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Jayhawk Conference president Bryce Roderick will lead NJCAA

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 11:57 p.m.

If you’d like to schedule some time with Jayhawk Conference commissioner Bryce Roderick, you might want to do it before Aug. 1.

After that, he’s going to be a little busy — Roderick was elected NJCAA president on Saturday at the NJCAA’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs, a term that starts Aug. 1 and runs until 2017.

“It’s a lot more work, sure, but I’m excited about it,” Roderick said. “I think it’s good for the Jayhawk because it’s another mark for us, another way to show we’re one of the leading conferences in the country and show what we do nationally. I’m proud to represent the Jayhawk and the NJCAA.”

Roderick currently serves as second vice president within the NJCAA women’s division, chairman of the championship events committee, co-chair of the finance and budget committee and is a member of the strategic planning committee. His new role as NJCAA president will be in addition to his duties as Jayhawk commissioner and is an unpaid role.

Roderick set up his candidacy in February, filling out all the applications after getting the go-ahead from Hutchinson Community College president Ed Berger, who resides over the Jayhawk.

He’ll take over for current president and South Plains (Texas) athletic director Joe Tubb.

“A lot of what I’ll do as president means working closely with the different regional directors, who form the NJCAA board of directors,” Roderick said. “I won’t be at every national tournament, obviously, but I’ll be part of the team that oversee the overall operation of the NJCAA and will be working closely with (NJCAA executive director) Mary Ellen Leicht.”

Roderick seems to have been on the path to becoming president for quite some time — he spent 12 years as assistant athletic director at Garden City Community College before becoming Jayhawk commissioner in 2003, is a member of the Kansas Collegiate Officials Hall of Fame and formerly served on the board of directors for USA Track and Field.

“(Roderick) has had his hand in a lot of NJCAA things for the last two decades as a valued member,” Leicht said. “This is an opportunity for him to exert a little more leadership and guid the NJCAA in a positive direction. The NJCAA couldn’t be in better hands.”

Roderick’s presidency wasn’t the only news in Colorado Springs — the NJCAA modified its policy on amateurism in response to a growing problem within its ranks of trying to verify foreign athletes’ eligibility. Overseas, parent teams with their own club systems for young athletes can blur the line of when an athlete has actually gone pro.

The NJCAA’s new rule says anything that occured prior to an athlete’s full-time enrollment in college or 19th birthday — whatever comes first — won’t be looked at.

“A development league for a pro soccer team, for instance, can pay for travel and food expenses for a younger player, 16 or 17 years old, to come up and train with the professional players,” Roderick said. “Does that make them a pro, then? We’ve had some issues where those kids can’t go to junior colleges.”

Leicht didn’t anticipate any problems with transfers to the NCAA level.

“As we’ve had more individuals from outside of the U.S. come play, we’ve had a very difficult time to track the athletes,” Leicht said. “It’s become almost impossible to determine if young mend and young women have crossed the line between amateur versus professional. We modeled this after what the NCAA has done, to a certain degree, so it should not impact them transferring.”

Reach Tony Adame at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @t_adame.

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