By Sierra Navarro
Olivet’s Athletic Director, Gary Newsome, will now have more of a say in the NAIA.
Newsome has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the NAIA Athletic Directors Association (ADA), according to ONU Marketing.
The ADA is new in the NAIA. It gives athletic directors a better voice in the program. One athletic director in every NAIA conference in America is chosen to form this board.
“This board will strengthen the role of the athletic directors in the NAIA,” Newsome said. “The athletic directors want and need a better voice in the NAIA and we believe this board of directors will put our wants and needs in front of the NAIA administration.”
Above the ADA is the NAC (National Administrative Council) which consists of athletic directors and sports information directors. Above the NAC is the Council of Presidents. The ADA is the only NAIA governing body that consists of only athletic directors.
The NAIA is the oldest sports organization in America, Newsome said.
“The NAIA does a very good job of allowing institutional control,” Newsome said. “The NCAA is strictly governing and they have so many rules. I would find it very difficult to function in the NCAA. It is up to us to keep the constitution we have in the NAIA since we are self-governed.”
The NAIA allows the ONU Athletic department to be self-governed, which the NCAA does not do. When asked what he would change in the NAIA program Gary Newsome stressed the need for post-season reimbursements.
“Last year we had 14 teams make the post season. In the NAIA, that’s an away game for Olivet. We pay lodging, food, everything,” Newsome said. “They have attempted to reimburse some of that expense, but it’s very little compared to what you have to spend to get to a national tournament. If you make the post season in the NCAA, the NCAA pays for that. They also have the final four which pays all the bills and the NAIA doesn’t have that.”
Newsome described the lack of post-season reimbursements in the NAIA as “penalizing” schools for making the national tournament.
“The NAIA fosters champion quality characters and really allows the athletes to be missions-oriented.”
A possible change presented to Newsome was the lowering of GPA standards in the NAIA which requires an athlete to hold a 3.6 in order to be fully exempt and not limit a team’s athletic aid.
In response, Newsome said, “We don’t meet the maximum standard in anything. There is not one athlete that is here on a full ride sports scholarship. ONU doesn’t have the resources to provide full rides with athletic money. We’re student athletes. Here to get a great education before anything else. We’re not a professional baseball, football factory. That GPA standard needs to stay right where it is. You’re not going to step into the professional sports world from the NAIA.”
Head swim coach Scott Teeters said, “The NAIA fosters champion quality characters and really allows the athletes to be missions-oriented. Sportsmanship is exemplary and engrained in our DNA. Christ is our number one priority, so we try to tell our student athletes to envision themselves at Olivet Nazarene University without the sport and if they can do that they are more than welcome to join.”
He added that “our second priority is family. We want the athletes to be like a family together. Our third priority is academics and preparing them to go into the world with the talents and skills that they have. Our fourth priority is establishing a life-long covenant with friends and our fifth priority is our sport.”
Coach Teeters loves the Champions of Character program because it helps foster and make a solid foundation for the athletes.
“Champions of Character provide training for student-athletes and professional development for coaches and staff. The values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership are put into play and accounted for at NAIA schools,” according to NAIA.org.
Coach Teeters also believes that the GPA standards set in place are more for protection than correction.
“We are very supported by the ONU administrative team who goes above and beyond for Olivet,” Teeters said.