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By David Pickle
The recipe for the first Division II Faculty Athletics Representatives Advanced Leadership Institute will involve equal parts of identity and advocacy.
The event, which will be conducted Oct. 14-16 in Indianapolis, will bring together 16 FARs who will be tasked primarily with developing a model faculty athletics representative document – something that event organizer Diane Husic hopes will eventually become part of the family of Division II model documents. So far, such papers have been created for model athletics programs, conference offices and strategic communications.
John Mayer, Cal State Stanislaus
Brenda Cates, Mount Olive College
Julie Rochester, Northern Michigan
Ann Jirkovsky, Bellarmine
Scott Harris, Montana State Billings
Timothy Ladd, Palm Beach Atlantic
Keith Vitense, Cameron
Kevin Schriver, Southwest Baptist
Douglas Blais, Southern New Hampshire
Joanne Stejskal, Winona State
Barb, Hannum, Hawaii Pacific
Allen Clabo, Francis Marion
Craig Stevens, West Chester
Dabney Gray, Stillman
Eileen McDonough, Barry
John Mansuy, Wheeling Jesuit
Diane Husic, Moravian (facilitator)
Husic, previously an FAR at East Stroudsburg, has remained active with Division II even though she is now a professor at Division III Moravian. She was instrumental in the development of the six Division II FAR Institutes and has played the leading role in creating this first advanced institute, which will involve FARs who have participated in Level 1.
“This is very different from the previous institutes in that it will be a working session,” Husic said, noting that much of the work will be directed at creating a model FAR document that is needed for various reasons.
First, no document exists that describes in detail the best practices that can enable the success of a faculty athletics representative. Second, nobody has described the different expectations among Divisions I, II and III FARs. Finally, Husic said some FARs have expressed concern that Division II’s model athletics program document provides only a brief mention of the role of the FAR.
“The idea is that this group would draft something and it would go to the FARA meeting in November for input and subsequent vision and then for discussion at the Convention,” Husic said. “Then after that there would be a document that’s been vetted enough to send to the Management Council and Presidents Council for endorsement.”
The other major component of the institute will be to encourage FARs to advocate more for college athletics.
Although media are quick to describe misbehavior by coaches or student-athletes, Husic said college athletics personnel are not adept at helping rebalance the image.
“Very often, that handful of incidents doesn’t represent at all the majority of student-athletes, nor does it really represent Division II,” Husic said. “But Division II FARs are very reluctant to write op-eds, to speak out about the value of college athletics.”
The lack of response is a problem per se, but Husic said it is exacerbated in difficult economic times as cash-strapped institutions look for places to trim budgets.
Husic, a biochemist, experienced a similar assignment last year when she was encouraged to advocate as an Audubon fellow.
“I was like, man, please don’t make me do this because this is going to be like a nightmare, but I loved it,” she said. “And I really realized thinking about how to distill the things that you do or what you believe in these short little clips can be really handy.”