| March 22, 2018

Presidential candidate Jack Payne on athletics at Idaho

October 15, 2013

The second of five Presidential candidates, Jack Payne, spoke Tuesday morning at the University of Idaho Administration Building, talking about his plan for the university and fielding questions from those in attendance.

Vandal Nation was in attendance and asked him what his role would be in fostering Idaho’s future as an FBS football playing school.

First, a little about Payne. Payne is currently the Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida. Prior to that he was the Vice President for Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University, also having stops as an administrator at Utah State University and Texas A&M, noting Tuesday morning that major college football has been everywhere he’s gone.

Payne didn’t quite address the question directly, but did answer what his philosophy would be in terms of his role in managing the athletic department as President.

Here is what he said, in chronological order:

“That especially asks the question when you’re planning budgets, what about the athletic programs? It’s asked all the time.”

“I’ve looked at it, I’ve looked at the studies, I know on one hand that studies have shown that there’s no relationship between whether you have an athletic program or not and the amount of success of the research institution. But, there are many studies that confirm the fact that having an athletic program is extremely important for large constituencies of the university community, it’s been shown time and time again how important it is for recruitment of students, how important it is to keep an engaged alumni, how important in town relationships.”

“So overall, as would-be President I would come down very much in favor of a strong athletic program, but with certain caveats. Because I think that you have to keep the main thing the main thing, and that’s why are we a university. That’s to create a renaissance individual, to educated that young man and woman and send them to be successful in life. The athletic program can’t get in the way and it shouldn’t have a separate set of rules. So it should subscribe to the same budget rules, decision making process that an academic partner or anything else in the university.”

And more specifically about the university’s conference re-alignment situation and how he would presumably delegate to his athletic director:

“I understand the whole gambit about all the universities that were moving around the country the last two years and changing conferences, a lot of those decisions that were made were independent of anything the University of Idaho could do. From what I understand from the discussions I’ve had with a few of the folks I’ve gotten to know is that the decisions that were made and hadn’t been made were made in the best interests for the student-athletes that we have and the health of the program.”

“My role as President would be, and I would say this with any part of the university, you hire the best people you can find and you put your trust in them, you let them run your organization. The ultimate responsibility rests with this office but you don’t want to micro-manage an athletic director, or dean or department director or anything. You have to put trust in the people you hire and make sure that they’re doing the job you expect them to do.”

For more information on Payne’s presentation on Tuesday morning, check out Argonaut reporter Kaitlyn Krasselt’s Twitter feed of the event.

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