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Athletic director talks college sports at Northeastern, nationwide

The Faculty Senate held its first meeting of the 2014-15 academic year on Wednesday, as Athletic Director Peter Roby delivered his annual address on the state of athletics at Northeastern while also discussing the broader national collegiate athletics landscape.

Roby celebrated the on-field and off-field success of Northeastern’s student-athletes, specifically noting that the hockey teams and rowing teams all competed at the national level in the previous academic year. “We had a lot of successes on the field of play,” he said. Off the field, Roby highlighted that Northeastern student-athletes have recorded a 3.0 grade point average or above in 13-straight semesters through Spring 2014.

Roby also focused his remarks on college athletics on a national level. He reiterated concerns he made earlier this summer following the NCAA Division I Board of Directors’ decision to give autonomy to the NCAA’s “Power 5” conferences—the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, and Pac-12—to create their own policies and legislation on a range of issues. This includes stipends to student-athletes, insurance coverage, and recruiting rules. Schools in those conferences must submit their proposed policies by Oct. 1, and the deadline for schools nationwide to request an override vote is a few days later.

“I’ve been a very strong proponent of the collegiate model as we’ve known it,” Roby said in his remarks. “The reason I am not in favor of the changes that have been approved by the board is because I think it takes us away from our mission of education and puts too much emphasis on revenue generation and the professional model.”

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the Senate unanimously approved a new faculty handbook module regarding non-tenure track research faculty so that the current policy is compliant with federal agencies and their expectations on funding for grant research faculty.

The Senate also received an update on the provost search committee. It was notified of four upcoming open forums to discuss the search process with faculty, staff, and students. More information is available here.

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