This is the second of two messages preparing for Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) initiatives this Fall. Our earlier message focused on our October 9-11 conference opportunity, and alerted you to the encouragement your university president has received to sponsor participation. This message requests that you join with us to strengthen the basis of the Coalition.
The COIA was formed in 2002-03 on an ad hoc basis as a network of faculty leaders who expressed some degree of interest in at least email involvement. This informal beginning led to quick accomplishments, well beyond our initial expectations. To sustain that momentum, our goals for 2003-04 include formalizing the basis of the Coalition, so that we can more fully and effectively represent faculty perspectives in working with university presidents, trustees, and the NCAA.
Last year, some schools very reasonably limited their involvement until the Coalition's goals were fully articulated. This is why the Coalition Steering Committee focused on drafting the "Framework for Comprehensive Athletics Reform," which was posted on our website in July (http://www.math.umd.edu/~jmc/COIA/COIA-Home.html). Response to that document has been positive, and we thank those of you who have conveyed comments on it. The Steering Committee has made revisions accordingly, and incorporated changes in the text posted on our site.
We now request that you ask your senates to consider the Framework document for formal endorsement. As the document itself indicates, we are well aware that no single statement as detailed as the Framework will be supported by all faculty senates in all particulars - what we request is a general endorsement and a decision by faculty leaderships to participate in the Coalition and help us make it an effective means of engaging faculty in national reform of intercollegiate athletics.
Several faculty leaders have already asked what type of resolution is necessary for support of the Coalition. That is entirely up to individual senates. Some may wish to note that senate endorsement does not necessarily apply to every specific point in the Framework. Any message we receive that conveys an endorsement of the general Coalition approach and approves active faculty leadership participation in the Coalition will suffice. We have no fixed timetable, but hope that senates will consider addressing this issue during the Fall term.
For a century, attempts to eliminate serious problems and ensure that college sports play a truly positive role have ended in half measures and deeper problems. The absence of an engaged national faculty voice has been a critical weakness. Our Coalition, based in faculty governance leaderships, has for the first time brought faculty, presidents, and trustees to the table together, and the Framework document has grown out of dialogue with these groups. Obstacles to comprehensive reform remain high, but the means to overcome them now exist if we can provide the long missing link of sustained faculty engagement. As past presidents of faculty senates on our campuses, we understand that it may be difficult to budget valuable faculty senate time to an initiative that is national, rather than campus-based. We hope that the importance of the issue and the progress the COIA has made so far will convince you and your senate that the investment of time and effort is justified.
Bob Eno, Indiana University
Jim Earl, University of Oregon
Co-Chairs, Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics