imperative for boards to function at a higher level of awareness and judgment in order to address the financial challenges associated with college sports, to ensure the link between intercollegiate athletics and academic priorities, and to reaffirm standards and ethics in college athletics,” says AGB President Richard D. Legon.

The report focuses on three recommendations for appropriate board engagement:

  • The governing board is ultimately accountable for athletics policy and oversight and must fulfill this fiduciary responsibility.
  • The board must act decisively to uphold the integrity of the athletics program and its alignment with the academic mission of the institution.
  • The board must educate itself about its policy role and oversight of intercollegiate athletics.

Buchanan says the approach taken by UW and its Board of Trustees to the university’s athletics programs reflects the priorities outlined in the AGB report. He notes that UW athletics teams all received positive ratings when the NCAA released its Academic Progress Rates earlier this year.

“We have developed a culture in which our student-athletes and coaches know that success in the classroom is as important as success on the playing field,” Buchanan says. “That starts at the top with oversight from our Board of Trustees and continues through with the leadership of Athletics Director Tom Burman.”

AGB is the only national association that serves the interests and needs of academic governing boards, boards of institutionally related foundations, and campus CEOs and other senior-level campus administrators on issues related to higher education governance and leadership. Its mission is to strengthen, protect and advocate on behalf of citizen trusteeship that supports and advances higher education.

Electronic copies of the report and its supplemental survey data are available online at www.agb.org.

Photo:
UW President Tom Buchanan

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