National Consortium for Academics and Sports
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The National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) is an ever-growing organization of colleges and universities. The NCAS evolved in response to the need to “keep the student in the student-athlete.” The NCAS was established in 1985 by Richard Lapchick at the Center for the Study of Sports in Society at Northeastern University. The NCAS National Office was relocated to Orlando, FL on the campus of the University of Central Florida in 2001.
Mission and Purpose
The mission of the NCAS is to “create a better society by focusing on educational attainment and using the power and appeal of sport to positively affect social change.” Since its inception, NCAS member institutions have proved to be effective advocates for balancing academics and athletics. By joining the NCAS, a college or university agrees to bring back, tuition free, their own former student-athletes who competed in revenue and non-revenue producing sports and were unable to complete their degree requirements. In exchange, these former student-athletes agree to participate in school outreach and community service programs addressing social issues of America’s youth.
Programs and Services
NCAS members are entitled to a variety of programs and services offered at exclusively discounted rates that center around leadership, education and community service. NCAS programs focus on topics ranging from diversity management training, gender violence prevention, alcohol abuse education, outreach, degree completion, and student-athlete recognition.
- The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program is a leadership program that motivates student-athletes and student leaders to play a central role in solving problems that historically have been considered “women’s issues:” rape, battering and sexual harassment. The mixed gender, racially diverse MVP Program, composed of former professional and college athletes, motivates men and women to work together in preventing gender violence utilizing a unique bystander approach to prevention. MVP National is presented in partnership by the Center for the Study of Sport in Society (CSSS) and the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS).
- The Teamwork Leadership Institute (TLI) was designed to create a better understanding about race and gender. The mission of TLI is to help senior administrators and athletic department staffs, through the provision of diversity training services, apply the principles of teamwork to all areas of athletic departments. TLI provides diversity management training to organizations across the United States, focusing mostly on college and university administrations and athletic departments. Training provides opportunities for diverse people to discover what they have in common in a safe environment. Instead of being divisive, differences in race, ethnicity and gender can serve as building blocks to strengthen the department.
- The Alcohol Response-Ability: Foundations for Student-Athletes program is a 90-minute, internet-based alcohol education and life skills program designed specifically for student-athletes and those who work with them in the college and university setting. In this first program of its kind, student-athletes will receive a customized educational experience that is interactive, interesting and designed to help them reduce harm and recognize the consequences associated with alcohol abuse in their campus communities. Because answers are entirely confidential, the course offers student-athletes a one-on-one learning experience that challenges the user to be honest and open without the fear of repercussions. In return, each student-athlete will receive a personalized risk assessment regarding the decisions they make.
- National STUDENT-Athlete Day (NSAD), celebrated annually on April 6, provides an opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of student-athletes. National STUDENT-Athlete Day seeks to honor those student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics, while making significant contributions to their communities. Organizations can celebrate NSAD by presenting student-athletes with award certificates, planning special ceremonies and presentations, connecting with young people in the community who support their athletics teams and more.
- The NCAS is nationally recognized for its Community Service and Outreach Program, which arranges for professional and college student-athletes to carry crucial messages to American youth. These student-athletes assist in the coordination of after-school programs where young people are tutored and counseled on topics related to decreasing violence, avoiding substance abuse, understanding diversity, balancing academics and athletics, goal-setting, sportsmanship, citizenship and conflict resolution. The student-athletes are great influences on young people. In turn, student-athletes benefit through their outreach activities as they foster a lifelong commitment to community service and develop leadership skills. The young people are exposed to individuals who may have been perceived as untouchable only to realize that sports figures truly care about the future of America’s youth.
- The NCAS Degree Completion Program allows former student-athletes to complete their education in exchange for community service. Student-athletes who entered the member institution on an athletic scholarship, in a revenue or non-revenue producing sport are eligible to be readmitted, if academically eligible. Tuition is provided by the institution in the same proportion as it was during the student’s last year of eligibility. Student-athletes are able to continue their education as long as they are making progress toward their degree. In exchange for their tuition, returning former student-athletes participate in the school’s community service and outreach program, where they meet with school-age youth to talk about a variety of critical issues, for a minimum of ten hours per week.
The NCAS is constantly looking to grow and expand when it comes to programs offered to its members. In addition, several national programs approach the NCAS looking to partner because of its great membership of colleges and universities across the country.
- The Scholar-Baller Program strives to harness society's passion for sport and entertainment to transform the mindsets of America's youth to embrace the power of education and the pursuit of knowledge and consciousness. Scholar-Baller is made up of four key components: education, research, incentives and mentoring. The Scholar-Baller curriculum is a culturally innovative and incentive-based program that bridges the gaps between academic and social achievement, utilizing society's interest in popular culture.
- The Hope for Stanley Foundation aims to create opportunities for people across the United States in sports to participate in the rebuilding and revival of the city of New Orleans. The goal of the Foundation is to connect with the more than 150 sport business management graduate and undergraduate programs as well as Student Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) of NCAS members across the nation in an effort to speed the recovery process in New Orleans.
The NCAS provides an Annual Conference for continuing education purposes that provides members with information via speakers, roundtable discussions and interactive programming dealing with the pertinent social issues they face in their athletic departments and communities each day. Panel discussions and breakout sessions take place throughout the three-day conference.
Past speakers have included Myles Brand, President, NCAA; Floyd Keith, Executive Director, Black Coaches Association; Joe Crowley, President, University of Nevada; Charlotte Westerhaus, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, NCAA; Bill Curry, ESPN; and Coaches Herman Boone and William Yoast, “Remember the Titans.”
The NCAS Giant Steps Awards Banquet has taken place annually since 1988. In conjunction with National STUDENT-Athlete Day, Giant Steps Awards are awarded in the categories of courageous student-athletes, coaches, civic leaders, athletic administrators, parents and teachers. Chosen by a diverse selection committee from hundreds of nominations received nationwide, these individuals exemplify the meaning of National STUDENT-Athlete Day.
In 1999, the NCAS Hall of Fame Ceremony was added to the Giant Steps Awards Banquet. Since then, Nancy Lieberman, Eddie Robinson, Dean Smith, Muhammad Ali, Lee Elder, Julius Erving, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson (posthumously), Richard DeVos, Thomas “Satch” Sanders, Colonel Lawrence Roberts and Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. have been inducted. The evening celebrates the great things sports people do to make this a better world. The award winners are individually and collectively an outstanding representation of talent, commitment and spirit sure to provide an inspirational night.
Richard E. Lapchick has served the NCAS as its Executive Director since its inception in 1985. Human rights activist, pioneer for racial equality, internationally recognized expert on sports issues, scholar and author Richard E. Lapchick is often described as “the racial conscience of sport.” Lapchick is a regular columnist for ESPN.com and The Sports Business Journal, and a regular contributor to the op ed page of the Orlando Sentinel. He has written more than 450 articles and has given more than 2,600 public speeches. His 12th book, 100 Heroes: People in Sports Who Make This a Better World, was published by the NCAS in 2006.
Tom Kowalski has been the director of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports Midwest Regional Office and President of The Transit Group.
- "The National Consortium for Academics and Sports is a necessary organization because, in and of itself, sports is neither immoral nor moral, it needs the character of the people behind the sport. And that's the role the NCAS serves. It's the conscience, particularly, of college sport." -John Rawlings, Senior VP and Editor, Sporting News
- "This event is extremely important to me; one because I'm being inducted into the [NCAS] Hall of Fame with my late husband; and two, because we're celebrating the development of our youth. This organization is doing an enormous job in helping young people graduate from college, develop their leadership skills, and become interested in giving back to the community." -Rachel Robinson, 2004 NCAS Hall of Fame Inductee and Founder, Jackie Robinson Foundation