UO to hold closed search to replace erratic NCAA faculty rep Jim O’Fallon

It’s called the “Faculty Athletics Representative”. For the last 25 years it’s been Jim O’Fallon (law). He’s never had a performance review, and his reports to the faculty Senate have been, let’s say, erratic:

I pushed for an open search to replace O’Fallon, with finalists to talk with the faculty and answer questions about how they would deal with the many challenges of this important job. That’s not going to happen. Furthermore, the nominee’s names will be kept secret. President Gottfredson will make the decision. We will not know even know who the search committee recommends as finalists.

Given the secret nature of Gottfredson’s search, our next FAR can’t expect to have the faculty’s trust. But hey, it’s still a sweet gig. There’s a 0.5 FTE release, support staff, and of course free Duck tickets, travel, and bowl game junkets. All paid out of the academic budget – only to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, of course:

Dear Colleagues,

The university is seeking to appoint a new Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) for the University of Oregon. The current FAR, Jim O’Fallon, is retiring, and has agreed to serve through the 2014–2015 academic year to mentor the new FAR as he or she transitions into the position.

An advisory recruitment committee has been appointed to conduct a search for a suitable replacement. Andy Karduna, associate professor of human physiology, is the chair of the committee. Other members are Dennis Howard, professor emeritus of marketing; Lorraine Davis, special assistant to the provost and president; Sue Eveland, university registrar; Ben DeJarnette, student; and Miriam Deutsch, professor of physics. The committee is staffed by Greg Rikhoff, presidential chief of staff. The committee will recommend finalists to the president, who will then make the final appointment.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires that each of its member institutions have a FAR to serve as a liaison between athletics and academics, and to represent the institution in conference and NCAA affairs. The NCAA requires that the FAR be a member of the institution’s faculty or an administrator who holds faculty rank and shall not hold an administrative or coaching position in the athletics department.

The FAR at the UO is responsible for ensuring the academic integrity of the intercollegiate athletic program, promoting the well-being of student athletes, and supporting institutional control of athletics through oversight of compliance and student eligibility. As part of the job, the FAR is required to travel to meetings and attend many athletic events. Additionally the FAR must be immediately available to address compliance and eligibility issues, as well as to meet certification deadlines as required by the NCAA. In carrying out eligibility certification and compliance-related duties, the FAR receives considerable support from various departments on campus, including the Office of the Registrar. The FAR reports directly to the President. As such, one of the roles of the FAR is to communicate with the President on a regular basis to discuss general issues related to student athletes on campus, as well as compliance issues with the PAC-12 and NCAA. The complete description of the FAR’s duties is available here.

The FAR appointment is for five years. It is a half-time, 12-month position with a negotiated salary and stipend. The Office of the President will buy out the half-time position and will help negotiate relinquishment of the appointee’s duties from his or her current assignment, if necessary.

Additional information about the national FAR program can be found in the Faculty Athletics Representative Handbook. Questions about the position may also be submitted to Andy Karduna or Greg Rikhoff. This is a confidential search process.

To express interest or suggest a suitable faculty member candidate, please submit a brief letter of interest or letter of nomination to Andy Karduna by April 10.

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2 Responses to UO to hold closed search to replace erratic NCAA faculty rep Jim O’Fallon

  1. Anas Clypeata says:

    What possible justification can there be for a closed search for this half-time position? During the last two president searches, there was pushback against the secret nature of the process and additional people were brought into the circle of trust.

    This position is responsible for ensuring integrity, but the search process does not begin with integrity and transparency.

  2. uomatters says:

    The FAR is perhaps the most important academic job at UO. They make the decisions about who is eligible to play football and who is not. Championships and millions of dollars are on the line.

    This is why the announcement specifies that the new FAR will not actually take control for an entire year. Jim O’Fallon needs to show them the system, and most importantly he needs to carefully vet them, to make sure the new Faculty Athletics Representative doesn’t go rogue on the Ducks.