The absence of any representatives of the UH Manoa campus on the committee screening candidates for head football coach seems to reflect confusion and potential conflict between different levels of UH administration in management of the athletic program, when viewed in light of a recently completed NCAA self-assessment.
The self-assessment was conducted by several committees between July 2010 and May 2011, and was required under NCAA rules.
The final version of the self-study is available online.
According to the report, Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw “has clear and direct oversight of the athletics program.”
Specific to the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Board of Regents policy states that the intercollegiate athletic program shall be administered by the Director of Athletics under the direction of the Chancellor. The Athletic Advisory Board shall serve as an advisory committee to the Chancellor and the Athletic Director of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and will be concerned essentially with broad general policies relative to the conduct of intercollegiate athletics. [Page 16]
However, the chancellor’s formal authority appears to conflict with a more active role being taken by UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. The report, in an understated list of planned areas of improvement, says the university needs to clarify the respective roles of the UH System, headed by Greenwood, and the Manoa Campus, under the direction of Chancellor Hinshaw.
A draft of the self-report by the committee reviewing athletic governance, obtained by iLind.net, provide additional details about the apparent conflict. The committee expressed “particular concern” over “the continued and growing involvement of system personnel in what is perceived to be campus level decision-making, management, and administration.”
According to the draft report:
There is uncertainty as to the role of President, Chancellor and system level administrators involved in significant decisions affecting athletics at UHM. While there is, apparently, shared responsibilities, the distinctions between campus level authorities, roles, and responsibilities versus those of the University of Hawaii system need clarification. This has been the case with major decisions such as changing conferences (leaving the Western Athletic Conference and joining the Mountain West and Big West conferences) as well as concerns such as the determination of academic good standing and issues regarding facilities, budgeting, and legislative matters affecting athletics at UHM. While we are fortunate to have talented and engaged leadership across the system and on campus, the lack of communication, discussion, deliberation and involvement of key campus constituencies as well as governance bodies on key decisions has been noted. There is a feeling that decisions have been made at the highest levels without the full benefit of faculty, staff, student, and constituency participation.
This critical language does not appear in the final report submitted to the NCAA, which instead stresses the authority of the Manoa chancellor. Whether the perceived intrusion of system-level administrators or other interested parties into the authority formally delegated to the Manoa Campus is an issue under NCAA rules isn’t clear.
Although the final self-study report stresses the participation by many campus constituencies, the rushed nature of key decision–from selection of the coach to leaving the Western Athletic Conference–have not involved those types of consultations or participation.
The committee questioned the manner in which the decision to leave the Western Athletic Conference was made without consultation with key campus constituencies.
Recently it was announced that the University would be joining the Mountain West (for football) and the Big West (for all other collegiate sports). Compared to the prospects of remaining with the Western Athletic Conference, this decision may be favorable. On the one hand, the outcome of the decision process may have been desirable. On the other hand, given the “crisis atmosphere,” the perception that the Western Athletic Conference was in trouble and the need to act quickly, there may not have been sufficient participation of key campus constituencies. Many on campus feel left out of the decision process. Many feel that the full benefits and costs of these significant changes have not been adequately conveyed. Many also feel that key opportunities for faculty, student, and administrative participation in this change were forgone for reasons of expedience. While the President, Chancellor, and Athletics Department Director were all involved in this decision, other campus constituencies were not. It should be noted that this change involve a significant transition – leaving the Western Athletic Conference and joining two new conferences (Mountain West and Big West) requiring the support and participation of both system and campus level administrators and staff.