Wednesday marked the first meeting of the new school year for the Kansas Athletics, Inc. Board of Directors. Fittingly, it was not unlike the first day of classes.
The meeting began with board members introducing themselves to the rest of the group, even though all but one served on the board last year. Even the newcomer, student body president Libby Johnson, was a familiar face, as she sat in on the final quarterly meeting of the 2010-11 school year.
Once introductions were made, Judy Pottorff, corporate counsel, handed out the board’s version of a syllabus. In this case, the packet of paperwork included general annual housekeeping items such as conflict of interest forms required by the IRS and the code of ethical conduct forms required by NCAA certification.
At that point, the meeting began to more resemble what these things are all about. Policies were discussed, plans were formulated and agenda items were voted upon.
Few of the things discussed on Wednesday will have a major impact on the way KAI conducts its business, but one of the biggest changes comes in the department formerly known as the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. At the final meeting of 2010-11, the board elected to rename the committee to better illustrate its purpose, which now that the chancellor serves on the board, is to work more closely with the athletic director. That name, the Athletics’ Advisory Committee, was unveiled Wednesday and board member Jerry Bailey, the director of educational leadership and policy studies in KU’s school of education, was appointed as its chair for the upcoming year. After the board voted to accept Bailey’s nomination, chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little thanked Bailey for his willingness to chair such an important committee. Bailey then requested that KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger reveal his likes and dislikes about the committee.
“I had a similar committee at (Illinois State),” Zenger said. “And I think it’s one that will continue to evolve over time. But I like the make-up of the group and their enthusiasm.”
Gray-Little whole-heartedly agreed.
“I don’t know if I know of any other group where people are as happy to be involved,” she said.
In other news at Tuesday’s meeting:
l Zenger updated the board on the status of the Big 12 Conference, which, once again, is in limbo while waiting to see what action, if any, Texas A&M takes regarding its flirtation with the SEC. Zenger, who met with the other eight Big 12 ADs in Dallas on Monday, said the league remained strong and was waiting on the Aggies to make their move. “The nine schools remain committed to this conference,” Zenger said. “And one school has some decisions to make. We continue to meet and discuss things, both in person and by telephone
l The board approved a name change for the facility that houses the KU tennis programs. Previously known as the Jayhawk Tennis Facility, the venue now will be known as the Jayhawk Tennis Center, a move that already is reflected on the sign. “They just thought that ‘Center’ was more reflective of what they’re trying to do down there,” Pottorff said.