Debbie Snell joined Union’s Department of Athletics in July 2013 as the associate vice president for compliance and athletic programs.
Snell’s leadership in her current role prepares Union for its final year of transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Gulf South Conference.
“Unlike NAIA, which allows institutions to be self-governing, the NCAA has a governing body that tells [institutions] what to do,” said Katie Woodruff, associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator.
Snell is responsible for overseeing all aspects of compliance at the university, helping to create an environment that is well versed in NCAA doctrine.
“My job is to educate the university’s administration, coaches, staff, student athletes and boosters about NCAA policies,” Snell said. “I am also responsible for reporting any violations of rules to the NCAA.”
To establish protocol on campus, Snell meets with students and coaches bi-weekly to discuss new rules and updates to existing policies as well as address any problems or concerns.
“I’m glad God brought me to Union,” Snell said. “I am excited to be here and serve alongside Dr. Dockery and Dr. Tidwell, whom I admire.”
Snell is no stranger to the world of athletic administration.
She comes to Union from California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif., where she served for three years as associate director of athletics for compliance and senior woman administrator.
Before working at that university, Snell was associate director of athletics/internal operations at Dominican University in San Rafael, Calif.
Snell has also served as director of athletics at Texas A&M International University and associate director of athletics for compliance and academics at Campbell (N.C.) University.
Woodruff said having someone with Snell’s experience at Union will make the university’s provisional year in NCAA a smoother transition.
The NCAA is the governing body of many intercollegiate sports.
Each school regulated by the NCAA has established rules on eligibility, recruiting and financial aid and falls into one of three membership divisions: I, II and III.
Divisions are based on college size and the scope of their athletics programs and scholarships. Union applied for admittance into the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference in the summer of 2011.
NCAA representatives notified Union President David Dockery in July of 2011 that Union had been approved by the NCAA Division II membership.
“Full members into the NCAA will be wonderful exposure for the institution,” Snell said. “People know and recognize the NCAA brand. It will attract studentathletes and staff who may not have otherwise had interest in the university.”
The university is in its final year of the three-year process. Representatives from NCAA are expected on campus Sept. 25 for a “blue print review,” a review that will ensure that Union is NCAA compliant in both writer form and in application.
The committee will be expected to make a decision on Union’s full membership into the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference next summer.
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