Mark Wilson, director of Athletics at Tennessee Tech, was recently selected to serve as the chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Committee for the 2015-2016 academic year. Wilson’s new position was announced Oct.1.
The NCAA Division I Football Committee is responsible for selecting teams to play in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. The committee chooses 14 at-large teams to compete in the field of 24 after the automatic qualifier schools have been determined by the conferences.
Wilson’s new role includes being responsible for conducting the committee’s meetings and conference calls during the season while still assisting in the selection process. He is also responsible for helping coordinate the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game.
Wilson is humbled by his peers’ decision to select him for the leadership role.
“It is a great honor. Anytime that your peers nominate you and elect you as the chair of an organization, that is really humbling,” said Wilson. “I just want to try to do my best job all year to represent the Ohio Valley Conference because I am the Ohio Valley Conference representative on the NCAA Division I committee and represent Tennessee Tech and our community in a positive light.”
Wilson’s other appointments have included being the chair of the OVC board of directors of athletics. He was part of the NCAA Leadership Council where he represented the OVC. Wilson is a nonvoting member on the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and is currently the first vice president of the FCS Athletics Directors Association Executive Committee.
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and Under Armour named Wilson as one of its four winners of the 2013 Athletic Director of the Year Award in the FCS.
Wilson’s 11 years as athletic director at Tennessee Tech have been highlighted by student-athletes’ academic success.
“I think it has been a variety of things,” said Wilson about Tech athletes succeeding academically. “I think our coaches recruit young men and women that have values that are similar to Tennessee Tech as a whole and that means finding young men and young women that are serious about their academics.”
Wilson mentioned that the creation of the Work Intensely Now (WIN) program at Tennessee Tech has helped prepare new student athletes for the strenuous life of a collegiate athlete. The program has all incoming freshmen meet at least once a week with their coach to discuss academic progress, time management and study skill techniques. The program also provides monitored study hours, tutoring and workshops for student athletes who are at risk of losing eligibility or not graduating.
Athletic programs at Tennessee Tech have had impressive Academic Progress Rates.In the 2014-2015 academic year, all 14 Tennessee Tech athletic teams earned a higher APR than the national standard of 930 for the NCAA multi-year APR. This marked the sixth consecutive year all Tech teams finished above the standard according to Lance Jasitt, Assistant Athletic Director for academics and student welfare. Also according to Jasitt, the combined student-athlete grade point average was above 3.0 for the Spring semester of 2015. Last semester marked the 13th consecutive semester that the combined GPA was over 3.0.
According to NCAA.org, the APR rating examines every student-athlete who is receiving athletically related financial aid. The student-athlete receives one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible. A team’s point total is divided by the points that are available on the team and is then multiplied by 1,000 to find the APR.
Wilson has placed importance on the athletic facilities at Tennessee Tech. The university recently completed renovations to the Hooper Eblen Center, including new seats installed this year and a new video board before the 2014-2015 academic year. Lighting has been improved at the Tech Soccer Field and Tucker Stadium. One of his largest facility changes for athletics came with the addition of the Athletics Performance Center in 2010.
Assistant Athletics Director for sports information and broadcasting Rob Schabert credits Wilson’s success to his passion and attention to details.
“He is passionate about succeeding at every aspect,” said Schabert. “He is fair, but he is very tough. He keeps his finger on every aspect of the department.”
“He has got his eye on every aspect of athletics from facilities, to the sports information and video operations, to academics and of course personnel and finances,” said Schabert. “He is involved in every single aspect of the department and knows where we are and where we should be going.”