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Sept. 25, 1987: NCAA Executive Director Dick Schultz Speaks at UAA Celebration

Sept. 25, 1987: NCAA Executive Director Dick Schultz Speaks at UAA Celebration

To celebrate the inaugural weekend of official UAA play, University of Rochester hosted a luncheon and press conference on Sept. 25, 1987 with new NCAA Executive Director Dick Schultz as the keynote speaker.

That night, an a cappela group from Washington University sang with the Rochester a cappela group, "The YellowJackets." Also, the Washington volleyball team competed in Rochester's home volleyball tournament.

The following day, the Yellowjackets hosted Washington in men's soccer in the afternoon and in football in the evening.

Below are the transcribed remarks of Schultz at the luncheon:

Dr. O'Brien, Members of the UAA, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It's a real pleasure for me to be here and be part of your inaugural festivities.

As Dr. O'Brien mentioned, I got my start in Division III athletics, and I think it adds something to you career that you can long remember. And I'm speaking directly to the athletes now. I would not trade that experience for anything. My stature is not tall as basketball players go, but I was a fair to middling high school basketball player and was offered a basketball scholarship to the University of Iowa. But I'd grown up in a small Iowa community that did not have a football team, and I always wanted to play football. So I went to Central College, a Division III school so I could play football as well as basketball. My experience there, I think, gave me the foundation that has been a strong basis for me throughout the years, especially, my years as a coach and administrator in Division I athletics.

And those of you in the UAA, who are establishing a very unique and a very outstanding conference, I would just give you this charge. Those of you in charge of athletic programs, do not let your programs be so specialized that you remove that opportunity for your athletes to compete in more than one sport.

Unfortunately in 1987, we live in an age of specialization. A lot of people think that high-powered college athletics has created that specialization. I disagree with that. I've been in this business a long time, more years than I would care to admit. I feel that the age of specialization came in with the first million dollar professional contract. From that point on, parents and high school athletes viewed this as the ultimate goal if that student had any athletic potential at all.

Some would say it's because of the full scholarships at Division I and Division II schools. I don't think that's the case. We've had those for years. And we still did not have people specializing and practicing year round in a specific sport. But as soon as we had the first million dollar professional contract, that became the goal of many, and hence, the age of specialization. Please avoid that trap. There's a lot of merit in having a well-rounded athletic background and a well-rounded experience.

I think you are to be commended in what you have started. You have nine great universities with a common academic mission and you have made the decision that philosophy you want to pursue athletically is Division III. As was well stated earlier, that is not a classification, that's a philosophy.

Division III might me the only true form of the amateur athletics left in America, including the Olympics. We walk about the Amateur Athletic Union and all the great amateur athletes that compete in track and field, bur you ought to see the expense checks that they get. And it's very possible that this year the International Olympic Committee will allow professionals to compete in the Olympics. So Division III in another year may be the only pure form of amateur athletics left in this country.

One of the big mistakes that universities make in 1987 and the years beyond is that they try to compete to a level and not within their means or according to their basic philosophy. We've seen many schools that are Division III that have higher ambitions. They see the NCAA Final Four and they see that as a goal for their university because of the prestige and fame that they might achieve by playing on national television and playing in the Final Four. So their ultimate goal becomes one of competing in, and existing in, that arena. But if that doesn't fit the philosophy of the institution nor the resources of that institution, why fight such a debilitating battle?

The interesting thing in visiting with many members of the UAA this morning is that this group was formed because of athletic interest and commonality in academics, and now you're starting [to develop] many academic interests and other areas outside of athletics. This is way it should be and you are to be commended for that.

Division III within the NCAA fulfills a very, very important function. I think it's important that Division III schools recognize that fact, of that is their philosophy, and almost as certainly that it is not their mission to impose that philosophy on others. This is one of the great things about the NCAA, but also one of the major challenges on the NCAA that we have this tremendous diversity within the organization.

The UAA was one of the conferences in the past month that put the NCAA over the 1,000-member mark for the first time in its history. So when you think of 1,000 institutions and associations in this country, banded together in one association with three separate divisions and philosophies, you start to visualize the immense challenges that I have ahead of me. The diversity within this organization also creates much of the diversity within the organization.

While we have in Division III the very pure philosophy, it's not without its problems. Even within Division III, there are many philosophies dealing with financial aid and how it should be administered. Should there be exceptions? Should there be presidential scholarships? And on down the line. That argument has been going on for years and it will probably be going on after all of us are gone. But it does point out the fact that even within Division III there is much diverse thinking. And as we go on up to Division II, where we have financial aid based on athletic ability rather than on need, and then in Division I, we find even more diversity.

Probably one of the greatest challenges for this organization years ahead will be Division I - not the integrity issue, but the great diversity within that particular group of people. As we talk about the NCAA in college athletics today, we've been obsessed with the negative in the media in this country. Any anything as visible as intercollegiate athletics certainly comes in for its share of criticism.

But if we really know what the facts are and if we really analyze the situation, we know that intercollegiate athletics today is no more than a microcosm of society. We read much about students who are athletes who are really not students. We talk about under the table payments for athletes in all divisions. We talk about the lack of integrity. We talk about the drug problem with prominent athletes. Actually the fact is that those problems in intercollegiate athletics today might be some of the smallest problems we have.

The perceptions are probably a greater problem than the actual fact itself. And when we take a look at society today, we go back to the previously mentioned Watergate, which is a scandal in the highest office of this nation. We follow it with the Wall Street problems. An individual who was doing quite well, but wants that little bit of competitive edge so he can do a little but better. So he steps across the line and he manipulates the deal so instead of making a million dollars, he makes three million. We get back into Congress and the presidential office and we have Irangate. And it even steps down to the religious issues, which our pastor back home refers to as "Pearlygate."

So when we take a look at what goes on in this country, how can we expect athletics to continually be as pure as we once envisioned it? The drug issue itself, and this is certainly a controversy not only in intercollegiate athletics, but in higher education as well, is not an athletic problem. It perhaps is the greatest crisis this country is facing.

Let me share some very interesting facts with you relating to drugs in this country. These are facts from the FBI. The income from illegal drugs in the United States in 1986 was a half trillion dollars. The number one users of illegal drugs in America were people in the medical profession; number two are people in the legal profession; and number three are business executives. Athletes, both professional and college, are far down the list. But because of the visibility of intercollegiate athletics and the professional game, if a Len Bias or someone else is afflicted, all athletes are judged guilty. So much so that we have to have drug testing programs to insure the reliability of our athletes.

The NCAA last year instituted drug testing for championships for the first time. It started with the 1986 cross country meets and continued on through for all NCAA championships, including all of the bowl games. Hundreds and hundreds of athletes were tested. The positives were one percent. People, we could take any segment of our society, and test the same number and they wouldn't come close to that low a percentage.

This is a major problem that we have nationally. Why should athletes be exempt? Well, the fact that they're not is one of the greatest challenges that we all face, and we face it at all levels. It's not just confined to Division I. The problem is there because of the dynamics and the interest and the problems that that creates for athletic programs generally.

Integrity is a major issue. It's one that we have to attack, and its one that I pan to attack personally on a national basis. We cannot legislate integrity in our institutions, just like we cannot legislate morality. This is why I plan to spend a fair amount of time on the road visiting institutions and spending time with presidents, chancellors, and their governing boards. My reason for doing that is to strengthen the position of the president. To look trustees in the eye, if there has been a problem, and say, "It is your responsibility. Integrity starts with you. You have to guarantee that your programs are wholesome and the first step is that guarantee is to guarantee support for your president or your chancellor so that even a fan among your group cannot place such pressure on this individual that they cannot conduct the program they see fit."

Nor can the power coach circumvent the athletic director or the president and go to a member of that governing board and say, "Look, if we don't do this, we're not going to be successful." So integrity has to start with the governing boards and they have to provide the support to the president so that he can always maintain the highest level of integrity in those programs. Of we can convince people of that, we can solve the integrity problem overnight.

But obviously things aren't as simple as they seem. 12-15% maximum of the member institutions of the NCAA are involved in some type of integrity problems or illegal recruiting, a relatively small number. But in my mind, if that's one percent, that's one percent too many.

One of the goals of the future has to be to return intercollegiate athletics to its rightful place, to its true leadership role. And hopefully the visibility athletics enjoys in this country that has created the media attention that has amplified the problems can be used. We can use that visibility to our advantage and turn this picture around in a period of time so that athletes and coaches and athletic programs will be true role models.

That athletes will graduate, not at the level equaling the rest of the student body, but will accept the challenge to graduate at a level higher than the rest of the student body. That we can do this in such an atmosphere that we can do what you're doing in the UAA, that we can convince the world and people involved that quality academics and quality athletics can coexist. And they can be conducted with class. That's a magnificent challenge and one that is worthy of all of us. And if we are going to be successful, we all have to be involved.