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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Former NCCU AD looks to clear the air after board meeting

Former NCCU AD looks to clear the air after board meeting


Former North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree is speaking out regarding eyes looking her way into the athletics department’s budget issues.

Wicker McCree shared an HBCU Gameday story in which administrators, including her successor Dr. Skip Perkins, alluded to her tenure when discussing budget challenges. She spent nearly 30 years at the school as a coach and administrator as well at NCCU. 

Here is her response to the article in full.

I have remained quiet trying to decide how or IF I wanted to respond. As I have embarked upon two years (June 1, 2024) in retirement from NCCU, I somehow seem to be at the center of attention based on the article and feedback. For those who have reached out to me to ask for clarity, thanks. You remembered that I lead with Kindness, Gratitude, Grace and Transparency. 

I’ve thought about starting a blog about my experiences and leadership in general, so, I guess this will be my first.  I will share some facts so that those who want to have a clearer understanding of how things work, here is what I know after serving one of the BEST schools in the NCAA for 28 years as a coach, adjunct, and AD and currently working in the industry with some amazing leaders and organizations STILL trying to have a positive impact on our young people and athletic leaders. ALL of this information is public knowledge. 

Every FCS departments has deficit issues, fundraising challenges, insurance issues, and just plain “Not enough money” issues.  The key is to have a plan. The athletics budget was near $15M at one point before COVID 19, and then things changed just like they did for EVERY collegiate program.  Our budget was cut by $2.8M which caused shortfalls in staffing, travel, equipment,  game day operations, pretty much the entire budget which included furloughs. 

In 2017, the “previous administration” -ie I guess “Me”, shared with the NCCU BOT what was needed to be competitive as a D1 member and even asked what it would look like transitioning back to D2. The number needed to sustain a D1 FCS program at that time for NCCU, was $17-$19M with the university assisting in supporting the budget just like 90-95% of all D1 FCS programs. FCS programs are predominantly funded by student athletic fees, university support, then everything else. Interestingly, we also quantified the value of student-athlete’s contribution to the university which was at that time, $3.2M (and this did not include State appropriations per in-state student-athlete). This report was presented to the NCCU BOT several times.  So, contrary to what people believe, not all 300+ student-athletes were on full athletic aid and there is a positive impact from student-athletes on the finances of the university. 

NCCU

NCAA Division I is and will always be a challenge for every member institution except for a handful and even some of those schools will struggle with the new NIL, compensation and other legislation that is being passed to better support our young men and women. So, yes, You have to be creative to raise funds and Peak Sports was an opportunity to do that. Learfield, Taymar Sports, Aspire, and many other third party companies base their partnerships off of shared revenue. Duke, UNC, NCSU, App State, ECU, Elon, and other D1 programs have sports properties that have similar revenue sharing deals to increase the bottom line and meet budget projections bc that’s what it is, a projection, a loan, for which the athletics program has to technically “pay back” the University each year by meeting its revenue goals. 

So, the contract with Peak is not a “new” concept but rather what is industry standard when a school decides to outsource corporate sponsorships or ticket sales or marketing. To be more specific, NCCU submitted an RFP to find the best company to assist with sponsorship  deals. Three companies submitted their bids through the North Carolina state Purchasing system.  This was a decision made by several entities and leaders on campus, not just the Lil ol’ AD. 

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The State Purchasing Bid Process engages the Department, Finance and Administration, Legal Counsel, Chancellor and BOT (for selected bids). This goes for all major contracts/agreements to include employee contracts…. multiple conversations with the involved stakeholders before approvals are made. ADs manage a diverse population of constituents daily trying to bring harmony to all. It’s a tough job! 

During the first year of the Peak partnerships, reports were made at every NCCU BOT meeting sharing the progress made and revenue generated. Peak provided two full time staff members (paid for by Peak) whose sole job was to manage the sponsorship process in collaboration with the athletics staff member(s). The revenue share was 60% to NCCU, 40% to Peak ONLY on corporate sponsorships and marketing transactions, not on individual donations or other aspects of fundraising. However. I believe that revenue sharing breakdown has slightly changed to better benefit NCCU, but don’t quote me, I haven’t been there lately. 

As for medical bills, you must have a process in place which includes the health care providers, athletics staff members, and university accounts payable in order to facilitate the insurance claims process. If all of those entities are not in sync……you will have medical bills issues. Period. Athletics needs a medical billing specialist and a sound process to prevent this from reoccurring.  

I will say this, leaders have to make decisions they feel will benefit all stakeholders. Sometimes these decisions are fabulous, and sometimes they are not.  But, at the end of the day, you gather as much information, data, and feedback from your team members, then you make the very best decision for your student-athletes, the University, and stakeholders, in that order. 

I have  faith that the current administration with Chancellor Dixon leading the way will  FIND A WAY FORWARD, that’s what Eagles Do!

Shortly before Ingrid Wicker McCree’s commentary on Facebook, HBCU Gameday obtained a copy of a letter sent from Peak Sports representatives to the North Carolina Central University Board of Trustees regarding information at the aforementioned BOT meeting. 

Former NCCU AD looks to clear the air after board meeting







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