Vision Forum

The Athletics Vision for the Second Century (AV2C) was detailed by President David Leebron and Athletic Director Rick Greenspan during an Athletic Forum on January 19, 2012.

Athletic Forum Video | Athletic Forum Transcript | Athletic Forum Photo Gallery (links)

Athletics Vision for the Second Century (AV2C) The Rice Athletics Department took the following steps, in partnership with University Leadership and feedback from key external constituents:

  1. We analyzed each sport program and administrative unit, along with the budget for each, in an effort to gauge strengths and weaknesses. We established three levels of budget: minimum, competitive and excellence.
  2. We also spent extensive time assessing facilities for impact on scholar-athlete well-being, recruiting and how BCS Conferences would perceive us. We analyzed facilities from various perspectives over the course of the last year and determined the highest capital priority was the construction of a new football team building. This facility, which will be utilized by all scholar-athletes, includes a rehabilitation area, training room and strength and conditioning space.
  3. We examined the state of fundraising and stakeholders attitudes toward the program. We re-configured the fundraising methodology with more emphasis placed on the Annual Fund (Owl Club) as a means of centralizing our efforts. We streamlined the fundraising approach.
Upon completion of this work it became evident our future had to be guided by a collaborative vision that could be clearly articulated, operationalized in stages as funding grew and measured through established metrics. Athletics Vision Rice aspires to excellence in all its endeavors as a premier university, and successful competition in the highest level of Division I-A athletics is an integral part of that commitment. To that end, we will recruit the most talented scholar-athletes, offer them a transformative academic experience and equip them with the skills to become leaders in all domains. Athletics Vision Consists Of Five Pillars: Pillar #1: Strengthen Campus and Community Rice University will continue to integrate its scholar-athletes into the mainstream of university life to the benefit of all students, faculty, staff and the broader community.
  • We will ensure our scholar-athletes actively engage in the educational experience and contribute to the overall leadership, diversity and selflessness of the student body.
  • We will continue to encourage our scholar-athletes to live on campus - through a random selection process; they are active members of their colleges and contributing citizens to the university. They regularly engage with the university and greater Houston community, and the experience enhances their educational experience in dynamic ways.
Pillar #2: Be Top Destination for Scholar-Athletes We will become the first choice for scholar-athletes who seek to maximize their potential on and off the field through participation in Division I-A athletics and through our commitment to the highest academic standards.
  • We will build on Rice's academic reputation and distinctive approach to undergraduate education in attracting the top scholar-athletes in the world by maintaining the university's high academic standards and reinforcing our commitment to developing leaders and selfless service.
  • We aspire to create a culture where our university, scholar-athletes, coaches, administrators, and supporters understand that success in the classroom and winning athletically will be a constant.
Pillar #3: Transforming Scholar-Athletes Into Tomorrow's Leaders We will demonstrate our deep commitment to our scholar-athletes by offering them a holistic and fulfilling student experience through our investments in programs and facilities to support their success off the field.
  • We will continue to build leaders who are equipped with "the knowledge, the skills and the values to make a distinctive impact in the world:"
  • We shall focus on the entire scholar-athlete - their physical, intellectual, social and leadership development.
  • We will strive for the top strength training and medical rehabilitation facilities, in collaboration with the Houston Medical Center, in Conference USA and regionally for our scholar-athletes.
  • We will shape and grow our advanced scholar-athlete leadership training.
  • We will encourage our scholar-athletes to participate in civic engagement programs for the purpose of testing selfless service throughout their life.
  • We will be leaders in career development resources for our scholar-athletes. We will continue to use our greatest resource - former scholar-athletes and Rice Alumni - in the areas of mentorship, role modeling and career development.
Pillar #4: Attract and Retain Superior Coaches We will attract and retain coaches and staff who care deeply about success in the fullest sense of the word: winning on the field and preparing scholar-athletes to be top performers and leaders after they have earned their degrees.
  • We seek coaches who have a demonstrated level of achievement in working at the highest ethical standard as measured by NCAA rules, personal history of citizenship and community service.
  • We seek coaches who aspire to work with the greatest level of scholar-athlete and fully embrace their roles in recruiting such talent. We seek coaches who remain the centerpiece of their teams' identities and serve as models of leadership to their players, the campus community, their coach peers and the broader public.
  • We seek coaches who have the intellectual capability to adequately prioritize, and balance, the academic demands of a Rice Scholar-Athlete with the rigors of Divison I-A athletics. Further, these coaches are dedicated to maximizing our scholar-athletes' athletic performance and to prepare them for leadership in a range of endeavors.
  • We seek coaches who possess attributes to win consistently at the Division I-A level, through their role as leader, motivator, mentor, recruiter, program ambassador, tactician, community member and fundraiser.
Pillar #5: Sustainable Model of Excellence We will create a "virtuous cycle" by making investments, raising funds and achieving a sustainable funding model that supports each of our pillars. Our ultimate objective is to create a business model (Virtuous Cycle of Excellence) that will sustain excellence in Division I-A Athletics and ensure our scholar-athletes have a well-rounded and meaningful educational experience. Shared commitment of success -- Begins with the Board of Trustees, Rice leaders and Rice Athletics sharing a commitment to achieving competitive success in Division I-A Athletics within the mission and core values of the university. Growth of philanthropic support for current and new donors -- Generate next level of philanthropic support - from new and existing donors -- that signals our dedication to competitive success. Premiere destination for scholar-athletes -- Compete nationally for top recruits and become the premier destination for scholar-athletes. Achieve greater competitive success -- and build upon our winning tradition. Increase visibility and revenue -- Bolster ticket sales and gate revenue in support of a sustainable budget cycle and open up marketing opportunities that will grow the Rice brand. Generate additional philanthropy -- Increased philanthropy in support of scholarships and capital projects... and so on. We must increase athletics philanthropy in a strategic, coordinated and streamlined manner. The education and buy-in of our constituents and the identification of new supporters are integral to this process.
  • Our Annual Fund (Owl Club) is critical to the enhancement and stability of the athletics budget.
  • Our goal for 2011-12 is $2M; a $750,000 increase from the previous year.
  • Our long-term goal for the Owl Club must be a yearly sum of $4M raised through current use gifts and scholarship endowment payout.
  • We currently receive about $1.7M per year from these scholarship endowments.
  • Our ability to remain current in facilities and support infrastructure will be depending solely philanthropy.
  • In addition to philanthropy, we must reach a point where we can dedicate staff and resources to grow our mass media presence and marketing effort and ticket sales efforts.