March 7, 2012
Von Mansfield, Wisconsin
While attending the University of Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the classroom and on the football field. Having completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wisconsin afforded me career choices that would not have otherwise been possible. I attribute my success as the current Superintendent of Homewood-Flossmoor High School and as a former professional athlete in the NFL, to the lessons and experiences given to me as a Big Ten student-athlete.
In an effort to pay it forward, I am proud to serve on the Big Ten Advisory Commission. During the course of my tenure, I have come to appreciate the magnitude of the Commission’s work and mission. The recommendations made by the Commission — and later adopted by the Big Ten — have had a profound and positive impact on African-American athletes. Most importantly, however, is the fact that these same recommendations have greatly improved the student-athlete experience for all Big Ten athletes without regard to their ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender or sexual orientation. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Advisory Commission, a special thank you is extended to Big Ten Commissioner James Delany and Associate Commissioner Andrea Williams for their unwavering leadership that has set the bar for all other NCAA member conferences to follow.
As the Advisory Commission representative from the University of Wisconsin, I have the pleasure of working with Hall of Fame Athletic Director Barry Alvarez and his staff. Barry has been instrumental in developing a number of best practices that fully embrace the ideology of the Advisory Commission. In 2010, the Diversity and Inclusion Program within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Wisconsin was established. This initiative increased the qualitative campus experience for all student-athletes and staff by coordinating and addressing inclusion efforts within the department of Intercollegiate Athletics, while striving to meet campus benchmarks in diversity.
It gives me great pride to see the Advisory Commission’s work come to fruition. Most notably has been the recommendation to create an internship program to help bolster the pool of African-American candidates with Collegiate Athletic Administrative experience. Former football player Prince Moody is a prime example of how this program has been successful. He is currently showing great promise as a future leader in athletic administration, coordinating and chairing several key programs within the athletic department. The Commission has also worked to revise the current survey instrument used to generate data from Big Ten student-athletes on their collegiate experiences as a student-athlete. The information garnered from the revised survey has yielded a rich data pool that has become the catalyst for future recommendations. All of which are designed to increase the likelihood and ability of all student athletes to graduate with a degree from their respective Big Ten institution.
I am confident that the Advisory Commission — as it heads into its fourth decade — will continue to be a positive, guiding force for the Big Ten and for its multitalented student-athletes. I am proud to be a part of this fine organization.