The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its Blue Ribbon Tips series with insight from Pegjohny Moses, Delaware State University Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations. A Blue Ribbon Tips post contains athletically-related best practices, strategies and tips for administrators from NCAA member institutions and other higher-education professionals.
Ms. Moses highlighted several issues that she believes will be important for athletics programs to consider in the immediate future:
- Technology: Institutions need to “look out for student-athlete welfare” by “helping student-athletes deal with technology appropriately”. The “attitude with student-athletes these days about owing” technological devices (e.g., smart phones) and sites (social-media sites), “but it is a privilege”. Athletics departments should instruct student-athletes when it is necessary to “turn it off, tune it out”, as well as “caution student-athletes about what they are putting out on the Internet” and “filter what you are saying” since “it will be out there forever”. Further, administrators and coaches need to do a better job of recognizing that “kids do not get a break” and advising student-athletes “you need a break, turn [technology] off”.
- Multi-year scholarships: The institution’s “student-athletes were against the legislation because it doesn’t keep them hungry”. In other words, institutions will have to ponder “how to keep student-athletes motivated to earn what they get”. Further, “anything concerning giving extra money on top of what is already provided to student-athletes serves to make the divide bigger between Division I schools”.
- Issues impacting “smaller” Division I schools: Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and limited-resource institutions were “finally getting to meet APR standards, then the NCAA raises the bar. This approach “seems a little unfair to coaches” at HBCUs and limited-resource institutions who worked hard to raise the APR scores to the old level, “then they will get penalized because they are not at new standards”. This will cause “some coaches to become frustrated”. Overall, for “HBCUs and limited-resources institutions, it is a challenge to keep up” with the changing APR minimum standards.
- Athletics compliance: “If compliance is the number one focus”, then institutions should invest in resources for the athletics compliance office. For example, institutions should be “talking about using software”, staff size (i.e., “having the right number of personnel” and monitoring. University administrators who boast about their commitment to compliance need to be “walking the walk”. An athletics compliance office should be staffed with “at least one employee for every hundred student-athletes”.
Finally, Ms. Moses offers the following best practices for athletics programs:
- “Hiring the necessary help in compliance.”
- “Pay the compliance officers a commensurate rate.”
- “Do a better job of hiring coaches”. Institutions should be mindful when it hires coaches from Division II or III schools because it “makes [compliance officers’] job harder” because of the “basic stuff” that has to be reviewed with new employees from non-Division I schools. Likewise, it is best to “hire coaches with a general understanding of the rules”.
- The athletics department should have a “good working relationship with other campus units”.
- University employees should be reminded “we are all in it together—it is not us against them, we are all” members of the university family.
- Senior campus and athletics administrators need to “do a better job getting to know the student-athletes”.
Pegjohny Moses Biography
Pegjohngy Moses is entering her fifth season at Delaware State. She is responsible for athletics compliance, eligibility and student welfare.
Prior to her DSU appointment, Moses was assistant athletic director for compliance and senior woman administrator at the University of Texas-Pan American for four years.
Moses has also served in collegiate athletics compliance at Tennessee-Chattanooga, Central Florida, Cornell and Brown.
A native of Goldsboro, N.C., Moses earned a bachelor’s in political science/history from Duke University and law degree from Tulane