Commissioner, Big West Conference

Conference:
Big West Conference
Position: Conference Commissioner
Job Location: Irvine, CA, 92606
Date Posted: February 5, 2020
Education: Bachelor’s Degree Required; Advance Degree Preferred
Salary Range: Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications. Final offer of employment is contingent on a successful background check.

BIG WEST CONFERENCE
The Big West Conference (Big West) invites applications and nominations for the position of Commissioner, a full-time, 12-month position. The Conference seeks a leader for its NCAA Division I athletics programs who will serve at the direction of the Board of Directors and be responsible for operations involving intercollegiate athletics among and between its member institutions. The Commissioner is the chief administrator of the 501(c)(3) corporation and manages all operational, financial and legal matters. The Commissioner serves as the Conference’s chief compliance officer and NCAA Division I representative, and oversees all matters involving conference meetings, legislation, budgeting, marketing, education, eligibility, sportsmanship, championships, scheduling, awards and office management. The Commissioner or designee shall also represent the conference in all regional and national committees and organizations.

The Big West is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and is committed to creating a community in which a diverse population can learn, live, and work in an atmosphere of tolerance, civility and respect for the rights and sensibilities of each individual without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, medical condition, age, Vietnam era veteran status, or any other status.

Now in its 51st year of operation, the Big West sponsors 18 Championship sports. The conference has claimed 18 team national championships, including six in women's volleyball, two in baseball, one in softball, one in men's basketball one in men's soccer, and two in men’s volleyball. The Conference’s great success has been measured by the Learfield Sports Directors Cup, which gauges the best overall collegiate athletics programs in NCAA Division I as measured by their finishes in NCAA postseason play. In 2011-12, UC Irvine (No. 69), Long Beach State (No. 87) and UC Santa Barbara (No. 98) put three Big West schools within the top 100 for the first time since 2007-08 when the league had five schools in that top 100. The Conference has had a top ten program for 9 consecutive years in the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association All-Sports rankings, highlighted by UC Santa Barbara’s second place finish in 2016-17. The Conference has had a member school participate in the College World Series 4 of the last 5 years. 

Big West student-athletes have also succeeded on a worldwide stage in such international competitions as the Olympics, Pan-American Games and World Cup, including Long Beach State's Tara Cross-Battle, Tayyiba Haneef-Park and Danielle Scott-Arruda (women's indoor volleyball) and Misty May - Treanor (women's beach volleyball); UC Santa Barbara's Jason Lezak (men's swimming); Cal State Fullerton's Leon Wood and Bruce Bowen (men's basketball) and Jenny Topping (softball); UC Davis’s Scott Weltz (men's swimming); UC Irvine's Steve Scott and Charles Jock (men's track and field); Cal Poly's Stephanie Brown-Trafton and Sharon Day (women's track and field); and UC Riverside’s Brenda Martinez (women’s track and field). Cal State Northridge alumnus Katie Holloway also led her USA Women's Sitting Volleyball Team to a silver medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

UC Irvine women’s water polo head coach Dan Klatt was assistant coach on both the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic gold medal teams. UC Irvine coaches Paula Weishoff and Jamie Morrison assisted with the 2016 silver medal winning women's indoor volleyball team. Long Beach State’s Women’s Track and Field Head Coach LaTanya Sheffield was a member of the 2016 US Olympic team coaching staff where she guided the Americans to gold medals in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and, among other medals, a podium sweep of the 100m hurdles.

Current members of the Big West Conference are:

  • California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)
  • California State University, Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton)
  • California State University, Northridge (Cal State Northridge)
  • California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach State)
  • University of California, Davis (UC Davis)
  • University of California, Irvine, (UC Irvine)
  • University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara)
  • University of Hawaii

Two additional members will be joining the Conference on July 1, 2020:
  • University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  • California State University, Bakersfield (Cal State Bakersfield)

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMISSIONER:
The Commissioner is the chief administrative officer of the Big West and serves as a non-voting member of the Conference Board of Directors and Council. The Commissioner is also the secretary-treasurer of the Conference. The Conference Office currently employs 12 additional full-time staff, 2 of which are open. 

The Commissioner will:
  • Serve as Chief Operating Officer with fiscal responsibility for annual budget and audits.
  • Be responsible for the hiring and management of the Conference Office staff.
  • Schedule and manage all membership meetings, including those of the Board of Directors, Council, Directors of Athletics, Faculty Athletics Representatives, Senior Woman Administrators, Coaches Groups, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and other administrative groups, including the distribution of all minutes and meeting reports.
  • Create and maintain a collaborative working relationship with all conference Athletic Directors, Senior Women’s Athletics Administrators and Faculty Athletics Representatives.
  • Administer, interpret, update and enforce the Big West Constitution/Bylaws/Regulations and Rules, and NCAA Bylaws/Regulations/Rules.
  • Maintain all records of Conference rules and regulations interpretations.
  • Act as a mediator of controversies between members as prescribed by Big West bylaws.
  • Oversee a rules compliance program that provides educational and interpretative support to the membership within a strong culture of compliance.
  • Manage the process for all NCAA waiver applications.
  • Coordinate the training, selection, and assignment of officials for identified sports, as approved by the Council and ratified by the Board of Directors.
  • With oversight by and at the direction of the Board of Directors and Council, negotiate media and championship agreements, contracts and service agreements to insure optimal Conference operation.
  • Act as a liaison and spokesperson from the Big West to the media.
  • Conduct a continuous educational program on the value of competitive athletics, sportsmanship, and the ethics and high ideals that motivate the Big West and its member institutions in their conduct of intercollegiate athletics.
  • Manage (and attend whenever possible) postseason events and assist member institutions with the execution of conference championships. Manage and supervise all Conference awards and ceremonies.
  • Review and develop a meaningful and deliverable strategic plan for the Conference that will reflect its position and goals as a conference leader in Division I athletics.
  • Continually review and market the conference brand, distinguishing and championing the conference’s mission, vision, strategic plan, and enhancement of the student-athlete experience.
  • Continually work to expand distribution of conference related content, marketing and sponsorships.
  • Attend relevant meetings of associations or organizations concerned with intercollegiate athletics.
  • Serve as conference liaison to the NCAA. Serve on various NCAA and Division I Commissioners’ Committees; attend NCAA Convention and Commissioners meetings.
  • Manage and ensure the preparation of proposals for NCAA Grants.
  • Study any national or conference issues of importance and provide advice, guidance and solutions to the members, promoting the general welfare of the Conference at all times.
  • Retain outside consultants and counsel on behalf of the Conference as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS, SKILLS & ABILITIES:
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Advanced degree preferred.
  • Substantial experience in intercollegiate athletics or comparable field.
  • Demonstrated experience in the administration and management of a diverse group of people and leaders within intercollegiate athletics or similar organization.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills and ability to work effectively with a variety of constituents.
  • A pattern of successful leadership in progressively advanced positions of increasing responsibility related to NCAA athletics or similar field.
  • Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working in a conference office or demonstrate a strong understanding of and vision for NCAA Division I Athletics.
  • The successful applicant will be able to successfully articulate NCAA Division I values and the role intercollegiate athletics plays in the development of student-athletes.
  • Demonstrated commitment to upholding the quality of academics and academic integrity.
  • Demonstrated commitment related to the sensitivity and commitment to student-athlete welfare, gender equity, diversity and minority opportunities.

JOB APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applicants should submit, as one pdf file, (1) a resume, (2) letter of application that specifically addresses the above required qualifications and responsibilities, and (3) a listing of four current references, including name, title, address, telephone numbers and email address. Submissions should be emailed directly to Jeff Schemmel, President, College Sports Solutions, jschemmel@collegesportssolutions.com and/or Dan Walters, Associate Partner, Buffkin/Baker, dan@buffkinbaker.com. Please note, all application materials must be submitted electronically in PDF format.

Applications and inquiries will be treated in strictest confidence. Confidential review and screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Complete applications should be received no later than March 6, 2020 for full consideration. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. Final offer of employment is contingent on a successful background check.

Inquiries and nominations should be forwarded to:
  • Jeff Schemmel, President, College Sports Solutions, jschemmel@collegesportssolutions.com and/or
  • Dan Walters, Associate Partner, Buffkin/Baker, dan@buffkinbaker.com

 
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