Roderick has issues in sight after election as NJCAA President

5/29/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

Not one to waste time, NJCAA President-Elect Bryce Roderick already has several issues on the agenda to resolve during his term, which has not yet begun.

The former Garden City Community College athletic administrator and current KJCCC commissioner was elected the next NJCAA president, effective Aug. 1, at the annual NJCAA meeting in Colorado Springs in April.

"I was very excited, and of course honored to be in this position," Roderick said in a recent telephone interview. "I'm excited to be there, and proud to serve the NJCAA and represent not only the Jayhawk Conference but Kansas in the national organization."

Roderick was as assistant athletic director at GCCC from 1989 to 2001, before becoming the assistant commissioner of the Jayhawk in 2002.

A year later in 2003, Roderick was named the commissioner of the Jayhawk, where he continues to serve.

In 2009, Roderick was elected the 2nd Vice President NJCAA Women's Division.

And now, Roderick has been elected to head the NJCAA, taking over for retiring president Joe Tubb, and has some ideas in the direction he would like to take junior college athletics.

"One of the things that we're working on, and one of the things I'll visit on with our presidents, too, in the Jayhawk Conference, is a third year of eligibility," Roderick said.

Current players are, of course, only allowed two years of eligibility at the NJCAA level, leaving two years of eligibility at four-year institutions after they transfer.

However, Roderick says adding a third year of eligibility could help the kids who are not eligible to transfer after two years, especially with the new changes to the NCAA transfer rules.

Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, junior college transfers must have a 2.5 grade-point-average, up from 2.0 and higher than needed for initial eligibility for freshmen (2.3).

Course requirements were also made more difficult, as athletes must now complete three hours of natural or physical science, in addition to six hours of English and three of math, and only two credit hours of physical education are transferable, making it much more difficult for junior college athletes to transfer.

It's that difficulty in transferring that Roderick would like to address.

"You probably would look at those athletes that, either because of the curriculum or the grade-point-average, wouldn't transfer," Roderick explained, "then 'Hey, let's stay. Stay at the community college for some extra time, get your degree..."

The athletes that did stay for a third year at the community college level would likely not be recruited to play at the NCAA level — given they would only have one year of college eligibility remaining — but those athletes would now have an extra year of scholarship-offset education to gain eligibility and have the ability to transfer to a four-year institution as a student only.

"We're looking at maybe this will be advantageous, when, in fact, a lot of our athletes take more than two years to get their degree," Roderick explained.

Another possible issue Roderick would like to address is the size of the NJCAA Board of Directors.

Currently, 54 members comprise the NJCAA Board of Directors, a size that makes coming to an agreement on issues difficult to achieve.

"Is there some way that we could look at our board of directors and make it more functional, make it more streamline," Roderick said. "And that might be a new way of looking at the 24 regions, and dividing those up and maybe making a smaller board."

He noted how issues can become more convoluted with the 54-member board.

"I think sometimes, when we look at issues, we get so many people together, the issues get clouded and you don't really get to a clear understanding," Roderick said.

He also explained that it is possible a smaller board could allow for bi-annual meetings — instead of one annual meeting — which could make the board more able to address issues in a timely matter.

It's Roderick's experience at both the individual college level and at the head of a conference that he believes gives him the experience necessary to lead the NJCAA.

"It goes back to my experiences in Garden City. It starts right there," Roderick said.

Roderick was a board of trustee member at GCCC, and then worked under former athletic director Dennis Perryman.

Along with his terms in different capacities at the national level, Roderick has the experience to see issues from both the national and local levels, and the goals that are shared among colleges in a conference.

Among other appointments, Roderick has served as the Region VI women's director, on the Executive Committee, on the board of directors of USA Track and Field, secretary treasurer of the NJCAA Women's Division and 2nd vice president of the women's division.

Roderick graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in math, and then earned his master's in sports management from the United Sports Academy in 1990-91.

In 2013, Roderick was elected to the Kansas Collegiate Officials Hall of Fame.

The term for the NJCAA president is three years, and presidents may only serve two consecutive terms. Roderick will be the 18th president in NJCAA history.

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