This release is courtesy of the Division III Commisioners Association.
As sports organizations nationwide address the issues of recruitment, treatment, and quality of officiating, the Division III Commissioners Association today announced it is partnering with The PICTOR Group to conduct a comprehensive study of this vital element of the student-athlete experience. The announcement was made by Joe Onderko, Commissioner of the Presidents' Athletic Conference and President of the DIIICA, and Patrick B. Summers, Executive Director of the New England Men's and Women's Athletic Conference and Chair of the DIIICA's Officiating Subcommittee.
"We are pleased to begin our work with The PICTOR Group," Onderko said. "The DIIICA has discussed this topic for over a year. Patrick's leadership of the Officiating Subcommittee implemented the association's action plan, interviewed the outside-group candidates, and recommended The PICTOR Group to fill the consultant's role."
The subcommittee identified the desired outcome of this effort as "a strategic plan focusing the division on how to move forward in addressing what the commissioners believe is a crisis in officiating." A large majority of Division III conferences are contributing funds from the NCAA Division III Strategic Initiatives Grant to launch the five-year strategic plan. "We are very grateful to the NCAA for grant funding for this project and for all the other programming the grant provides to Division III conferences," added Onderko.
"The PICTOR Group is pleased to partner with the DIII Commissioners Association to address the growing concerns impacting NCAA officiating," said Cary Groth, Principal at The PICTOR Group. "We look forward to helping the DIIICA assess the current state of officiating in DIII and to facilitating the development of a strategic plan to address the critical areas of concern." Senior Partner Carolyn Schlie Femovich, 40 years an administrator in collegiate athletics, and Sandy Hatfield Clubb, with almost 30 years in the field, also will have heavy involvement with this project.
Among the research points of emphasis identified by the DIIICA Officiating Subcommittee are:
- Provide a strategy to coordinate national efforts with Division I, II, III, NCAA Office and other constituency groups.
- Examine potential barriers to becoming an official and direct impact of the reduction of interest in the profession.
- Conceptualize a national plan for recruiting of officials.
- Standardize minimum expectations for educational and training programs.
"We have reached a critical time in collegiate athletics where there are not enough officials to work our games and there are not enough new officials being trained to address the shortage," said Summers, who is also the Vice President of the DIIICA. "The Division III Commissioners Association is bringing this challenge to our membership and the NCAA because it is something we need to address collaboratively and across all three divisions. I invite leaders of sport at all levels to engage with our effort and charge to recruit new officials, to create greater awareness about officiating to the general public, and to address other barriers within the profession."
Phase One of the strategic plan is data collection that will produce a National Officiating Review document by mid-2020. The Pictor Group will work with a primary contact in each Division III conference office to gather data. Phase Two will produce a DIII Officiating Strategic Plan draft by September 2020 with an implementation goal of early 2021 through 2026.
Division III Commissioners Association: www.diiica.org > @DIIICommissioners
The PICTOR Group: www.thepictorgroup.com > @thepictorgroup