December 3, 2010 – USRowing Convention – Tampa, FL
CRCA General Membership Meeting Minutes
Submitted by: Steve Kish
Start time: 9:45am EST
Present: BOD members: Robyn Horner, Steve Kish, Jane LaRiviere, Liz O’Leary, Steve Pritzker, Martin Stone, Kate Strum, Bill Zack. Guest present: DI Rowing Committee members Joe Wilhelm (Northeastern University Head Coach) and Marshall Foley (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). General Members: Alabama, Bucknell, Duke, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Hamilton, Iowa, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Northeastern, Navy, Notre Dame, Nova-Southeastern, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Tulsa, UCLA, Villanova, Virginia and Washington State. If your program was represented, please let us know so we can correct the minutes.
Introductory Remarks: Bill Zack opened the meeting by introducing and acknowledging Bill Tytus of Pocock Racing Shells, our primary sponsor. Also, John Flynn of Powerview and Duke Robinson of the San Diego Crew Classic were given a moment to say a few words about what they have to offer. Bill also relayed comments from Glen Merry of USRowing, as Glen was ill and could not attend. Glen’s communication focused on the USRowing Collegiate Regatta and the intention to keep it going, for a minimum of 5 years, focusing on sculling and small boats while also providing racing opportunities for eights.
Jane LaRiviere reported that we have $30,614 in checking and $14,532 in savings. She also thanked Pocock and commented how the CRCA student-athletes awards would not be possible without Pocock’s sponsorship.
Steve Kish reported that membership is at a typical level for this time of year and that he will be working to help the board find ways to connect with the entire membership in a more effective manner. He will also be looking into ways in which the current CRCA website might better serve the entire membership. He also estimated that there are about 50 coaches who have not joined and they will be invited in the near future. The following info has been added at the time of writing these minutes… We currently have 270 members: 128 assistant coaches, 115 head coaches, 16 graduate assistants, 5 associate members, 3 volunteer assistant coaches, 3 sport administrators. Of the 270, 56 are DII/DIII coaches. The above estimate that there are 50 other potential members is incorrect… there are closer to 100. Additional potential coaching members exist in the following DI regions: South(15), Central(13), Mid-Atlantic(12), West(10), NewEngland(5). DII/DIII has 40 potential additional members.
Bill Zack reviewed the CRCA response to the NCAA regarding recruiting days. There were no objections to the letter that was sent out to the membership on November 18th. He will keep the membership informed when the NCAA responds.
Kate Strum announced that there are minor changes being made to the awards timeline and that coaches should email her with any questions or issues.
Robyn Horner had no report, as expected at this time of year.
Robyn Horner announced she will be looking into two potential dates for the conference, as well as potential speakers, and that scholarships will be available and evaluated by the Coaching Education committee. She asked for input and suggestions to make the conference a valuable experience as well as to increase attendance. Suggestions included focusing on top coaches for speakers and also revisiting the sessions that were tailored for assistant coaches.
Lori Dauphiny was not able to attend, and there was no report. Email her with any questions.
Steve Pritzker described how the first year of the three-boat poll progressed, thanked the pollsters for their attention to detail, and asked for feedback. A few questions were raised regarding whether polling would change in the future as the NCAA championships continue to evolve, with our without AQ’s, etc. At least for these two years, Steve said he didn’t expect any changes to the polling process. He emphasized the need for coaches to continue to serve as pollsters, recognizing that it most definitely is a time-intensive job for everyone.
Hall of Fame
Liz O’Leary announced that there will some minor updates and changes to the website and nomination process with regards to the Hall of Fame. Liz asked that coaches think about candidates to nominate.
Kevin Sauer brought up the question of whether rowing coaches would prefer to change the allowed GA position into a fourth paid coach. Discussion ensued regarding the costs of a GA vs. the costs of a paid coach, as well as whether it would be a part-time coach or full-time.
Championship and Competition
This topic was saved for last, as it was assumed that it would invite the most discussion. Marshall Foley began by outlining the current timeline for the implementation of AQ’s in 2013. The budget for play-ins will be voted on during the NCAA Championship and Sports Management Cabinet meetings in June of 2011 and if there are insufficient funds, the DI Rowing Committee will need to come up with a play-in alternative that works within the allocated budget. The exact play-in plan will be determined and announced by June of 2012. He also
said the DI Rowing Committee will be putting together the criteria for conferences to follow in order to qualify for their designated AQ spot. As we all know, the NCAA requires a conference to have six teams competing in order to have an AQ. The DI Rowing Committee is going to create a definition for a “team.” In other words, a team will need to have two eights and a four competing at the conference championships (without doubling up student-athletes). The current topic they are discussing is whether there will be a requirement that those three separate boats compete a certain amount of times over the course of the season (spring, or fall/spring). The current number being considered is six, but encompassing both fall and spring.
Martin Stone then introduced a synopsis of some ideas regarding an alternative to awarding AQ’s to conferences who sponsor women’s rowing. The basic framework includes returning to an individual team sport, and attempting to somehow re-secure at-large eights. The assumption is that the numbers would be similar to 2008 (12 teams and 4 at large eights). Conference championships would be held in late April or early May, followed by five open regional championships. Winners of the five regional would qualify automatically for the NCAA. Then seven full teams would be selected. Finally, conference champions who were not selected would then be selected for the remaining 4 at-large eight positions. The idea is that based on the last 15 years of results, at least eight conference champions would be at the NCAAs, and probably four of them would only be there with an at-large eight. Based on Marshall Foley’s estimation, Martin said that at least 70% of the CRCA membership would need to be in favor of a new proposal before the NCAA would consider revisiting what was recommended by the DI Rowing Committee and ratified by the Championships and Sports Management Cabinet last year.
With all due respect to Wendy Davis’ request that the minutes be spot on, it is difficult to encapsulate everyone’s individual comments without having recorded the meeting. In general, Kevin Sauer asked whether this kind of proposal would require returning to an Individual Team Sport. George Jenkins noted that we would lose spots (56 to be exact) if we returned to 12 teams and 4 at-large eights. Jane LaRiviere emphasized that we need to unify our coaching group because “united we stand, and divided we fall.” Mark Rothstein said it doesn’t make sense to return to being an Individual Team Sport. Bill Zack noted that there is quite a bit of resistance by the coaching group to accept that a “Team” is comprised of all three boats. Lisa Glenn emphasized that we should take our time before we propose any more changes.
Marshall made note of an initiative that seems to be circulating at the highest level of the NCAA. The NCAA Board of Directors, made up of school presidents, is rumored to be discussing the possibility of awarding AQ’s to every conference that sponsors a sport. The point is to confirm the value of conference sponsorship and affiliation, and to also standardize the overall AQ system. It would be a general directive, and then the folks at the next level of the NCAA would then be charged with figuring out how to implement it. In the case of women’s rowing, it could lead to an increase in the championship field, as there are 10 conferences which will be eligible by 2013 (ACC, Big East, Big 10, CAA, Pac10, Patriot, Conference USA, Ivy, MACC and WCC). The board will be in contact with Marshall in January to hear what the prevailing wind was regarding this topic.
Meeting Adjourned – 11:20am.
Note: An impromptu 30′ membership meeting was held a week later at the Joy of Sculling Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. Steve Kish and Will Porter presented most of what is in the above minutes.