November 11, 2010


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AVCA Division III Head Coaches Committee Meeting Minutes  

November 11, 2010 - 11 a.m. ET

Present: Becky Schmidt (Chair), Amanda Cuiffo (Great Northeast), Don Perkins (NJAC), Kreider (Commonwealth), Sam Lambert (SCAC), Nicole Hess (MIAC), Kristen Ely (SLIAC), Bridget Sheehan (NCAC), Deb Schulman (sub for Jill Jolliff (WIAC)), Kim Kelly (UAA), Dorothy Webb (NEWMAC), Vicki Brault (OAC), Deb Kiick (CCIW), Kali Andress (AVCA)

Not Present: Mark Massey (Northwest), David Kwan (Heartland), Tammy Swearingen (President's), Tiffany Davis (ASC), Andrea Hoover (ODAC), Alexa Keckler (Centennial), Katrina Dagan (North Atlantic), Jonathan Penn (Liberty), Brett Allen (NESCAC), Bob Weiner (Little East), Bret Stothart (Commonwealth Coast), Steve Pike (SUNYAC), Kelly Greapentrog (Empire 8), Lisa Greiner (Independents & Skyline), David Shumaker (NEAC), Ray Bello (CUNYAC), Deana Jespersen (Pennsylvania), Margie Knight (Capital), Michele Zabinski (Freedom), Phil Pisano (AMCC), Lindsay Birch (USA South), Kandis Schram (GSAC), DeAnn Woodin (IIAC), Deb Zellers (Independents), Jeanne Hess (MIAA), Jennifer Saylor (Midwest), Kathy Gebhardt (NAC), Dianna Graves (SCIAC)

I.   Roll Call

Becky asked the committee to respond back to her with the answer to the following: What would you like to see on the agenda for the DIII Head Coaches Committee Meeting and the DIII General Meeting at this year's convention. She also asked everyone to include if they were planning to be in attendance or not.


II. AVCA Update (Kali Andress)

Kali can be reached at or 859-425-5075.   


III. Q & A with Judy Sweet - consultant on Title IX and Gender Equity


Becky Schmidt) Becky asked Judy to give a brief overview of her background.

Judy Sweet)

  • a consultant on Title IX and Gender Equity
  • former NCAA Vice President for Championships
  • 24 years as Director of Athletics for DIII institution: University of California - San Diego
  • Involved with Women Coaches Academy


BS) During these tough economic times, where coaches are experiencing department cuts and professional development cuts, how can we be better advocates of our sport to ensure that the department is being fair to the volleyball program and our student athletes?

JS) Judy shared that the best thing to do is to monitor the department's funding. By using the Equity and Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA - can search by Google), you can input information from your institution or another and it will show you what they submit to the Federal Government outlining their financial support for each sport. You can check for discrepancies and inconsistencies. Typically, DIII institutions should not have a tier system like DI institutions. You need to be aware of special preferences to men's sports. There should also be the same level of support on the women's side in regards to the number of athletes.

If your school is experiencing potential financial challenges and has to reduce expenditures, the best way to approach the situation is to be understanding of the Athletic Administration's challenges. Ask them how you can be supportive and let them know you are a team player. Tell them you want to do the best you can for your volleyball players and want all athletes to have the best possible experience.


BS) What if your volleyball program has always been cost conscious, and is consistently under budget, but other programs are not? When all programs have to cut their budgets, how do you deal with these feelings of unfairness?

JS) It seems the problem is that the programs that are going over budget and spending money that is getting absorbed by the administration are not seeing any consequences. In that case, you could have a conversation with your Athletic Administration about how conscious you have been with the budget, and bring up the concerns you have that other programs may not be as conscious. Ask them what you can do. Ask them what the allocation is and if that allocation is fair. This needs to be judged by the quality of the experience for the athletes, not the dollar amount. Even though mentioning Title IX can make your administration uncomfortable, you can mention it from the angle that you want to make sure the institution would not potentially face any legal issues.

BS) Are there any red flags we can look out for?

JS) One example is rooming situations, whether athletes are booked 1 or 2 per hotel bed. These have to be equal regardless of gender.

If you go to the NCAA website, under gender equality you will find the "Laundry List". This outlines the criteria, under Title IX, that institutions need to meet to make sure male and female athletes enjoy the same experience. For example, access to facilities, medical resources, training rooms, etc. All of you need to be aware of these criteria.

Title IX is made up of 3 parts: Number of athletes, financial spending, and the "Laundry List". Some other resources you might find useful are the Women's Sports Foundation and the National Women's Law Center (both can be found by Google search).

BS) Fundraising is always difficult in tough economic times. Do you have any suggestions or success stories you can share with us?

JS) My advice is to be creative. You need to identify your likely audience. Overall university fundraising has decreased anywhere from 37-49%. So it is tough for institutions as a whole, not just for athletic programs. You can go to fundraising seminars that can give you new ideas. You really just have to get creative and think of new ways to generate money that you haven't tried yet.

BS) It seems like all of us are waiting for the economy to improve. We are thinking we can just wait it out until times get better. When and if they do get better, how do we ask for these things back? When the institution has more money, how do we approach our athletic directors and ask for our cuts back?

JS) This goes back to the other conversation you have with the athletic director when you are facing the budget cuts. You made sure to tell them that you are a team player and that you are willing to do everything you can to help the administration during the difficult economic times.

For this conversation you need to ask what is going to happen moving forward if there is a recovery. As always, you want to focus on the student athletes. Keep a record of all the consequences of the cut backs. This way, when things do improve, you have documentation of what your athletes had before the cuts, and what you think they should get back in order for their experience to be the best it can be.

Always remember you don't want to put the administration in a defensive position. You want to approach conversations like this in a constructive way. Especially if you are coming at it from the gender equality angle, reassure them that you want to be helpful to the university and are focused on the athletes' quality of experience.

BS) Equity issues also arise from comparing yourself to coaches from other conferences, for example salary discrepancies. Is this something good to bring up in these conversations with your athletic director?

JS) Hard figures are always a good thing to use. This can be a good starting point for discussion. But you have to be certain you are comparing apples to apples. The coaches need to have equal responsibilities. For example, if one is also a teacher, their salary may he higher. You also need to be aware of the fact that the other institutions may have a higher standard of living for all of its employees. When making these comparisons, also take into account the other coach's experience level such as number of years coaching and success rate.

You can find the information to compare schools in the EADA report mentioned above.

BS)  Can you share any success stories from situations like these?

JS) When Judy was a Director of Athletics, they faced several periods of budget cuts, where they had to sometimes cut 5% and even 10%. She looked at it as a department initiative. They asked: What can be cut that will have minimal impact on the student athletes' experience. They also tried to avoid cutting salaries by decreasing spending in other areas. Judy shared that it is important to identify your priorities. You need to look for ways to do more or the same with fewer resources. You also need to look for ways to generate more resources.


Judy has made herself available via email for any further questions.

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