INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETIC

COMMITTEE MEETING

March 25, 2004

 

ATTENDING:  Charlie Bridgeford, Jared Bruggeman, Judy DeMers, Ray Diez, Lillian Elsinga, Phil Harmeson, Gina Hendrickson, Susan Nelson, Lowell Schweigert, John Sirignano, Paul Todhunter

 

Recorder:  Bev Hopman

 

Judy DeMers, acting chair, called the meeting to order at 3:09 p.m. in the Pembina Room of Memorial Union.

 

Minutes: Ray Diez moved that the minutes from the February 26, 2004, meeting be approved.  Charlie Bridgeford seconded.  Motion carried.  Lillian Elsinga moved that the minutes from the February 6 special meeting with President Kupchella be approved.  Ray Diez seconded.  Charlie Bridgeford said he was not present at that meeting and made an amendment to remove his name.  The minutes were approved as amended.  

 

Letterwinners:  Charlie Bridgeford moved that the student-athletics in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and women’s hockey recommended as letterwinners by their head coaches be approved.  Ray Diez seconded.  Motion carried.  A list of letterwinners is attached. 

 

Athletes and Academics:  Jared Bruggeman said student-athletes are experiencing increased problems with their professors when they miss classes for athletic travel.  They are receiving zeros in quizzes and tests.  He distributed a handout that included copies of e-mail correspondence both received and sent on this issue.  Lillian Elsinga said that at one time there was some unethical behavior within athletics which created problems.  She stated that the coaches responsible are no longer with UND.  Charlie Bridgeford asked what policy is in place for students in other activities, such as music.  There currently is no campus-wide policy.  Susan Nelson said that if one of her students misses a regular exam, she will make alternate arrangements with that student to take the test.  She administers five quizzes a semester and allows her students to drop one.  The first quiz they miss counts as the drop.  If they miss a second quiz for the same reason, she works that out on an individual basis with each student.  Gina Hendrickson said, as a student-athlete, she has her travel schedule well in advance and works with her professors to take tests before she leaves.  Ray Diez said that is the most important step a student-athlete can take – to give the professor a month or two advance notice.  Paul Todhunter said the Athletic Department and the student-athletes do a good job of keeping instructors informed and said the IAC should support them.  He asked what it would take to put a campus-wide policy in place.  Judy DeMers suggested this issue could be discussed at University Senate during the open discussion period.  Ray Diez said he would introduce the topic at Senate.  Phil Harmeson said to make sure the discussion is not limited to just athletics but also includes academics, Greek organizations, music, etc.  Judy DeMers and Lillian Elsinga will bring the issue forward at Dean’s Council.  If problems continue, Lillian Elsinga recommended that students and/or Jared Bruggeman contact the academic dean.  John Sirignano said the issue with aviation students is somewhat different, that it is an economic issue, and that student-athletes may need to revise their class schedules during their sports season.  This item will be addressed again at the next IAC meeting.

 

In a related issue, Phil Harmeson displayed a stack of student-athlete deficiency reports.  He said the coaches work with the student-athletes to bring their grades up, but wanted the committee to know that some problems still exist.

 

Fan Behavior:  After the special IAC meeting with President Kupchella, Lillian Elsinga and Jared Bruggeman met regarding fan behavior.  Lillian Elsinga said the Dean of Students Office has one hour each day to talk with students during the Getting Started Program.  Fan expectations will be one of the areas discussed.  She felt a copy of Roger Thomas’ letter to the student season ticket holders could be included in their Getting Started packet and they are exploring the option of having cheer team members work with the freshman.  A copy of the Thomas letter is attached. 

 

Both the Dean of Student’s Office and the Athletic Department have ordered copies of the book Fan Etiquette.  Judy DeMers felt the fan behavior was better at the last few home hockey games, but said some of the students felt the handout was threatening.  Lowell Schweigert said he did not feel the tone of the letter was threatening, that game management staff has to be in charge.  Gina Hendrickson reported that some students she spoke with were upset by the letter, but she discussed it with them and tried to point out the other side.  Lillian Elsinga suggested Mike Stromberg from Engelstad Arena could be contacted about providing additional training for his security staff to teach them effective methods when confronting troublemakers.

 

Ray Diez asked if any fan related fights have been reported on UND properties.  No one on the committee was aware of any locally.  Phil Harmeson reported that an assault occurred and charges were filed at the Final Five in St. Paul.  Lillian Elsinga reported that coaches’ families have had their cars surrounded and have felt threatened by fans in Fargo.  Phil Harmeson said President Kupchella is appointing a task force on fan behavior. 

 

Other Business:  Jared Bruggeman said the Athletic Office is working with the Dean of Student’s Office and Christus Rex to plan a memorial service for Kayla Thompson, a cheer leader killed in an automobile accident.  Jerry Bulisco, Associate Dean of Students,  is the main contact. 

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:05 p.m.  The next meeting is April 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Physical Therapy Conference Room (room 1537) of the Medical School.

 

 

 

The following student-athletes have been recommended by their coaches to be awarded letters for participating in the following sports for the 2004 winter sports season:

 

Women’s Basketball, Head Coach – Gene Roebuck

Boese, Kristi                          Demaine, Cara                                 Glick, Jami

Glynn, Megan             Hausauer, Chelsea                           Jahner, Carissa

Leighton, Marisa                   Maffin, Kelsey                                    Mahlum, Amy

Perrizo, Mary                        

 

Men’s Swimming and Diving, Head Coach – Maviael Sampaio

Brand, Andrew                      Breitstein, Mike                                 Burrow, John

Mraule, Jason                        O’Brien, Jordan                                 Peters, Jared

Schneider, Jeff                      Swanholm, Ben                                 Taylor, Sam

Baarlaer, Lucas                     Chamberlain, Kevin                          Glumack, Nicholas

Hansen, Dan                          Stanback, Brian                                Ziegler, James

Alves, Fernando                    Burckhard, Andy                                Cintra, Rodrigo

Moseley, Kasey                     Andersson, Sebastian                      Hahn, Mike

Henderson, Don

 

Women’s Swimming and Diving, Head Coach – Maviael Sampaio

Bentz, Kari                             Chmielewski, Katie                           Gordon, Rachel

Johnson, Melissa                  Lindsey, Christi                                 Merisalu, Mare

Mickelson, Lauren                 Riggs, Trisha                                     Uvaas, Kayley

Bachmeier, Jenny                 Dorsher, Madonna                           

Goens, Dana                         Halstrom, Karla                                 Holmquist, Abby

Mertanen, Emma                  Nolz, Kari                                           Peterson, Sabrina

Harlan, Sara                          Karner, Kelsey                                   Richmire, Sara

Wallick, Lindsey                    Warner, Katie                                    Holth, Janice

Kohlhof, Elisabeth                 Portelance, Jenna

 

Men’s Basketball, Head Coach – Rich Glas

Bradley, Steven                     Dahl, Dan                                           Jacobson, Adam

Jahner, Jade                          Johnson, Michael                              Lindahl, Evan

Rypkema, Todd

 

Women’s Hockey, Head Coach – Shantel Rivard

Bakhit, Anastasia                  Connelly, Sarah                                 Dusich, Rachel

Fingland, Devon                    Funk, Elizabeth                                  Gagnon-LaPlante, Alexia

Girtz, Anne                             Hangsleben, Marissa                       Hasbargen, Amber

Hinkley, Margaret-Ann          Hopps, Meghan                                 Kovacevich, Jessica

Mutrie, Meghan                     Nelson, Meaghan                              Strong, Abbey                      

White, Sherrie                       Yorga, Amber

 

 

 

Letter to Students – February 12, 2004

 

 

 

I have been thinking of writing and expressing my feelings since I returned from Florence, Alabama, and the national championship football game.  The comments from President Kupchella and his desire to improve conduct at UND athletic events make it imperative that I write these comments now.  Let me start by saying I am so proud of the majority of our fans and students and truly enjoy the many compliments given the crowd support our teams are so fortunate to receive.  We are all very lucky to have so many championship level teams to support and to have the chance to watch our great athletes perform.  In many ways, others envy our teams’ facilities and successes.  I also want to sincerely thank all of you for the dramatic change in the “standing” issue at our hockey games.  We should be proud that we worked together to settle this issue so all attending can enjoy the game while continuing to give our hockey team great support.  My hope is we can find a similar solution to the language issues at the games.

 

Let me back up to the football season and explain what occurred.  We received severe criticism of the language used by our students and other fans during the playoff games in the Alerus.  The accusations came from opposing players and coaches, administrators, parents, fans, security personnel, radio and TV staff and the NCAA organization.  We were accused of profane, sexist and racial comments.  The number of complaints far outnumbered any other series of games as far back as I can remember.  One of the things to bear in mind is some of the people complaining are the ones that have the authority to award home games, playoff berths, regional game sites and national championship venues.  For me, the lowest moment came just minutes before the championship football game started and I was called to the field where the NCAA and ESPN officials were irate at the language and conduct of our students and fans near the front rows and wanted to move some camera and microphone locations for fear of the profane language going out as part of the game broadcast.  I was asked to go plead with that group to stop.  I think it’s fair to say I was embarrassed for our great school and for such a great team to have come this far just to have game officials to shake their heads and act like they didn’t want us to be there. 

 

Here are samples of what I hear or maybe what you are thinking right now.  It’s bad everywhere… That’s just the way it is…  It doesn’t hurt anybody...  I use that language everyday, so what’s the big deal… Don’t just pick on the students, other fans do the same thing…  I was at ______ games and it’s much worse there  than at UND…  If we all yell it, they can’t throw us all out…  It’s tradition…  It helps our team…  It intimidates an opponent…These profane words are accepted in student culture today.”  And so on.

 

Let me make something clear here.  I am writing this to you due to the fact you are one of the key student hockey fans sitting in the lower bowl.  You waited in line and bought a season ticket just so you could be there all year to support and enjoy UND hockey.  This is not just a student issue.  We are going to work harder to enforce the language/conduct question for all fans.  Yes, other fans swear and exhibit poor conduct and we plan to enforce improved conduct in those seating areas, too.  The fact is, we have removed and not allowed them to return at later dates more non-student fans than students.  As you know, we read a statement about language and conduct before each game and it’s written on tickets and you, as a student season ticket holder, signed an agreement.  The main difference between you and other fans is that they do not have traditional group cheers that contain profane language.  This is why I am writing to you specifically. 

 

I have been involved in sports my entire life.  I must admit when I was coaching and stood on a football sideline, I thought many times, what allows that fan to yell profanities at me just because I am coaching an opposing team?  Would that fan ever call me that to my face or would they yell that at me if I were sitting at a table next to them in a restaurant?  At times, my son was on the sideline with me.  How do I explain that to him?  What about the kids who attend the games now?  What do those parents do?  I have thought of all of you a few years from now as you return to UND and take your young family to a hockey or football game.  What would you say to your kids?  How do I respond to our fans, literally all around the world, listening or watching on radio, TV or via web cast, who can hear those profane cheers?  I am all about tradition.  Traditions start somewhere and end somewhere.  I think you know where I am going with this.  We are talking about a handful of profane group cheers.  These few cheers stand in the way of all of you being considered one of the best if not the best student fan section in all of college hockey.  Could we do it?  Could we be more inventive, not profane and make a name for UND students nationally? 

 

As far as I know, you don’t have a specific leader who starts or stops these cheers.  I think you all need to talk it over and see if this makes sense.  I am asking you to talk to those who sit around you and see if you can make a decision to start something new and eliminate the objectionable cheers.  Please don’t view this with the argument that I am trying to restrict your right to free speech or the argument that I am just some administrator trying to use my authority to tell you what to do.  I have heard this before.  What I am doing is appealing to your common sense, school spirit and pride.  We only have a few hockey games left and hopefully some playoff games.  Can we help our teams drive to a WCHA championship?  Can we be louder than ever, more creative than ever, more supportive than ever and not let this issue be a negative distraction?

 

On behalf of the Athletic Department, I want to thank you again for all the support.  We have great facilities, great teams, a great university and great fan support.   We have world class electronic capabilities at your disposal to create new traditions.  All I can do is ask for your help on this issue.  None of us in athletics wants to be put in a position to enforce misconduct and language problems.  I personally don’t want that.  But be assured, we will enforce change where needed and hopefully you will not be one of those paying the price.  This issue needs resolution.  Please think about it, discuss it and let’s find a way to make UND’s student section the greatest, most creative, championship style group in the entire nation.

 

GO SIOUX!

 

 

 

Roger Thomas

Athletic Director