By David Pickle
The idea of “distance mentoring” might seem at first blush to be an oxymoron, but Division II and the Division II Athletic Directors Association believe a new concept for the development of women and minority administrators has promise.
The idea is to match 10 outstanding Division II athletics administrators with 10 committed athletics directors in hopes of building a foundation that will encourage the participants to pursue a long-range career in athletics administration – ideally in Division II.
“We want to identify those who might fit the bill of ‘shining stars,’ ” said Western State Athletics Director Greg Waggoner, president of the Division II Athletic Directors Association. “We know they may be very attractive for Division I programs to recruit, but we want them to find it attractive to stay in Division II.”
Augusta State Athletics Director Clint Bryant, chair of the Division II Diversity Project Team, said that although the numbers are not especially good at the moment, the time is right for Division II to position itself as a more viable professional opportunity for women and ethnic minorities. The 2008-09 NCAA Race and Demographics Report shows the following breakdown by division:
Division Minority ADs Minority Asso. ADs Women ADs Women Asso. ADs
I 11.2% 11.6% 9.3% 31.0%
II 7.3% 11.3% 16.8% 42.1%
III 3.8% 7.4% 27.5% 46.1%
HBCUs not included for minority figures.
“We feel very strongly that there are numerous opportunities at the DII and III level that are just as rewarding and fulfilling as those at the Division I level,” Bryant said.
In fact, Bryant believes young administrators already are choosing Division II as a destination career.
“I see more and more people in Division II who are there as Division II people,” he said. “After the smoke clears, there’s not as many job opportunities as you may think. More and more, you see some minority administrators trying not to get pigeon-holed in jobs in Division I (such as rules compliance or academic advisement).”
The mentoring program will provide an opportunity for such individuals as it seeks to round out their skills.
The plan is for a highly selective process that involves only about 3 percent of all Division II ADs. Both mentees and mentors will be required to apply for the program, with the selections being made by representatives of the NCAA membership, the Division II ADA and Double LL Consulting, which is supporting the initiative.
Once the participants are selected, mentors and the mentees will be matched – at least partially with an eye on geography.
“We will line them up with proximity in mind so that they might have some opportunities for face-to-face interaction,” Waggoner said. “That won’t be possible in every case, so a lot of the mentoring will take place online. But we also will bring them all together at events like the NCAA and NACDA Conventions.”
The Diversity Project Team and the DII ADA advisory board also will help by developing programming that will be facilitated through effective templates. Waggoner said Division II’s Model Athletic Department will serve as the framework.
Waggoner said that the program will seek to find an appropriate balance on the time commitment for the participants.
“We want it to be substantial enough to be meaningful,” he said, “but we don’t want it to be overbearing. It needs to be enough for both participants to effectively engage in the process.”
Application forms soliciting nominees for the program will be mailed this week to athletics directors and conference commissioners. Applications will be due Dec. 1, with selections being made at the 2011 NCAA Convention.
By Oct. 1 – Letters soliciting nominees mailed to ADs and commissioners
By Nov. 1 – Letters of invitation and applications mailed to female/minority candidates
By Nov. 1 – Letters of invitation to serve as mentors mailed to Division II ADs
Dec. 1 – Deadline for return of applications
NCAA Convention (Jan. 11-15) – Mentors and mentees selected
Feb. 1, 2011 – Notification to successful candidates
July 2011 – Orientation at NCAA national office
September-May 2011 – Ongoing programming
Mid-June 2012 – NACDA Convention