Athletic Corp. board could change

Updated: February 25, 2004, 11:04 PM ET
Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The University of Kansas is considering a plan that would replace the 24-member governing board of the KU Athletic Corp., whose members currently includes students, faculty and alumni, with a five-member board of directors who all work for the school.

The new board, which would set department policy and answer to the chancellor, would be headed by the athletic director.

The change would bring the university into compliance with NCAA mandates, university spokesman Todd Cohen said Wednesday. "NCAA articles mandate institutional control," Cohen said. "All five members would be employed by the university."

The KU Athletic Corp. is a private, nonprofit corporation affiliated with the university that assists the school in the management of the athletic department.

Reid Holbrook, chairman of a task force charged with overhauling the group's charter and bylaws, said the changes are needed to clear up uncertainty over whether the corporation's role is to advise or make policy. Under the current bylaws, it's both.

"The way it is now, I can make a motion Friday to get rid of the athletic director and hire somebody else. And if I can come with enough votes, we could do it," Holbrook said. "But I don't think there's anybody on the board who wants to do that or who thinks that's our role."

Other members of the new board would be the vice provost for student success; the university's chief business and financial planning officer; a senior university administrator appointed by the provost; and the faculty representative to the Big 12 Conference.

The new board would not include alumni or student representatives, but the student body president would be a nonvoting member.

The current 24-member board would become the Chancellor's Advisory Committee for Intercollegiate Athletics. The new board's members also would serve on the chancellor's advisory committee, appointing chairmen for subcommittees on academics, planning, and finance and audit within the athletic department.

The new structure was proposed by university general counsel James Pottorff during a meeting with Holbrook's group.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway will address the KU Athletic Corp. at its regular meeting Friday, when it will consider the plan. The board meets every other month.

Don Green, the university's faculty representative to the Big 12 and an athletic corporation board member, said he doubted the proposal would be adopted Friday.

"I'll be surprised if it does," he said. "I'm expecting a lot of discussion. This is something people will want some time to think about."

Board member Bill Tuttle said he planned to ask a few questions.

"I don't know that I'm opposed to this, but I'd like to know whether the current arrangement is truly unsalvageable," Tuttle said. "If it is, then what happens to all the policy decisions we've made in the past? Do they remain in place? Are they thrown out? How much change are we looking at here?"

Tuttle said he also was wary of the lesser roles to be played by alumni, faculty and students.

"The students will have a representative, but they won't have a vote. The faculty rep is Don Green, who's a great guy, but he's appointed by the chancellor," Tuttle said. "And the alumni are pretty much left out."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press