Now that she has completed her first semester as interim athletic director, Janet Lucas developed plans to change the landscape of CSUN athletics.
Lucas acknowledged the Blue Ribbon Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics began to investigate Matador athletics and will hopefully recommend improvements to the facilities on campus.
“The Blue Ribbon Commission was a group of folks internal and external to the university that were charged by the president to review the athletic program and set a roadmap for the program,” Lucas said. “The Blue Ribbon Commission has completed their work and we will hopefully hear their results in March.”
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics began on time in September and is on schedule, said university spokesperson John Chandler,
The Blue Ribbon Commission will have an announcement in March with President Koester, Chandler said. Then the President will decide in detail what to do with the recommendations from the commission and peruse them.
Chandler said he believes the commission is a necessity for the athletic program to raise sports awareness on campus and the surrounding area.
“This is what the university needs to do to raise the athletic performance here,” Chandler said. “Until now, the athletic department has not gotten the attention it needs. This (the Blue Ribbon on Commission Intercollegiate Athletics) is a good thing to know about. It will make campus more integrated.”
One positive result for Lucas was the amount of vacancies in the administration that were filled. When she took the interim athletic director position, there were over five job openings within the administration. As of today, Lucas said the only vacant position is the athletic director’s job, which she admitted she wants.
“I am interested in the (full-time) position,” Lucas said. “It would be a wonderful opportunity and I would enjoy the opportunity to help move this program a step further.”
Lucas said that she must go through the same interview process as everyone else who applied for the position. She said a search is underway for a permanent athletic director, adding that she hopes the position will be filled soon.
Even though she has the interim title by her name, Lucas has been running the athletic department as if she was going to be here for years. For example, as mentioned earlier by Lucas, the commission has been meeting. Lucas said there is talk of building a throwing area for the track and field teams on the north end of campus.
“It was my goal to keep us (the athletic’s department) moving forward,” Lucas said. “I did not want this to be a period of time where we in essence stalled because there was not permanent leadership. I wanted to make sure that if any changes were to be made, (they) were changes that were extremely good for the department and the university and would stay.”
One of the main changes on Lucas’s agenda is to decide on a logo for the athletic department that is consistent throughout campus. Lucas said that when someone looks around campus, they may see many different logos, adding that she believes it could be confusing. She acknowledged that there are a few options that are being discussed.
Options for the logo include the Northridge “N” that is seen on the baseball caps and the logo with the Matador holding a blanket that says “Cal State Northridge Matadors.”
A major focus, however, for both the athletic’s department and its marketing department is fundraising. When Lucas accepted the position as interim athletic director, she was replacing Dick Dull, who became the executive director of development for athletic facilities.
“The contacts and the progress that (Dull) has made are very good,” Lucas said. “We need to keep working extremely hard in order to make this all happen, Lucas said.
The administration has been helpful and is willing to work with the athletic program through this process of transition.
“One of the focuses has been integrate athletics and the campus to a far greater degree,” Lucas said. “We have a lot of people working on this campus working in support of the athletic program.”
Lucas said another marketing opportunity to expand knowledge of CSUN athletics is through the campus radio station, KCSN 88.5. Other college radio stations broadcast a portion of their athletic events. KCSN does not broadcast any athletic events. Lucas said she hopes that will change.
“We have had conversations with the radio station and there is a potential for broadcasting,” Lucas said. “However, right now it is not a viable concept for our campus station.”
Lucas said other media outlets are available, including video streaming over the Internet and televising certain games.
Lucas also acknowledged that there are plans to renovate the baseball field, the track field and the Matadome.
Concerning lights, Lucas acknowledged that they have been discussed.
None of the outdoor playing surfaces at CSUN have lights. All outdoor athletic events must be held during the day, and unless it is a weekend, the crowds are usually going to be smaller, Lucas said.
Because the baseball field is close to residents, the soccer field would be considered to receive lights before the baseball field, she said.
Lucas said that in order for the baseball field to receive lights the university would have to talk with residents around the field because some may not want lights.
Other renovations planned for the baseball field include an upgraded playing surface, more seating capacity and a new scoreboard, she said.
Lucas said she believes with all the attention and money that CSUN athletics has received, the campus itself has a bright future. She said she hopes in the near future, students can see soccer games at night.
“It is a very exciting time for Matador athletics,” Lucas said. “We are trying to use a foundation of integrity and equality experience for student-athletes. But also enhance the fan experience.”
Justin Satzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org