20, No. 8, Oct. 19, 2000
Big Ten reps serve as liaisons,
Mabry, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bill Wiegand
Rose Mary Cordova-Wentling
and Fred Delcomyn are the two UI faculty representatives to the Big
Ten, roles that carry many responsibilities and a heavy commitment of
Cordova-Wentlings appointment became effective in August, and
Delcomyn was named to the position last year. The previous faculty representatives
were David Chicoine, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and
Environmental Sciences, and Mildred Griggs, who recently retired as
dean of the College of Education.
Cordova-Wentling is a professor of human resources education and coordinator
of the Human Resource Development Program; Delcomyn has a joint appointment
as professor of entomology and of molecular and integrative physiology.
He also is director of the School of Integrative Biology.
The responsibilities of the faculty reps are little known, even among
university faculty members, Delcomyn said.
by Bill Wiegand
One of their primary
responsibilities is to serve as liaisons between the NCAA and the campus.
They also serve as liaisons between the Big Ten Conference and campus.
"So any formal communications between the campus and the NCAA (or
Big Ten) goes through the faculty reps," Delcomyn said. "If
there are petitions for exemptions to rules, such as student medical
waivers, those petitions would have been filed by either Rose Mary or
They attend frequent meetings with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics
and within the Big Ten and NCAA, and serve on several committees for
each organization, according to Cordova-Wentling. They are responsible
for certifying the eligibility of student athletes and reporting violations
of all Big Ten rules and NCAA bylaws as required by NCAA.
Faculty members fill these positions as go-betweens to the NCAA and
Big Ten to ensure that athletics on campus remains under faculty control,
"The athletic department is not supposed to be an organization
that runs and polices itself," Delcomyn said. "Its supposed
to be under faculty control. Thats why theres a majority
of faculty on the athletic board and thats why there are faculty
representatives to the Big Ten and NCAA."
The athletic board Delcomyn referred to is a committee of the faculty-student
senate that oversees all operations in the Division of Intercollegiate
Athletics. Ron Guenther is director of athletics, and in many functions
the athletic board is advisory to him. But the athletic board also has
statutory authority. The athletic board is empowered to deal with issues
of students academic progress and eligibility and a sub-committee
monitors the academic progress of all athletes on campus.
Faculty members of the athletic board are nominated in the senate and
the chancellor picks from among those nominees to fill the positions.
The chancellor also selects the two faculty representatives from throughout
The responsibilities of Delcomyn and Cordova-Wentling outweigh most
faculty committee work, they agreed.
"Its a very big commitment," Cordova-Wentling said.
"I looked back at my calendar in September, and I think I had something
almost every day of the month meetings to go to or letters to
write or signing eligibility lists for athletes. It takes a lot of time.
And it is a big responsibility."
They attend four Big Ten meetings a year, and the annual meeting of
the Faculty Athletic Representatives Association. They also frequently
attend sporting events and even travel to bowl games and tournaments
"These are opportunities for us to meet coaches on a more personal
level," Delcomyn said. "When issues come up it always helps
to know the individuals what their values are, what their issues
are and how you can talk with them.
"I will say that one of the reasons I agreed to accept this position
is because I have the highest regard for Ron Guenther," Delcomyn
said. "I dont think theres a better athletic director
in the United States."
"And that makes our jobs a lot easier," Cordova-Wentling said.
"What hes done is bring in coaches that really are interested
in the academic success of the athletes. Its not just lip service."
Both Delcomyn and Cordova-Wentling participated in college athletics.
He ran track and field and cross-country and she was in competitive
gymnastics. They have maintained an interest in sports too. But more
important, they said, they are committed to academics and seeing that
the athletes abide by the academic standards.
"You need a love for sports and academics," Cordova-Wentling
said. "If youre just a sports fan, then this is not an appropriate
role for you. You have to love both and understand how they are interrelated."
The two can serve as faculty representatives for up to 10 years. The
chancellor asked that they make a commitment of at least three years.
"It takes a while to be a full contributor," Cordova-Wentling
said. She attended meetings and conferences for eight months prior to
assuming the position as a way to "apprentice" for the position.
Delcomyn said in his first year hes learned there is an enormous
amount of misinformation about athletics and the university and the
relationship between the two.
He cited, for example, letters to the editor in the local newspaper
that complained about the university spending money on the new indoor
football practice facility, rather than the library. He pointed out
the football building was built with private donations.
"State dollars dont go toward that sort of thing," he
said. "They dont go toward Ron Guenthers salary, or
any of the high-profile, high-salaried individuals in the major sports.
None of that money comes from state funds."
He also wishes more faculty members had a better understanding and attitude
toward college athletics. Some faculty, he said, have a misconception
based on half-a-dozen cases of high profile athletes in football or
mens basketball who misbehaved or who werent accomplished
"They are ignoring the 95 percent of the athletes who do well,
the 95 percent who do graduate," Delcomyn said. "There are
people like Josh Whitman, the starting tight end on the football team,
whos an engineering major and carrying a very high GPA. If you
mention him, they will say thats an anomaly. But its the
problem cases that are the anomalies. There are whole teams of athletes
that have GPAs better than 3.2," he said.
Anyone with concerns or questions about athletics at the UI can contact
the faculty athletic representatives at email@example.com