Babson Athletics Strategic Plan

As is done regularly in all areas of the College, the Board of Trustees undertook a thorough review of our athletics and recreation program in the 2011-12 academic year. The charge from the Board was to review our Department of Athletics and Recreation in light of our focus on creating a global community that strives to challenge and develop our students, both inside and outside the classroom. This included benchmarking our programs and resource investment with the institutions we compete with for students in general as well as those we compete with for student-athletes.

Below is an outline of the process, findings and recommendations.

Executive Summary
•Babson’s Athletic program is stable and well-operated. The program achieves episodic but not program-wide success and rarely engages the community as broadly or passionately as many of its peers.
•A plan to move all Athletics (Varsity, Club, Intramural, Recreation) to a position consistent with Babson's Centennial vision has been identified and is actionable.
•Athletic success can be leveraged to increase brand equity, community engagement, and fundraising.
•An increased annual operating investment is required to move spending from 4th quartile to lower 2nd quartile against a NEWMAC/NESCAC peer group.
•Advancement opportunities will significantly lower net investment.
•Athletic plans are dependent upon fulfillment of master plan.

Review Process,  Mission, & Goals

Process
•Conducted campus-wide survey with over 600 respondents
•Conducted 20 on-campus interviews with governance, administration, coaches, faculty and alumni
•Developed new mission for Department of Athletics and Recreation, and new goals for varsity, club and recreation
•Interviewed 15 coaches on programmatic needs to achieve new goals
•Held 4 meetings with entire athletics staff on direction of Task Force work
•Held 1 meeting with Undergraduate Cabinet on direction of Task Force work
•Reviewed operational needs developed by 5 subcommittees (Club Sports, Sports Medicine, Sports Information, Strength and Conditioning, Equipment)

Mission
At Babson College, athletics is an integral part of the Babson Experience. Babson supports comprehensive programs for its diverse community at the varsity, club and intramural level. Babson athletes are expected to excel athletically as well as academically while exhibiting the highest level of sportsmanship, leadership, integrity and honor.  Babson’s academic and athletics missions reinforce each other through the practice of entrepreneurial thought and action.

Varsity Goals
Our varsity programs focus on excellence by winning and consistently competing for their conference championship while delivering a rewarding student experience.

Club Goals
The Club Sport programs (student-led and College supported teams) will focus on sustained participation, effective student leadership, rewarding student experiences and being a positive representative of the College.

Intramurals and Recreation
Intramurals and recreation programs are a diverse set of activities influenced by demand where success is defined by maximizing participation, inclusivity, and the ability to blend the entire Babson Community in common space.

Findings
•Operational support (sports medicine, equipment, strength and conditioning) is not equipped to meet current needs of programs, let alone new goals.
•Financial benchmarking against 20 peer institutions illustrates Athletics is in 3rd /4th quartile for overall expenditures, overall expenditures minus football, and overall expenditures per sport.
•Opportunities exist to make immediate impact on student-athlete experience with regards to meals, travel and equipment.
•Admission practices with regards to student-athletes are excellent. Collaboration between Athletics and Admissions is exemplary and could be used as a model for other areas.
•Minor facility improvements cannot wait 5-10 years.

Recommendations

Varsity Sports
•Create systematic review process to evaluate sports portfolio.
•Implement and invest in new coaching model.
•Evaluate market data to ensure a high level of coaching, as well as retain quality coaches and support staff.

Club Sports
•Implement new club sport model to provide greater transparency and structure to our students. This will be a three-tier club sport model with different clubs being afforded specific resources based on tier.

Recreation/Intramurals
•Invigorate intramural program/recreational programming to maximize participation across the entire Babson community. Evaluate current recreational/fitness programming opportunities across campus. Consolidate opportunities under one office and create additional programming.

Strategic Support
•Increase financial support for recruiting to provide coaches the resources to establish relationships and attract top prospects from around the globe.
•Modernize the sports information model to provide greater efficiency, adaptability and flexibility.
•Re-establish an athletics advisory committee to assess the investments made by the College based on these findings.
•Create a group to reengineer the summer camps model to provide optimal solutions for Babson and for coaches.
•Develop and implement a specific advancement strategy around athletics and recreation.
•Identify athletics as a Centennial priority.

Operational Support
•Invest in student-athlete development and programming to support student-athlete life skills and reinforce athletics and recreational goals against institutional learning priorities.
•Expand support in sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and equipment.
•Quick Fix-Increase institutional support for “required” training trips, student-athlete meals, and equipment.

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