BY AARON BRENNER
CLEMSON – A little more than six months into his new full-time position, Dan Radakovich has potentially even bigger fish to fry in addition to leading Clemson’s athletic department.
Radakovich has been tabbed as one of 10 athletic directors on the NCAA’s newly formed council to advise NCAA president Mark Emmert and his senior staff, a Clemson athletic department spokesperson confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
The organization that oversees college sports has come under fire for recent compliance and leadership snafus, leaving Emmert with negative approval ratings from fans and media.
Emmert spoke to the Wall Street Journal Saturday about the council, which will transfer greater decision-making privileges from college presidents to athletic directors. He plans on empowering athletic directors to set regulations on recruiting and the leadership of national championships.
“It’s clear right now where the association has gone, it’s pushed the pendulum too far in one direction,” Emmert told the WSJ. “And it really has cut athletic directors out of the national discussion.”
Radakovich, 55, reportedly joins Ohio State’s Gene Smith, Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart, Arizona’s Greg Byrne, Kansas State’s John Currie and Connecticut’s Warde Manuel on the council — giving each power conference one representative.
San Jose State’s Gene Bleymaier and Central Michigan’s Dave Heeke, plus Peter Fields of Division I-AA Montana State and Peg Bradley-Doppes from Division I-AAA Denver, round out the group.
Of those 10 athletic directors, Radakovich is the only one entering his first football season at his current school. Bleymaier and Manuel also have been at their posts for less than two years.
“It comes as part of working hard and a lot about just showing up and listening and learning,” Radakovich told The Post and Courier last month. “College athletics is not about astro-physics; it’s a lot about interacting and reaching out to the people who invest in your program and finding out what they’re thinking. It’s about interacting with student-athletes and coaches.”
According to the WSJ article, the council will meet with Emmert and his staff regularly, beginning in July.
There currently exists a council of around 20 members that meet biannually with NCAA presidents, and has done so since the late 1990s.
“We’ve had this other group in place for 16 years, so to create this new group was somewhat of a surprise,” Dutch Baughman, executive director of the Division I-A Athletic Directors’ Association, told the WSJ.
A story in this week’s Sports Illustrated revolved around the NCAA’s investigation of Miami football infractions — the NCAA later admitted it involved evidence improperly — and subsequent departures of high-ranking compliance enforcement officers.
Radakovich took over from Terry Don Phillips on Dec. 1, defecting from Georgia Tech where he spent the previous six years. Radakovich also served five years as senior associate athletic director at LSU, and was South Carolina’s chief financial officer from 1994-2000.
“Dan Radakovich understands the academic, business and competitive aspects of college athletics,” Clemson president Jim Barker said upon hiring Radakovich last Oct. 29. “He has been successful in the ACC and SEC, and he is known and respected among coaches and athletic directors nationwide.”
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