Annual Membership Meeting

CRCA Membership Meeting Minutes

The 2005 CRCA Annual Membership meeting was convened at 12:46 in the Warfield Room of the Sheraton Hotel. President Andrew Teitelbaum (OSU), recently elected by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, opened the meeting with introductions of the BOD, and their respective responsibilities within the board.

Board of Directors present for introduction:  Andrew Teitelbaum (Central) introduced himself as President of the CRCA as recently elected by unanimous vote of the CRCA Board of Directors, and as Chairperson of the Legislative Review Committee.  Kevin Sauer (South) was introduced as Head Coach of the University of Virginia and as Chairperson of the Championship Committee.  Joe Wilhelm (East) was introduced as Head Coach of Northeastern University and as a co-Chairperson of the Hall of Fame Committee.  Mark Rothstein (Central) was introduced as the Head Coach of the University of Michigan and co-Chairperson of the Coaches Education Committee.  Becky Robinson (DII/DIII At-Large) was introduced as the Head Coach of Ithaca College and as co-Chairperson of the Awards Committee.  Sandra Chu (DII/DIII At-Large) was introduced as the Head Coach of William Smith College and as co-Chairperson of the Coaches Education Committee.  Eleanor McElvaine (West) was introduced as the Head Coach of University of Washington and as co-Chairperson of the Hall of Fame Committee.  Jason Steele (East) was introduced as the Head Coach of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and as CRCA Secretary, as recently elected by unanimous vote of the CRCA Board of Directors.  Steve Kish (Mid-Atlantic) was introduced as the Head Coach of Bucknell University and as CRCA Vice President and Treasurer, as recently elected by unanimous vote of the CRCA Board of Directors.  Kevin Harris (South) was introduced as the Head Coach of the University of Tulsa and as the Chairperson of the Membership Committee.

Board of Directors missing for introduction:  Aimee Baker (West) was introduced as the Head Coach of Stanford University and as co-Chairperson of the Awards Committee.  Mike Hughes (Mid-Atlantic) was introduced as the Head Coach to the Naval Academy and as co-Chairperson of the Coaches Education Committee.

Thanking outgoing board members and their accomplishments: President Teitelbaum then thanked outgoing members of the Board of Directors for their service to the organization. Carrie Graves of the University of Texas was thanked for her efforts on the board and specifically for her work on the Membership Committee. Bill Zack of the University of Los Angeles was thanked for his efforts on the Legislative Review Committee. It was noted that Bill Zack has agreed to continue to advise the Legislative Review Committee by co-chairing the committee with Andrew Teitelbaum. Andrew Teitelbaum then thanked Karen Klinger of Smith College for her service as President of the CRCA. It was noted that during the last several years three major accomplishments can be credited to the Board of Directors under Karen Klinger’s leadership:  Substantial Growth of Membership, The increase of sponsorship of the CRCA, including the major sponsorship of Pocock Racing Shells, and Increased credibility with the NCAA.

Lightweight Committee Chairperson search:  President Teitelbaum then announced the search for the position of Chairperson of the Lightweight Rowing Committee, which as an ad-hoc committee does not require its Chairperson to be a member of the BOD. He suggested any member of the CRCA contact Steve Kisch if interested in serving in this capacity. If no interest is expressed, Steve Kisch will approach individuals to serve in this position.

Committee Updates:  President Teitelbaum then introduced Committee Chairpersons for announcements regarding their respective committees.

Awards Committee:  Becky Robinson (Ithaca) was introduced for announcements regarding the Awards Committee.  As co-Chair of the Awards Committee, Becky Robinson thanked Pocock Racing Shells for their sponsorship of the CRCA. The organization has completed its first year of a three year sponsorship with Pocock Racing Shells. She explained that future CRCA All-America awards will be advertised as Pocock All-America Awards.  Announcement of the 2005 Coach of the Year Awards followed. Congratulations were offered to: Division I Coach of the Year: Dave O’Neill of the University of California, Berkeley.  Division II Coach of the Year: John Fuchs of Nova Southeastern University.  Division III Coach of the Year: Marina Traub of Trinity College.  Assistant Coach of the Year: Phoebe Murphy of Brown University.  Becky Robinson reminded the membership that for an institution to be eligible for coach of the year awards their Head Coach must be a paid member of the CRCA by the appropriate annual deadline. She then discussed some changes made to the Pocock All-America student awards, as approved by the BOD. She clarified that all changes will be noted on this year’s nomination materials:  Freshmen or first year rowers will now be eligible for selection as Pocock All-America athletes.  Athletes will now be eligible for Pocock Academic All-America awards if they meet the appropriate academic standards, spend seventy-five percent of their spring season in the Varsity 8 OR race in a Regional or National Championship in the Varsity 8.

Coaching Education Committee:  Sandra Chu (William Smith) was introduced for announcements regarding Coaching Education Committee. Sandra indicated that approximately 90 responses were received from the Coaching Education Survey. The results of these surveys have been compiled and reviewed by the BOD and Sandra assured that the results would be posted to the CRCA Website for review by the membership. Sandra requested that, “anyone who has additional feedback on coaching education can contact me at” She discussed the possibility of conducting small break-out sessions to enhance coach discussions during the USRowing conference in 2006.

Polling Committee:  Andy Teitelbaum, as outgoing Chairperson of the Polling Committee then provided updates on the CRCA Coaches Poll. He indicated that the results of the recent Coaches Poll survey showed overwhelming support for the Pre-Season Poll. He indicated that it was clear that most coaches understand the CRCA Poll to be a public relations opportunity, with no bearing on NCAA Championship selection. As such, a pre-season poll represented an opportunity for schools to extend the time frame in which they could use polling results for positive public relation coverage. Additionally, a poll of current pollsters yielded clear consensus that individual pollsters wanted their rankings to remain anonymous. Pollsters did not wish to have their weekly decisions scrutinized and felt the accuracy of the poll came through the “averaging” of all polls. As such, no procedural changes to the current CRCA Coaches Poll will be made in 2006.

Legislative Committee:  Andy Teitelbaum, as recently selected Chairperson of the Legislation Committee, then provided updates of current NCAA Legislation with potential to impact women’s collegiate rowing. The only legislation discussed was that regarding the addition of a 4th assistant coach. He indicated the Big 10 had put forth legislation seeking the addition of a graduate student assistant. He was unclear why Big 10 administrators had put forth legislation seeking a graduate student assistant position, as it had been clear that Big 10 coaches favored the addition of a paid coach, not a graduate student assistant. The legislation as put forward is not supported the Pac-10 or Ivy League, as several of these institutions do not have an opportunity to add graduate students based on the nature of there academic programs. The legislation is up for a vote at the upcoming NCAA Annual Board of Directors meeting. Tina Krah of the NCAA then contributed the three possible outcomes of the upcoming vote: The Board of Directors will approve the legislation, The Board of Directors will reject the legislation, and The Board of Directors will authorize a 60 day review of the legislation.  Andy concluded by stating that the CRCA will await the results of this legislative vote. If the legislation fails there is the possibility that the CRCA will seek to submit new legislation in this area.

CRCA Website:  As a final administrative update Andy addressed the CRCA website. He indicated that the BOD was pursuing an overhaul of the website. There is hope to include a coaches forum and coaches education section. The membership was asked to email Andy with other ideas for additions to the website. As a related item, a member of the CRCA then reminded the membership of the importance Row2k has played in collegiate rowing and encouraged the members of the CRCA to continue to support Row2k.

NCAA Updates from John Lentz: 

2006 NCAA Championship Update:  The 2006 Championship will be held at Mercer Lake in New Jersey. The hosts of the regatta are Princeton International Regatta and Rutgers University. It was clarified that concerns over the availability of hotel rooms for the event were unfounded. The NCAA has confirmed the abundant availability of hotel rooms, and as such will not be holding rooms for the championship. Individual schools will be responsible for their own reservations.  The banquet will be held at the same time as last year’s, and will follow a similar format.  Representatives of the NCAA have already performed a site visit and met with recently hired PIRA Executive Director, Kay Worthington. These representatives were impressed with the course, and despite the PIRA having not hosted an NCAA Championship, were confident the Championship will be well organized.  Several enhancements to the event were addressed. A video board (jumbo-tron) has been procured for the Championship, and Jack Weir will be involved with the filming of all events. A major improvement in the filming of all events is expected. Additionally, official NCAA announcers will be brought in order to announce races.  Several questions were then asked by members of the CRCA.  In response to a question regarding the launch site, it was clarified that all launching will be done from the finish tower side of the lake.  In response to a question regarding the rationale for not reserving hotel rooms it was explained that, 1) there were numerous hotel rooms in the area, 2) there were logistical concerns in putting too many athletes in one place, and 3) institutions might have different cost considerations.  It was emphasized that the NCAA is not ignoring the issue of hotel rooms but was simply not going to commit to rooms at this time.

Result Reporting On-Line:  At this time the discussion was turned over to Mark Bedics, Marketing Director for the NCAA for a review of the new result reporting process on the NCAA Website. The site is still under development but a few key points were highlighted as benefits to this new system.  School schedules would be entered automatically based on schedules posted at institutional websites. Coaches will be responsible for confirming accuracy of schedule once it is uploaded onto the NCAA website by NCAA staff.  School rosters will be stored on-line, with seniors automatically removed and classes automatically moved forward at the end of each academic year.  Each coach will be required to enter their team’s weekend results before every Monday during the spring season.  Cross referencing of team results will be simplified as specific result queries can be made on this site.  It will be possible to determine line-ups of each crew.  This will be linked to Row2K so that results will automatically be posted on Row2K. It is unclear what format this will take as discussions with Row2K are still ongoing.  It was emphasized that a learning curve exists. Coaches’ patience during this first year was requested.

Future Championship Issues:  At this point in the meeting the membership was divided. DI coaches were requested to remain in the original meeting area while DII/DIII coaches met separately in an adjacent meeting area.

DI Discussion Points:  John Jentz began discussion with a history of the DI Championship. He explained that that the Championship Cabinet invites expansion and that the timeline for any restructuring of the Championship would be 3-5 years. To date he explained that the average squad size for DI schools has been 58 athletes with 25 athletes attending the Championship. On average about 50% of the squad has been left at home.  Kevin Sauer, as Chairperson for the CRCA Championship committee updated the membership on the discussions of a forum held last June regarding the Championship. The leadership of the Cabinet and the NCAA recommends going to all full teams with no at-large boats being invited. There was not an opportunity at this point to add more than 16 teams as the number or teams invited to a championship is dictated by the number of school sponsoring the sport. Until more schools add women’s rowing there would not be more than 16 schools invited. Further topics included the idea of conference qualifiers. This would automatically qualify 8 schools leaving another 8 at-large teams to be invited. There was discussion about the idea of adding a Fall Championship focusing on small boats. This would allow schools to count roster numbers in the fall and allow smaller squads the possibility of winning.  Lastly, Kevin indicated that a survey would be going out to all DI coaches. There would be two questions on this survey.  Do you wish to invite 16 full teams to the Championship, eliminating at-large eights?  Do you wish to leave the Championship in its current format?  The meeting was opened to the membership at this time for discussion of the above issues.  Several points were discussed.  The idea of increasing a team to 3 eights was introduced. Some thought this would make the “team” size too big. Tina Krah from the NCAA brought up that this might represent too big a change in the budget. Additionally the current rationale for at-large eights is the hope that it will allow those schools to grow into full teams. She emphasized that everybody was in agreement that “growth” should be a goal. Coaches and administrators needed to agree on a strategy to accomplish this. A Fall Championship might help administrators but is this what coaches really want? She emphasized that encouraging relatively small changes would most likely be the best course.  There were several points of view that continued to be expressed. It was determined that the CRCA should take the lead in this area. It was emphasized that without consensus from the coaches it would be “crazy” to move forward. Taking a straw poll was suggested at this point to determine interest in increasing a “team” to 3 eights. Prior to this poll more discussion time was allocated to the membership.  There was concern that this move would make the Championship even more inaccessible for smaller squads. This bolstered the argument for a Fall Championship although Tina Krah emphasized that this would be VERY difficult change to implement. Discussion continued to center on issues related to squad sizes and participation rates. Varying opinions were expressed. Having 16 full teams would increase participation numbers, and would eliminate the impact that an at-large boat could have on team points, however coaches were concerned about small programs not being able to get access to the championship.   Kevin then held a straw vote. The vote was:  0 = Stay the same, 13 = Increase to 16 Full Teams, 9 = Abstained from Voting.  Kevin indicated that he would talk with other coaches to update them on the discussion that was held. An official survey on this topic is forthcoming.

DII/DIII Discussion Points:  Mark Bedics began the DII/DIII discussion with an update of legislation involving DIII institutions. The proposal of separating a Novice Season from the counting full squad’s 19 weeks was brought forward. Thanks were expressed to Becky Robinson for her efforts. It seemed unlikely that this legislation would go forward. Mark Bedics expressed that we are a long way from making any changes that would allow Women’s Rowing to stand-out as a unique sport, in order to open the way for an expansion in the practice season.  Mark then addressed the issue of hotel rooms for the Championship. He mentioned there is the possibility of reserving a block of rooms at a conference center near the race course for the DII/DIII teams. Some discussion ensued regarding the positives and negatives of all DII/DIII teams being situated at one location. Following this discussion a survey of the group found unanimous support for the idea of blocking rooms for the DII/DIII teams. Mark indicated he would look into having the NCAA block these rooms.  The floor was opened for any questions or comments regarding the Championship.  Gary Caldwell of Tufts University asked if contingency plans were being made to open the course early for practice in the event that weather issues prevented practice at the currently scheduled times. Mark indicated that he would forward this concern to the organizing committee.  Discussion regarding the NCAA Championship video yielded consensus that coaches wanted video of races in their entirety, instead of highlights of races, as was presented in last year’s Championship video.  The topic of a spares race was discussed at length with some agreement amongst coaches that spares should have the opportunity to participate in the Championship. There was not agreement on how they should be involved and varying philosophies on the role of spares was evident. A spares race where spares from different teams were combined into an eight for an exhibition race was an idea had some support. No decisions were made on how to move forward with this idea.  Finally, discussion centered on the format of the Championship. The idea of having fours involved at the Championship was presented. This idea was presented on behalf of the smaller DIII teams. No decisions were made on modifications to the Championship. The idea of presenting a survey to DIII schools was introduced. This survey it was hoped would give the Championship committee a better sense of the DIII landscape and whether changes to the Championship might be appropriate to reflect the needs of the DIII constituency.  This concluded the meeting of DII/DIII coaches.