The University of Wisconsin Athletic Board will most likely see new hiring and transparency policies after last Friday’s meeting.
After taking the summer to determine its response to a report that investigated its compliance with Faculty Policy and Procedures, the board postponed voting on implementing changes at their Friday meeting until next month.
The changes charged to the Athletic Board by the ad hoc report – known as the Clayton Report – in April 2010 revolve around Faculty Policies and Procedures.
Allegations brought by former board member and UW history professor Jeremi Suri, who left the board in Sept. 2008, prompted the establishment of an ad hoc committee by the University Committee to review the board’s compliance with FPP.
The first of these changes asked the board require a full vote when making hiring decisions.
The committee proposed four steps to meet these guidelines, UW engineering professor David Zimmerman said.
First the board will identify criteria for potential coaches during the hiring process such as the coach’s level of concern for student athletes, among others.
Second, open coaching positions will be posted and UW search-and-screen processes will be followed, with board members appointed to search-and-screen committees, the report stated.
The athletic department will also notify the board about leading candidates.
And lastly, prior to sending a recommendation to the chancellor for approval, the board will vote on the department’s choice and make sure the above procedures were satisfied.
Zimmerman said the board tested these procedures when hiring head softball coach Yvette Healy and said everything went smoothly.
Board member and UW political science professor Ken Goldstein said he was concerned about the necessity of a full vote by the board for hiring decisions.
Specifically, Goldstein said he was worried the process would not be swift enough for high profile hires such as Men’s Basketball and Football.
“[The board] would then have to convene [at a meeting] and I think it’s always an issue with coaches, but…for a high profile coach…that’s a whole different world…very quick, very sensitive, very private,” Goldstein said.
UW veterinary professor Sheila McGuirk said the committee was told the hiring guidelines could be condensed to ensure fast turnaround in high-profile situations.
In addressing the second concern handed down by the Clayton report – which stated performance evaluations of personnel be made available to the board – Zimmerman said the committee felt the board already complied.
The committee did consider whether or not to make the documents available online he said, but decided against it to preserve privacy.
The final recommendation set forth by the Clayton Report advised the board establish guidelines concerning the release of information to the media.
Upon review, the board’s ad hoc committee found no reason to change current policies, Zimmerman said, because it felt the board already complied with this suggestion.
Zimmerman did say, however, the committee would like each subcommittee of the Athletic Board to review its purpose.
Chair Walter Dickey said a vote on these changes would be postponed until all members could be present, because he felt the issue deserved “a full discussion” by the board.
Also earning some face time at the meeting was the expansion of the Big Ten Conference, which now includes the University of Nebraska, Athletic Director Barry Alvarez said.
While Alvarez said Nebraska is a good fit for the conference, Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delaney said further expansion is still a possibility.
“What that means I don’t know,” Alvarez said. “Is there a potential to continue to expand? Yes because…I think a lot of people are trying to place themselves in the best situation possible.”