LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2011) − A specially formed committee of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees (BOT) today unanimously recommended that a new BOT committee on intercollegiate athletics be formed as part of its Governing Regulations.
The special committee, appointed several months ago by BOT Chairman Britt Brockman, also recommended that the UK Athletics Association Board of Directors consider dissolving itself. The UKAA board’s primary responsibility traditionally has been to approve the Athletics Association’s annual budget. That board would no longer be necessary once a BOT committee is formed, trustees said today.
The athletics association budget – a little more than $80 million this year – is part of the larger university budget of some $2.7 billion, which is approved by the UK Board of Trustees. In place of the UKAA Board, if it voted to dissolve, would be a newly created advisory committee to athletics, which could have a combination of people, including faculty and student representation, trustees said.
UK’s Athletics Department is one of only a handful in the country to be financially self-sufficient. Board members today also noted the department’s strong and outstanding record of compliance with NCAA rules.
The new BOT Athletics Committee would be composed of five members of the board of trustees, appointed by President Eli Capilouto in consultation with Board Chairman Britt Brockman, and community members to be named. The structure of such a committee would be similar to other BOT committees such as the University Healthcare committee, which oversees operations of UK Chandler Hospital, and the board’s Investment Committee.
Barbara Jones, UK’s legal counsel, said the NCAA expects the presidents of universities to maintain authority over the operation of athletics to ensure institutional compliance and accountability. That is why the president would appoint the board members to the new committee.
“Our desire is to be further committed to being a strong working part of the university community, and we are supportive of the structure being contemplated by the Board of Trustees,” said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. “We are certainly appreciative of all the members of the athletics board who have been so supportive of the growth of our department academically, financially and competitively over the last nine years.”
Since the creation of a new Athletics Committee involves a change to the university’s governing regulations, it will have to be voted on twice by the full UK Board of Trustees over the next several months. Moreover, Terry Mobley, the board member who chaired the special committee to consider changes to athletics oversight, said it would likely take months to formally dissolve the UKAA Board of Directors, if that step is taken.
The formal motions approved by the special committee include:
• Motion to draft a new Governing Regulation to create a new Athletics Committee to the Board of Trustees with community members that is comparable to the Health Care Committee, but the members of the committee are appointed by the President in consultation with the Board Chair.
• Motion for the UKAA Board of Directors to consider its dissolution and to re-form as an advisory group to the Athletics Director and President.