From controversial phone conversations with recruits to academic violations, scandals have reared its ugly head in collegiate sports on a regular basis throughout the past decade. However, Vanderbilt University hurled a curve ball at the NCAA four years ago. They fired their Athletic Director, and announced that no new hire would be forthcoming. In fact, their Athletic Department in general was no longer.
Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor, Dave Williams comments, "While we didn't see a problem here, we did see a problem in college athletics, and we saw college athletic departments drifting further and further apart from the... University. If you don't do anything to bring it back, it will just keep drifting off.
Fellow Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor Michael Schoenfeld adds, "The fundamental difference here is that athletics, success, at every level is now a part of my job... then I pay attention to it."
Without withdrawing from the Southeastern Conference, Vanderbilt University had shifted it’s leaders of University Athletics under the same branch as all other student affairs. The Vice Chancellor in charge of Intramurals was now the leader of Division I athletics.
Williams adds, "We really wanted to get after, from the student athletes point of view, the experience to make sure that they weren't just going to class and playing their sports."
Valdosta State Athletic Director Herb Reinhard believes, "The Vanderbilt scenario or model is a fairly controversial model in intercollegiate athletics... I guess so far it seems to be working for them."
Schoenfeld comments, Four years ago, when some of the media said you guys are going to have an intramural program, what do we have? A number one draft pick in football, the baseball player of the year."
Reinhard adds, "Intercollegiate athletics will watch with interest... they are really taking the idea of the student athlete and trying to do some unique things with it, and I salute them for that."
FSU President T.K. Wetherell is just fine with the current model used for FSU's Athletic Department, "I think we've got a good system in place, I didn't see us moving to the quote Vanderbilt model, I'm not sure I understand what that model is, but we have some great folks over in the athletic department."