Wednesday, July 2, 2008

LSC Council of Presidents takes action at spring meeting

From the LSC Website

The Lone Star Conference Council of Presidents gathered in Dallas on June 16 for their annual spring meeting, where approval of extensive revisions to the LSC Constitution and Bylaws was one of several significant actions taken by the league's governing group.

President Pat O'Brien of West Texas A&M University served as chair for the meeting, wrapping up a year-long term in which he provided oversight to several notable improvements within the conference. Under Dr. O'Brien's guidance during the 2007-08 academic year, the LSC approved a five-year strategic plan, endorsed a seven-year basketball scheduling model, and entered into three-year partnerships with the Bartlesville (Okla.) Sports Commission and the City of Durant (Okla.) to host to its basketball and softball tournaments, respectively.

At the June 16 meeting, the Council of Presidents unanimously approved LSC Handbook Committee recommendations that thoroughly revamped the LSC Constitution and Bylaws. The most notable changes included the acceptance of new membership guidelines, a clearer defining of the conference's legislative process, and a restructuring of the league's governance groups.

"With the strategic plan being approved in January and now the handbook being cleaned up, I believe the Conference now has the tools that it needs to move forward and continue its development into a model conference in Division II," said Stan Wagnon, midway through his second year as LSC Commissioner.

Another major action taken by the Presidents was the approval of a summer financial aid proposal that originated with the LSC's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. For years, the LSC has restricted its member institutions from offering athletic scholarships during the summer terms. The newly approved policy will allow LSC student-athletes to receive up to the amount of tuition for summer classes, provided certain criteria are met.

"Offering summer athletics aid was a difficult decision for each of our governance groups, but this new policy has measures in place to ensure that students and/or coaches can't abuse the system to regain eligibility or gain a recruiting advantage during the summer term," Wagnon said. "The intent of this is truly to help Lone Star Conference student-athletes in their pursuit of college degrees.

"In order to qualify for summer athletics aid, a student-athlete will need to have already established his or her eligibility for the next fall and will be required to have at least a 2.4 grade point average, among other things," Wagnon continued. "By approving this policy, our administrators have shown a strong commitment to student-athlete well-being and we're all hopeful this will enable student-athletes to attain their degree in a timely manner."

Also, the Presidents approved the addition of a new award bearing the name of the late Fred Jacoby, the long-time LSC commissioner who passed away in March. Starting immediately, the league's sports information directors will select a conference-wide Academic Athlete of the Year honoree for both men and women, to be known as the Fred Jacoby Academic Athlete of the Year awards.

The Presidents also endorsed a new model for the conference softball tournament in 2009, so as to mirror the new NCAA regional format set to be implemented in 2009 as well. The LSC tournament now will be played over two weekends, with two 4-team double-elimination tournaments the first weekend and the winner of each tournament advancing to a 3-game series on the following weekend to determine the conference champion. The 4-team tournaments will be cross-bracketed with the No. 1 seed in both the North and South divisions serving as host, while the 3-game championship series will be hosted by the highest remaining seed.

Finally, the group approved for the upcoming 2008-09 academic year its Executive Committee of officers, which will include Roger Webb from the University of Central Oklahoma as chair, Joe Rallo of Angelo State University as vice-chair, Richard Rafes from East Central University as second vice-chair and Texas Woman's University's Ann Stuart as third vice-chair.

The LSC Council of Presidents, which meets twice annually, serves as the governing board of the Conference and has final decision-making authority regarding any legislation, policy or activity pertaining to the Conference.

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico