NCAA Findings on Football Program
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) today concluded its inquiry of the Cal State Northridge football program, issuing a series of sanctions that will primarily affect that one sport, but also have some implications for the intercollegiate athletic program as a whole.
The violations of NCAA regulations in the football program, mostly occurring during the 1998-99 season, were clearly serious. But the university has made great strides during the past year toward remedying those concerns. As a result, we now have new leadership in both Intercollegiate Athletics and in the football program, and through this difficult process have gained a renewed and heightened commitment to ensure that our athletic program conforms to the rules and thus is a credit to the institution. Nothing less will suffice.
After reviewing the report of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, I am heartened that virtually all of the issues raised about the football program were ones the university had first addressed in its own internal audit issued last August, and that the university could concur with most of the NCAA's subsequent conclusions. Overall, the report cited multiple serious violations by CSUN's former head football coach (who was dismissed last July), but also found the university had not exercised adequate control over the program. In the report, the NCAA imposed sanctions that the university will accept, including three years probation for CSUN athletics through May 2003, the football team being barred from any postseason play during the upcoming 2000 season, and a temporary reduction in financial aid support for the football program.
More broadly, the NCAA is requiring the university to continue its increased education and compliance programs on NCAA requirements, and to file annual reports documenting those efforts during the three-year probation period. Should the university have any other major violations in athletics during the next five years, any resulting NCAA sanctions could be even more serious. In this institution's long history of intercollegiate athletics, Cal State Northridge has never had such an enforcement case before the NCAA, and this matter should serve as an ample reminder of the importance of preventing such lapses in the future.
Toward that end, Athletic Director Dick Dull has overseen significant efforts in Intercollegiate Athletics during the past year to address and solve the issues that he inherited upon his arrival in July 1999. One of the particularly important moves was the hiring in January of a new compliance coordinator in athletics. Mr. Darryl Pope, who had comparable experience at another NCAA Division I institution before coming to CSUN, will play a leading role in the university's future compliance efforts. Other steps already taken include updates for athletics boosters and all CSUN coaches on NCAA rules, newly issued procedures in athletics for reporting of any suspected violations, and improved fiscal controls.
Through the years, Cal State Northridge has had many athletic highlights with our students performing with great distinction on the fields, courts and other venues of competition. The completion of the NCAA enforcement process involving football has brought a measure of closure to the identified problems of the past. For the future, we now can and should focus on operating an intercollegiate athletic program in which student achievements once again hold the spotlight that they deserve.
Academy High School Public Forum
The university is continuing to work with the Los Angeles Unified School District on the district's proposal to build a special, small "academy" high school for 800 students on our Zelzah Court property, located along the west side of Zelzah Avenue near Halsted Street. This joint project promises to be an important educational opportunity for the university and its teacher preparation programs.
Members of the campus community interested in this project are invited to attend the school district's first public forum on the proposal this Monday, June 5, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Monroe High School in North Hills, 9229 Haskell Ave. The meeting will be the first formal opportunity for members of the public to ask questions and provide feedback that will help shape the project. Representatives of the university will be in attendance as well.
Since we first announced the project with the school district in mid-May, the LAUSD's approval process for pursuing new school projects has been revised as part of broader district reforms. Thus, instead of bringing the academy high school proposal to the Board of Education for initial review as previously had been announced, the district now plans to first establish a site committee of community members to review the proposal. Such committees, never before utilized by the district, will be the standard for future LAUSD school construction projects.
Academically, the school's main focus as an LAUSD academy would be on preparing students for future careers as teachers. The LAUSD uses the "academy" term to describe schools with special educational missions. As we have indicated before, the project would be the only LAUSD high school sited on a university campus and the first new LAUSD high school built in the San Fernando Valley in nearly 30 years. Unlike regular high schools, students would have to apply to attend and acceptance would be based on their motivation and ability to pursue higher education.
Before this academy high school can be built, it still will have to undergo an extensive environmental review and win approvals from the LAUSD Board of Education, the California State University system's Board of Trustees and the state Legislature. Through this process, Cal State Northridge will be looking to develop the best possible project with LAUSD. The university will be a physical neighbor and collaborator with the future school, meaning we will share a vested interest in its success. And, the school will advance Cal State Northridge's commitment to providing a quality education for young people in our community.
I am pleased to announce that Mr. Dick Tyler, the university's interim associate vice president for public relations and communications, has been named to serve in the additional role of interim vice president for university relations until a permanent vice president is chosen.
A public relations professional with more than 30 years experience in corporate and agency work, Mr. Tyler will assume the duties of Vice President Bill Outhouse. As was mentioned in the April 7 From the President's Desk, Vice President Outhouse announced in April that he was leaving at the end of June to take a new job in Arkansas. Mr. Outhouse has headed the University Relations Division as vice president since March 1998.
Mr. Tyler first returned to the university in mid-November to head the Public Relations Department. He also has a long history with the campus, having been a guest lecturer and, for more than a dozen years, taught the advanced public relations course in the Journalism Department.
In addition, several current interim appointments have been extended. Each appointment is effective through the fall 2000 semester or until permanent appointments are made in the respective positions.
These reappointments include Dr. Fred Strache as interim vice president for Student Affairs; Dr. William Toutant, interim dean, and Dr. Paul Krivonos, interim associate dean, for the College of Arts, Media and Communication; and Dr. Mary Shamrock, associate dean for the College of Health and Human Development.
These appointments are made in recognition of each individual's accomplishments and leadership at the university. I understand the unique challenges that interim appointments face and congratulate each of them on their appointment. I am grateful for their contributions and leadership during this transition process.
Honored Faculty Reception
In the last From the President's Desk, I mentioned that I was privileged to co-host the May 18 Honored Faculty Reception with Faculty President Albert Kinderman. At the reception, the university paid tribute to the more than 40 faculty who were granted emeritus status based on the recommendations of their colleagues. I also announced that this year's Outstanding Professor Award was presented to Dr. June Downing of the Special Education Department and that the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Equity and Diversity was given to Dr. Maria Elena Zavala of the Biology Department.
At the ceremony, other awards also were presented that merit recognition and congratulations: Dr. Edith Dimo of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures and Dr. Nancy Page Fernandez of History received Distinguished Teaching Awards; Dr. Louis Rubino of Health Sciences received the Advancement of Teaching Effectiveness Award; Dr. Stephanie Satie of English received the Creativity Award; and Dr. Anton Lowenberg of Economics received the Scholarly Publication Award. In addition, 17 faculty received recognition for completing 25 years of service in the CSU system.
My congratulations to everyone who was honored at the reception. It truly was a memorable occasion.
Awards for Public Relations
I am delighted to report that the university's Public Relations Department won several honors for its work at this year's awards competition of the Public Communicators of Los Angeles on May 16.
Northridge magazine won a first place award of excellence for a continuing external publication with a budget of $15,000 or greater produced by a nonprofit organization. CSUN Director of Publications Randy Thomson accepted the award. Mr. Thomson also won honorable mention recognition in the competition for photography/graphic illustration for his design of the CSUN Rising capital campaign logo.
A video profile of the CSUN Geography Department, produced last fall jointly by Public Affairs Director John Chandler and Mr. Tom Poehlmann in Creative Media Services, received honorable mention recognition in the competition for audiovisual materials.
These awards are the latest of a series recognizing the work of the CSUN Public Relations Department to have come from organizations such as PCLA and CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) in recent years. We should take great pride in the recognition the department has received for its work to create a strong identity for the university in the community.