Last night, April 30 in the Fuller Arts Center, the Athletic Administration graduate program hosted the sixth installment of its Athletic Administration Leadership series, a discussion featuring Anucha Browne, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s vice president of women’s basketball championships. Browne was brought to Springfield by Professor Joel Dearing after Dearing learned of the speaker through a paper written by one of his students, Rachel Raymond, a first-year graduate student in Athletic Administration. In her paper, Raymond discussed the “White Paper,” a study written by former WNBA head Val Ackerman, which includes a list of suggestions to improve the status of collegiate women’s basketball.
“The White Paper originally came out in June of last year,” Raymond said. “Then, around September or October, all of these officials in the NCAA were getting together to talk about the paper and the recommendations that were being made. I used that in a presentation in my finance class with Professor Dearing. When we were thinking about who we wanted to come in for the speaker for the spring semester, Anucha’s name came up on the list.”
Browne said that these recommendations allow administrators to look at the sport and ask what they want the game of basketball to look like.
“Fewer and fewer girls are going into basketball because of all the options available to them,” Browne said. “We are focusing on making the sport attractive to youth. We challenged coaches to be more active and engaged in the development of the sport, but that takes a lot of dialogue.”
Browne similarly discussed how she and others hope to improve visibility of the sport on a collegiate level.
“Brand-building in women’s basketball all comes down to leadership,” Browne said. “Creating revenue in women’s basketball is about getting out and connecting to the community.”
One of Browne’s central goals is to maintain a core of women coaches within the sport through focusing on mentoring, leadership and development.
Raymond said that these qualities can also be helpful when becoming an athletic administrator.
“It’s really important to go out there and get what you want in terms of being an administrator,” Raymond said. “With all the changes that could be coming into the NCAA, you have to be flexible and roll with the punches, but ultimately it’s all about the student-athlete experience and doing what’s best for the student-athlete.”
Springfield College prides itself on creating leaders, and Browne’s ending advice to future athletic administrators is something that applies to all members of the college community.
“Leadership involves taking a stand on different issues, even if you’re standing alone, and challenging traditional views,” Browne said. “That’s part of the collegiate experience.