Guidelines: NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR)
There guidelines were drafted in 2001 by Penn State University FAR Scott Kretchmar, in order to provide schools with helpful models to strengthen the role of campus FARs and intercollegiate athletics governance.
Companion document: Guidelines: Institutional Governance and Intercollegiate Athletics
The NCAA Constitution requires that all member institutions employ a faculty athletics representative (FAR). This individual must have faculty rank and not hold either an administrative or coaching position in the athletics department. The FAR is supposed to play a central role in the overall checks and balances system designed to insure academic integrity, sound governance and commitment to rules compliance, attention to equity, and student-athlete welfare.
Some duties related to these functions are stipulated in the NCAA bylaws. Others are left to the discretion of each institution or the individual who occupies the position. Both mandated and optional duties are listed in The Faculty Athletics Representative Handbook. The Faculty Athletics Representative: A Survey of the Membership further itemizes FAR duties under the categories of: a) academics, b) compliance and rules interpretation, c) student-athlete welfare, and d) administration.
The overall success in performing these functions varies considerably from campus to campus. At some institutions, the FAR enjoys a considerable amount of visibility and influence. At others, the position carries less prominence and clout. Even at schools where a long history of support for the FAR exists, some parts of the job may go well while others languish.
Given this variability in the role of FAR and inherent difficulties in carrying out all parts of the job well, the following guidelines have been developed. They are designed to provide principles and strategies for strengthening the FAR position and thereby increasing faculty voice in overseeing intercollegiate athletics.
The guidelines are designed to provide a method for quickly and efficiently checking the strength of the local FAR position. They are not meant to be comprehensive. Readers are encouraged to use information identified in the Bibliography or consult with individuals listed under Resources in order to gain a more complete picture of effective practices.
It is not expected that each guideline will be applicable to every institution. Different histories, administrative structures, institutional missions, and personnel at each school affect what will work. In addition, institutional needs and practices vary considerably between NCAA Divisions. Many of the guidelines below are targeted, in general, toward Division I institutions, but some should be useful at the Division II and III levels as well. (See The Faculty Athletics Representative: A Survey of the Membership for reported differences in FAR functions between NCAA Divisions.) The practices described below are utilized at many colleges and universities where FARs enjoy high degrees of influence and productivity.
Certain values or principles inform many of the guidelines in this report. Five of them are identified here to clarify the foundations on which the guidelines rest. In effect, these principles provide, singly and in different combinations, a rationale for the recommendations contained in the practices described.
1. Independence/integrity. The FAR is part of the checks and balances system for administering and overseeing intercollegiate athletics. While this individual does not report to the faculty (In nearly all cases, the FAR is appointed by the CEO.), he or she is expected to provide a faculty perspective on intercollegiate athletics issues. Both the appearance and the reality of this perspective must be maintained. This leads to a number of policies and practices that are designed to provide some distance between the FAR and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. This principle is implicit in the NCAA constitutional requirement that FARs not be coaches or administrators employed by athletics. It is also undergirds recommendations that funding for the FAR and his or her duties not come from Intercollegiate Athletics.
2. Stature/visibility. According to the Handbook, the FAR is to enjoy a degree of visibility and stature ìbeyond the level of a typical service appointment.î Both of these factorsóthe stature and the visibilityóshould allow the FAR to perform duties with a greater degree of effect. Any number of policies and practices can both symbolically and concretely elevate the position. For instance, the amount of fiscal support provided, the method by which the position is searched, and the degree of access to the CEO affect stature and visibility.
3. Communication. The FAR works at a crossroads where the interests of student-athletes, the department of intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA, the faculty and administration, and other interest groups need to be heard. Policies and procedures that insure clear and regular communication are needed. For instance, some FARs are required to provide informational reports to the Faculty Senate, and they sit on athletics committees that put them in contact with the student-athlete leadership or the head of the academic advising center for athletes.
4. Influence. The FAR must carry out duties that promote the integrity of the intercollegiate athletics program at his or her institution. To do so, this individual must be involved in the internal workings of athleticsófrom administration to compliance; from eligibility to student welfare. Consequently policies and procedures are needed that place the FAR in a position to know, advise, and act. A clear job description, for instance, that spells out FAR responsibilities is helpful in this regard. So too is mandated membership on key committees.
5. Uncertainty/fluidity. The position of FAR is not fixed once and for all. Intercollegiate athletics itself is in a period of dynamism, and the role of FAR can be expected to change as well. Consequently, policies and procedures for FARs may require revision from time to time.
q Is defined by a written job description
q Has been reviewed and approved by the CEO
q Is comprehensive (See sample job descriptions on the FARA website: See also Appendix B., Handbook.)
q Carries financial support consistent with the job description. (This may include a stipend and/or release time for the FAR, clerical assistance, travel and other support.)
q Carries financial support that comes from the general budget or other non-athletic source
q Is filled through a publicly-announced search
q Is filled only after input from the Faculty Senate (or main faculty governance body)
q Carries term limits and specifies limits on re-appointments
q Includes membership on committees or other governance bodies that facilitate communication with such constituencies as: 1. faculty governance; 2. the athletic board or committee; 3. the athletic administration; 4. student-athletes.
q Provides regular access to the CEO of the institution
q Is tenured
q Holds a senior academic position, preferably the rank of professor
q Has experience in faculty leadership prior to accepting position of FAR
q Enjoys campus reputation in a role unrelated to intercollegiate athletics (e.g., excellent teacher, successful researcher, well-respected administrator)
q Operates from an office that is located outside the department of intercollegiate athletics
q Operates from an office that is located outside the academic student-athlete advisement center
q Is careful to avoid both the reality and appearance of any conflict of interest, particularly in relationship to accepting perks or other fringe benefits
(Related to Student-Athletes)
q Meets with the student-athlete advisory board (SAAB)
q Attends start-of-season and other special events
q Participates in exit interviews
q Attends a variety of athletic events, not just football and basketball games
q Fulfills all roles related to student eligibility (See the Handbook)
q Is available to meet with student-athletes on an individual basis
(Related to Faculty)
q Reports regularly to the Faculty Senate (or other primary faculty governance body)
q Provides substantive information to the faculty on such matters as graduation rates for athletes, admissions statistics including any special admits for athletes.
q Sits on an Athletic Board or Committee where:
a. a majority of voting members are faculty
b. the Board or Committee has specified relationship to faculty governance
(Related to Administrators)
q Meets regularly with the CEO
q Meets regularly with the AD
q Meets regularly with others (depending on structure of operation) Examples:
a. Head of the student-athlete academic advising center
b. Advisor for the SAAB
c. Compliance Coordinator
d. Director of Admissions
e. Director of Financial Aid
q Holds conversations with administrators related to institutional control, academic integrity, budget, NCAA legislation, and the like.
q Sits on search committees for athletic administrators
q Serves as leader or committee member for NCAA Athletic Certification
(Related to Conferences & NCAA)
q Serves on conference and/or NCAA committees
q Meets regularly with conference FARs and governance organizations*
q Holds local conversations on institutional position for conference and NCAA legislation*
q Exercises authority (vis a vis conference bylaws) on matters delegated to FARs (e.g., academic responsibility, student welfare)*
*Since the NCAA governance reorganization in 1998, some believe that FAR influence at the national level has decreased. Much legislation, for instance, is now shaped by conference commissioners and by college and university Presidents who sit on the Board of Governors. Input from FARís on legislation and influence on other matters may now take place more at the conference level. Thus, these particular functions may take on added significance.
Barr, Carol A. (October, 1999). Faculty athletics representative: A survey of the
membership. Indianapolis: NCAA.
Hagwell, Stephen R. (Ed.). (January, 1998). Faculty Athletics Representative
Handbook. Indianapolis: NCAA.
Faculty Athletics Representative Association (FARA) Website: http://www.elon.edu/ncaafara/fara.html