Athletic Committee FY2020

Athletic Committee FY2020


Athletic Committee


Standing Committees of the University Senate


This committee serves as the link between governance and athletics programs at KU, and works with athletic corporation to promote the educational experience of student athletes, to support compliance with NCAA requirements, and to address other issues of interest to faculty, students, and staff in relation to athletic programs at KU.

The Athletic Committee shall be composed of six faculty members serving staggered three-year terms beginning July 1, four student members, and three representatives from the staff appointed in accordance with the rules and regulations of their respective governance bodies. The NCAA Faculty Representative and the Associate Director of Athletics for Student Athletic Support Services will serve in an ex-officio capacity as non-voting members. The six faculty and four student members shall also simultaneously fill the terms of the specified faculty and student members of the Athletics Advisory Committee. The six faculty members shall be appointed by FacEx in accordance with Article VII, section 3 of the University Senate Code. Two student members shall be nominated by the Student Body President and confirmed by the Student Senate for two-year overlapping terms. One student member shall be elected by the Student Senate University Affairs Committee for a one-year term, and one student shall be appointed by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for a one-year term.


Chair: Susan Twombly, Education (2021)
Faculty: Jordan Bass (2022)
Faculty: Shawn Alexander, African/African Amer. Studies (2020)
Faculty: Ashley Herda, HSES (2020)
Faculty: Jerry Crawford, Journalism (2022)
Faculty: Derek Reed, ABS, (2021)
Staff: Heather Abernathy, Engineering Administration (2022)
Staff: Liz Phillips, Office Public Safety (2021)
Staff: Michelle Ginavan Hayes, SSC Director (2020)
Voting, Student: Tiara Floyd
Voting, Graduate Student: Chris Brown
Student: Student Senate University Affairs Committee: TBD
Student: Appointed by Student Athlete Advisory Committee: TBD

Ex-Officio (non-voting):
Susan Stagg-Williams, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, Faculty Representative
Paul Buskirk, Assoc. AD, Student Athlete Support Services


Approved by SenEx: May 28, 2019
Approved by University Senate:  September 12, 2019

For further information or to schedule a meeting with SenEx to discuss charges or the committee’s work, contact SenEx Chair Suzanne Valdez.

  • Minutes of each meeting should be e-mailed to the Governance Office ( as they are approved.  The minutes will be posted to the Governance web site .
  • If the committee is recommending a change to university policy or rules, SenEx must officially receive that recommendation by March 24, 2020 in order to meet timeline requirements for full review by Governance.
  • Please send a report of the committee’s actions on each of the charges, as well as any recommendations the committee wishes to make concerning charges or membership for the following academic year, to University Governance, at, and submit the final report by April 17, 2020.

Standing charges:

  1.  Review KU and Kansas Athletics Inc. (KAI) efforts to promote and maintain academic excellence for the student athletes.
    1. Identify potential academic barriers and recommend mechanisms to overcome such barriers including collaboration with the student athlete academic support services.
    2. Review current-year data on missed class days due to competition and travel
    3. Review the following KAI academic reports: Spring and Fall Student-Athlete Grade Summary, NCAA Academic Progress Rate Institutional Report, Graduation Rates and the KAI report on academic majors for student-athletes and non-athletes
    4. Review the effects of university changes regarding core requirements, majors, minors, certificates or other curricular issues.
  2. Review KU and KAI efforts to provide a premier student athlete experience.
    1. Review programs designed to ensure the personal development and personal welfare of student athletes including: nutrition and physical health, mental health, and safety.
    2. Review reports from KAI exit-interviews and KAI survey questions regarding participation in the broader campus community.
    3. Review Student Athlete Advisory Committee programs and recommend opportunities to improve student athlete involvement in extracurricular campus and community activities.
  3. Help ensure KU maintains athletic compliance with University, Big XII and NCAA rules and Federal law.
    1. Review educational programs and communication strategies to ensure the KU community better understands the combined responsibility for compliance.
    2. Review and summarize KAI reports identifying athletic compliance parameters including but not limited to recruiting practices and university admissions.
    3. Review KU and KAI policies and procedures on drug testing, diversity and sexual harassment including Title IX compliance, and alcohol use in matters of sexual assault reporting.
  4. Help ensure KU meets its strategic goals pertaining to athletics.
    1. Recommend educational programs and communication strategies to enhance the balance between academics and athletics, as well as to promote a broad understanding of the goals and priorities of each. 
    2. Recommend mechanisms for improved communication between KAI coaches and staff and KU faculty, staff and students
    3. Maintain regular communications with the NCAA/Big XII Faculty Representative, the Athletics Advisory Committee (AAC), KAI and University Governance to ensure the needs of each are being served.


Specific charges:

  1. Prepare a budget analysis on the Kansas Athletics Inc. FY2020 budget.
  2. Monitor, and react if necessary and within the scope of its responsibility, to current proposals by NCAA with respect to academic misconduct.
  3. The number of transfer athletes, particularly into the football program. Many of these students struggle academically and require substantial academic support.
  4.  Increasing popularity among student athletes of the general degree in Liberal Arts and Science. For example, a total of 15 student athletes were identified as pursuing this degree in Fall 2013. This number had nearly tripled to 42 in Fall of 2017. Fully 40% of the total general LA&S degree seekers in Fall 2017 were athletes. Although this degree provides flexibility for student athletes, especially transfers, a concern was noted about whether this generic degree provides “career value” for athletes.
  5. The experience of student athletes, KAI staff, and faculty with online courses and degrees.

Final Report:

Final Report (PDF)