Community Interview: David Storm on what Title IX actually IS, weird compliance questions and more
We check in with an expert in athletic governance to learn a little more about the nitty gritty in running college athletics.
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Today I’m publishing our Community Interview with David Storm. David currently teaches Governance in College Athletics at Virginia, which I am told is a school of some renown. Prior to that, he worked as an Associate Athletic Director for my American Eagles. The interview below has been lightly edited for clarity and length:
Reader M.A. asks:
Title IX is often blamed for the loss of many men's "Olympic sports" to
accommodate for football scholarships. Is there any kind of reform that could help re-establish some of these programs, without damaging Title IX?
Storm: I think nearly all are in agreement that it’s rarely Title IX that guts men’s sports, it’s budgets. There’s a school of thought that if you make all sports equivalency sports and can combine athletic and non-athletic aid, that would open athletic scholarship dollars and opportunities. There’s also the pipe dream of the USOC helping fund men’s and women’s programs (swimming & track for both genders) that can provide scholarships and opportunities.
Reader M.A also asks:
If you were given the opportunity write Title IX 2.0, what sorts of changes would you want to make?
Storm: If we’re working off the premise of making sure opportunities are plentiful and equitable for everyone, you have to provide a funding mechanism for women’s opportunities and experiences. College football has been around over 150 years, been big business for over 100 years, and shows no signs of slowing down. Title IX was passed in 1972. How can you make that equitable when football has a nearly 110-year head start? You need to give women’s sports a boost to account for the reality that is college football.
Reader Craig wonders:
What did you think about the Knight Commission's recent proposal? I
know Matt wasn't impressed, but what did you think?
Storm: The Commission was right that the NCAA has abdicated when it comes to running FBS football. Like much of college sports (amateurism being the biggest), the bowl games and the postseason are a historical anomaly. If the NCAA is responsible for football, it needs to be responsible for the postseason. Spinning off FBS football just means compliance officials need to learn another set of governing body rules or a football rules compliance staff would need to be hired.
The bigger question about the governance structure is a good one though. Basically, the Commission is calling the P5’s bluff, which seems to be “if you regulate football, we’ll leave and take everything.” But they don’t want to do that, they don’t want to set up an entire system for all the other sports when one already exists. I’d be curious if nonpower 5 conferences and schools decided to call the bluff what would happen!
Reader D.B asks:
Considering the important dependence of compliance departments for external information being shared with them willingly, either from coaches in regard to recruiting practices or from other institutions regarding transfers for example, what legal responsibility does it have when an unexpected NCAA violation is found out or when a more important issue arises, such as with the example of a sexual assault case from an athlete who transferred from another institution with prior convictions?
Storm: Any good contract from a compliance standpoint should require full and complete cooperation with any internal or external investigation, failure to do that would be grounds for termination “for cause.”
That requires buy-in from the institutional head and Director of Athletics. Coaches need to do their due diligence when recruiting anyone. So do institutions when they’re hiring for coaches or administrators. Sometimes that diligence is as simple as an internet search, other times you may need to search a database that contains that type of information. LexisNexis, my full-time employer and a resource that many colleges and universities have access to, aggregates that type of information. Some schools ask incoming athletes to disclose arrests and convictions, but I’m not sure the level of follow-up they do. Schools and individuals that fail to do that due diligence open themselves up to liability.
Reader Scott asks:
What do you think, generally, is the biggest media misconception
about day to day athletic operations?
Storm: That every day is a competition. So many times we’re cooperating across schools and across conferences to make things happen. So when that cooperation becomes public (see Stanford Basketball camping out at UNC), it’s like the most amazing thing. But things like that happen way more often than you’d think.
Reader Matt Brown wants to know:
What developments in college athletic administration over the last few years have left you most optimistic for the future? A lot of what we discuss here feels a little pessimistic.
Storm: I think NIL developments are great. I think athletes going viral in sports other than football and basketball are great. Kaitlyn Ohashi should have been able to cash in. How great would it have been if Katie Ledecky had been a collegiate swimmer for four years? I think seeing Black women leading P5 programs is great (UGA, keep your hands of Dr. Carla Williams! We really appreciate her here at UVA!). In general, I also like league networks that can give attention to sports that don’t always get the coverage.
Reader Matt Brown wonders:
What's the weirdest compliance question you ever had to answer?
Storm: A restaurant in Delaware wanted to do a promotion using a Virginia Basketball player’s mother during the early 2000s, not a stellar time in UVA basketball history. Delaware is also not in Virginia.
Reader Matt Brown also asks:
As a former American Eagle myself (I was there from 2005-2006 before transferring to Ohio State), I have to wonder...do you think the school benefitted by jumping to D-1? What, broadly. should a fan of a Patriot League type school expect out of their athletic
Storm: AU jumped to D-I back in 1973 after a lot of lower-level success. They were in the ECAC South which became the CAA in 1985 and then made the move to the Patriot League. It’s funny that you ask, because I wrote what I think was a five-page memo detailing why the move to the Patriot League was wrong. I somehow thought AU could compete with huge state schools like ECU and JMU regularly back then!
It goes back to wanting to compete at the highest level. But look at the schools in the Patriot League at the time: Lehigh, Lafayette, Bucknell, Colgate. They’re AU’s peers in a number of ways, more than JMU, ECU, W&M, and ODU were.
AU I think is a great example of what non-football playing or Patriot League schools can be. Barry Goldberg has been winning volleyball titles forever and has won NCAA tournament games. Steve Jennings is a world-class field hockey coach who gets teams to the NCAA tournament consistently. AU Men’s Soccer made the Sweet 16 out of the Patriot League, and Megan Gebbia has women’s basketball positioned for good things. The occasionally national champion in an individual sport (wrestling, swimming, track) is within reach. AU’s in a tough spot because it’s in DC competing with GW and Georgetown in many sports, but it’s international reputation and ability in providing them a great education in a world capital opens doors to recruits the world over.
Thanks again to David for hanging around with us and answering some of our questions. If you have additional questions for Dr.Popp about anything ticketing related, drop a comment below, send me a tweet, an email, or a Discord ping, and I’ll make sure they get sent over.
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