Archive for the ‘NCAA’ Category

The changing faces of coaching

March 28, 2016
Rhonda Rompola

Photo Courtesy: Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News

 

Veteran SMU women’s basketball coach Rhonda Rompola recently announced that she’ll be retiring after the season, ending her 25-year tenure as the Mustangs’ head coach. It’s been a successful career for Rompola, with seven NCAA tournament berths and a career record above .500.

Now normally, news about a coach retiring wouldn’t spread much past the sports pages and fan websites. But Coach Rompola didn’t hesitate to say why she’s retiring and THAT’s what making news far beyond campus. It’s not because she’s tired of the sport: She’s tired of the players.

“Kids are not as coachable as they were years ago,” she told the Associated Press. “I see kids sometimes talking back to their coaches and it’s like a way of life. I’m just being honest. The rules and everything they get, they haven’t taken time to appreciate. I was happy to have a scholarship. Kids nowadays are more concerned about when their next cost-of-attendance check is. It’s just a different world.”

As you may recall, this academic year is the first in which NCAA student-athletes can receive cost-of-attendance payments in addition to their athletic scholarships. The extra money is for incidentals, such as travel home, school supplies, laundry, etc. The amount given to each student-athlete varies by school, anywhere from $1,000 to more than $6,000 per academic year.

According to CBSSports, SMU student-athletes receive $2,676 per year, on average.

Coach Rompola apparently is not a fan of cost-of-attendance, going on to tell the AP: “Kids are making decisions these days to go to a college based on what their cost-of-attendance check is, based on the meals they get, not based on academics, not based on what a great school it is.”

“Maybe I’m old school. It’s not necessarily what I signed up for and I’m not going to adjust my coaching to the way kids are these days. That’s how it is these days, coaches having to adjust to kids, rather than kids having to adjust to coaches.”

Many youth coaches across the country probably nodded their heads in agreement after reading those words. Whether it’s youth sports or high school and college athletics, more now is being done to meet the needs of the student-athlete. Most of it is good, and overall the cost-of-attendance payments have been received well. But there’s a fine line between helping players and coddling players. Youth coaches have to balance that line all the time, and some, like Coach Rompola, are tired of the high-wire act.

Credit goes to the coaches who can stick it out, encourage and teach our young athletes, and get them ready for the next level, whether it’s in sports or not. Next time you’re at your kids’ games, thank their coaches. Their job gets more difficult every day.

A Lesson to Be Learned

March 14, 2016

A while back we told you about the fight at a girls’ high school basketball game in Indiana that resulted in the suspension of both teams from the rest of this season.

Pike High meeting

Photo Courtesy: Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star.

Now, as Paul Harvey might say, here is the rest of the story.

After both the Pike and Ben Davis girls’ basketball teams were suspended after the on-court brawl, most everyone thought that would be the end of the issue. But Anucha Browne saw it as an opportunity for a life lesson for everyone involved.

Browne is NCAA vice president for women’s basketball championships. And she comes in with a hoops pedigree: She starred at Northwestern and led the country in scoring in 1985 with a 30.5 points per game average. And she decided she needed to talk with these players.

“I thought it was important to be in their space and help them understand that those split-second decisions can change the rest of their lives,” she told the Indianapolis Star. “I took pride in owning the fact that those young people deserve another chance and to have a dialogue with somebody who has been where they are. I want to be impactful in their lives.”

Browne met with the Pike team last week—she’s scheduled to meet with Ben Davis next week. Neither high school appealed the suspensions, although Pike did ask the Indiana High School Athletic Association to reevaluate its process in ruling on fighting at games.

“These are just young people, and you have to invest in young people,” Browne continued. “We tell our kids to be sportsmen, but what does that mean? I think to have that dialogue and talk to them about the impact of their behavior and what they do is important. It says everything about them.”

As for the school, Pike Athletic Director Doug Schornick said the meeting with Browne was another step in the healing process. “I think the message coming from somebody of her background was perfect,” he said. “We’re going to get stronger. All our programs are going to get stronger.”

Kudos to Browne for reaching out to both teams after a devastating end to their seasons. Let’s hope the schools, and especially the players, learn and grow from it.

2015 Industry Trends

February 5, 2015

Going to talk today about some trends that we see in the industry in the coming year.  And I think one of the most interesting trends for those of us that have been in the sports commission, and visitor and convention bureau industries, is the fact that park and recreation departments are becoming increasingly interested in membership in the NASC.  I find that particularly interesting, personally because we’re discovering that many park and recreation department actually create, promote, and run their own events, which makes them in the final analysis perhaps even more similar to a sports commission in many cases than a convention and visitors bureau where in the latter case there may be a focus on room nights, which is something we are going to talk about in just a minute or two.  But we welcome additional park and recreation departments to our membership.  We are at something in the range of 20 departments now, and we will be taking some steps during the year to increase that number, because they bring a lot to the table in terms of the dialogue and they’re truly qualified as active members of our association, because they’re so involved with the production of their own events.  So that would be a first trend.

The second trend starts with a question; I wonder how many of us think, what would be the case in terms of room rebates if we didn’t have a focus on room nights?  I wonder if there isn’t a direct tie in between the emphasis that a destination places and the importance that a destination places on developing room nights through sports above and beyond all other considerations.  And if by doing that, that doesn’t encourage event owners to feel that not only can there be room rebates, but the room rebates that could perhaps overtime and with a change in destinations continue to go up.  I remember being surprised when rebates were in the five to ten dollar range; I am shocked that we have managed to get in the 30+ dollar range in some cases around the country.  So I think a one of the cost on a focus on room nights could very well be increasing room rebates.  And from that stand point I think it’s good to look back 20 years ago, when sports commissions were the primary way to bid on events.  These was a tremendous focus on quality of life.  Destinations were looking for events that were going to make something exciting happen in their communities, and yes television exposure was very important.  But in the final analysis doing things like having the USA Volleyball National Women’s Team come to your destination and play another international squad with no visitor spending, was a real focus of a sports commission.  And that kind of focus does not encourage event owners to pursue room rebates, let alone commissions.  Now one the major event owners in the United States, the NCAA, moved to a commission on all room nights for all NCAA National Championships, across all divisions in 2014.  That was a seismic shift and we’ll see how that works out for the NCAA and for the destinations.  And importantly for the very people that are attending these championships, which in the final analysis are the people, all of us are supposed to be more concerned about.

And then I think finally, there is a trend in our industry that has come up at the latter part of 2014, there is a shrinkage and or consolidation of some of the events that take place every year in the sports travel industry.  The United States Olympic Committee recently made a decision to assign the rights to the SportsLink congress to the Connect Sports people, and we’re have to see how that works out.  That is a not-for-profit transfer of rights to a for profit, I rather suspect that that’ll be reflected in the cost of attending that conference, but it’s a market driven economy and we’ll see what happens.

So for the coming year, we see more park and recreation departments getting engaged in the industry, we see this puzzle about room rebates and commissions continual need to be something that we all have to focus on, and finally there some shifts and changes in industry conferences.  I can tell you that the NASC has decided to keep its independence, but we are also going to attend each of the industry conferences this year.  Thanks for your attention.

 

NASC Board of Directors Meets for Summer Retreat

July 22, 2014

Membership services and professional development were two of the main topics covered at the 2014 National Association of Sports Commissions Board of Directors Summer Retreat, held July 16-18 at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s office in downtown Indianapolis.

The meeting is the yearly opportunity for the Board to discuss topics that affect the long-term growth and viability of the NASC, and how NASC can best serve its members.

“We see the summer retreat as a great way to proactively look at the issues facing the NASC and its member organizations,” said Kevin Smith, CSEE, director of the St. Petersburg/ Clearwater Sports Commission and the chair of the Board of Directors. “We use this time to discuss some of the ways we can help our members be even more productive.”

Topics during the retreat included CSEE and professional development for members, Association meetings and events, and new membership services.

The Board also heard from Mark Lewis, executive vice president for championships and alliances of the NCAA, on the changing environment of college sports.

“These topics affect how our membership does business in the competitive sports tourism industry,” said Greg Ayers, CSEE, president and CEO of Discover Kalamazoo and Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Board. “The Board wants to find new ways, from education to networking, to help our members establish themselves as leaders in this field.”

The next professional development opportunity for members is the CSEE Fall Module and Market Segment Meetings, co-located with the USOC Olympic Sportslink at the Hilton Chicago on Monday, September 22 and Tuesday, September 23. For information and registration, visit http://sportscommissions.org/MarketSegmentMeetings.

Jackie Reau
Game Day Communications
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NASC Playbook – Summer 2013 is now available

July 23, 2013

We are pleased to release our third edition of the NASC Playbook, our quarterly digital publication. was designed to keep our members up-to-date on the latest happenings with your association as well as to share best practices and industry trends that will help you get your share of the sports event industry.

NASC Playbook Summer 2013

Inside this Issue:

– Beth’s Top Ten Tips for Responding to the NASC Symposium RFP
– National Association of Sports Commissions annual symposium celebrates record growth in 2013
– Sports Tourism: A State of the Industry Report
– NASC helps members prepare for the NCAA Championship Bid Process
– NASC Unveils Enhancements to Economic Impact Calculator

View the Summer 2013 NASC Playbook. 

 

If you have stories you’d like to have us feature in a future edition, contact Elizabeth Chaney, Director of Membership and Marketing, at Elizabeth@SportsCommissions.org.

Five Questions with Mark Lewis, Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances, NCAA

April 24, 2013

Mark Lewis, who has been in the role of Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances, NCAA, for exactly one year, is spending time at the 2013 Symposium meeting with the membership of the organization.

In June, the NCAA will distribute the bids collectively for the 89 annual championships facilitated by the NCAA. NASC_News asked Mark Lewis a few questions about his role at the NCAA.

Q: You have been in your role for one year now. What are some of the accomplishments in which you are most proud?

A. Each year, we host 89 championships for our student athletes to compete at the highest level, and to create lasting memories for them. Our men’s tournament this year celebrated its 75th anniversary with a terrific tournament that included some of the best match ups in the history of the tournament, record TV ratings and terrific attendance. We also launched our Division II Championship Festivals for the first time. We received great feedback from our member organizations as well as our student athletes for the overall experience from our host cities and member organizations.

Q: What are three tips you can share with potential host cities?

A: First and foremost, all potential host cities need to develop close working relationships with our members, the colleges and universities in their market, to submit the bid. Secondly, it’s important to complete the bid per the specifications but also be creative. We want to see some community spirit and passion in the bid. Lastly but probably most important, we want to see how the host community and member organization are going to create a positive experience for our student athletes.

Q: What are you most excited about at the NCAA?

A: I get excited going to work every day. Interest in college athletics is at an all-time high as evidenced by the TV ratings of the men’s basketball tournament–the highest since the 90s. But every time we award a championship trophy, it’s a magical moment, and we get to do it 89 times a year.

Q: How are you looking to grow strategic alliances for the NCAA?

A: With 94 percent of the annual revenue for the NCAA coming from men’s basketball, I think about growing revenue opportunities with the other championships every day. Only five of our 89 championships are self-funding (men’s basketball, men’s hockey, baseball, men’s lacrosse and wrestling). We are constantly looking for ways to grow revenue while providing additional exposure to our student athletes. For example, we will broadcast the men’s and women’s golf championships on the Golf Channel this year.

About Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis was named the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances in April 2012.

Lewis oversees the administration and operation of 89 championships in 23 different sports, including ticketing and marketing operations. Lewis also is responsible for managing the broadcast partnerships with CBS, Turner Sports and ESPN, as well as the Association’s corporate partners.

Before joining the NCAA, Lewis was president of Jet Set Sports, a leading hospitality and event company with highly successful partnerships with various local and national Olympic organizing committees. As president, Lewis focused on managing partnerships with Olympic entities in the areas of accommodations, event tickets, catering, ground transportation, management and many other services.

Prior to his position at Jet Set Sports, Lewis was vice president of sponsorship at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) where he was responsible for the oversight of all aspects of global Olympic and NFL sponsorships for General Electric, including working with various business units of the company to increase sales.

Lewis also previously served as president and chief operating officer of Olympic Properties of the United States in Salt Lake City, a joint venture of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee and the United States Olympic Committee. This joint venture raised more than $1.5 billion in sponsorships with more than 70 corporations.

Lewis is a former Division I student-athlete who played football at the University of Georgia, where he received his undergraduate (accounting) and law degrees. He is married to Dawn Allinger Lewis, a former Pac-10 basketball player at Washington State and a 1996 Olympian in team handball.  They have two children, Peyton and Dylan.