Director of Athletics
Abilene Christian University’s Jared Mosley, in his eighth year as Athletic Director, is navigating a move to the Southland Conference, as well as a jump from NCAA Division II to Division I. Jared was good enough to answer a few questions for Win AD about the move and his experience as an Athletic Director.
What made the Southland Conference an appealing choice for Abilene Christian? For ACU, the decision to pursue a change in divisional affiliation and join the Southland Conference was centered around positioning our athletic program to best serve and fulfill the greater missions and vision for ACU. Given our history with the Southland Conference, as a founding member of the conference in 1963, we feel the proximity to campus, exposure in key recruiting markets for the institution, and the academic benefits we anticipate realizing in Division I, make it a really good fit moving forward.
What were the strategic focuses for your program over the last 3-5 years to put ACU Athletics in this position? At ACU, we have really spent a significant amount of energy focusing on developing nationally competitive programs, increasing academic success and graduation rates among student-athletes, and providing the personal and spiritual development that we feel is essential to life-long success for our student-athletes after they graduate. Our desire is for the young men and women who choose ACU to look back and say that they were given an amazing opportunity to fulfill their athletic ambitions, to walk away with a world class education, and most importantly an understanding of how God has blessed them with talents and abilities that can then be used to make a significant impact in the world they enter into. The competitive goals we establish in Division I might change a bit, given the landscape and realities for low-mid major institutions, but the overarching principles of excellence we aspire to will not.
Name one recent, innovative initiative you’ve implemented and discuss the impact? I don’t know that I could point to one, but technology in general in our industry is creating great opportunities and improvements in efficiencies that allow our coaches and staff to really focus their energy on strategic priorities. We’ve recently started using an online compliance monitoring system, new ticketing system, video/film editing, and a document management system. All of these advances really free up time and allow our staff to focus on key strategic initiatives and not have to spend so much time filtering through information and data that quickly accumulates in athletic departments.
What one thing keeps you up at night and how are you preparing to meet that challenge? The two areas that come to mind are NCAA compliance and working to ensure we have a financial model in place to support the needs of our programs during difficult economic times. Deficiencies in either of these areas can quickly derail and set back a program for years. We have really spent a significant amount of time and resources in these two areas to move things forward in our programs. Additional staff, technology, and certainly a well thought out communication plan can minimize these risks moving forward.
Advice for other young NCAA Admins hoping to become ADs? One of the most valuable experiences for me personally was to expose myself to as many areas of athletic administration as possible. I worked in compliance, ticketing, game day and event management, facilities, fundraising, and other key areas of athletic operations. These experiences really provided me with a great foundation to truly understand the complexities that exist in intercollegiate athletics and to strategically plan a course of action that is best for our programs. I’d also encourage young administrators to go and learn from industry leaders as they can. I still try to visit 2-3 institutions or business leaders each year to learn processes, better understand trends, and gain additional perspective that will help me become a more effective leader.
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The decision to pursue a change in divisional affiliation and join the Southland Conference was centered around positioning the athletic program to best serve and fulfill the greater missions and vision for ACU. Given ACU's history with the Southland Conference--the proximity to campus, exposure in key recruiting markets for the institution, and the academic benefits ACU anticipates realizing in Division I--all of those factors make it a really good fit moving forward.