PacWest Strategic Plan (2012-15)



To become the premier and most diverse NCAA Division II conference.


To enable its member institutions to champion the highest levels of student-athlete excellence in the classroom, in competition, on campus, and in the community.


1. To strategically manage growth and expansion to achieve the most balanced conference size

A. Priority Action 1A: Establish our geographic footprint, including travel and fiscal goals, pod size and number of pods, and optimum number of schools

i. Strategy(ies): Membership committee, working with Commissioner, assesses our current size, travel patterns, competitiveness, and potential size and communicates with Athletic Directors and Presidents for input and approval

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Commissioner, in collaboration with Membership Committee, with oversight by Chair and Presidents/Chancellors and input from Athletic Directors

iii. Benchmark: Review and assess where we are now (10 school conference) and where we will be for next two years (14 school conference), with report from Commissioner, Membership committee and Scheduling Committees at our annual meetings

iv. Target/Outcome: In three years, build towards the optimum number of schools (as determined in Priority Action 1), noting that the number may be fluid as we continue to achieve the most balanced conference size

B. Priority Action 1B: Identify schools of interest within our geographic footprint

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Membership committee, in coordination with Commissioner, communicates with schools of interest and reports back to the ADs, Presidents; and

b) Consider geographical location of applicants for conference membership and how it is aligned with recruiting regions from member institutions (i.e., expanding conference membership should be compatible with enrollment and recruiting areas for member institutions.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Commissioner, in collaboration with Membership Committee, with oversight by Chair and Presidents/Chancellors and input from Athletic Directors

iii. Benchmark: Currently, five schools spanning southern California, northern California, Utah, New Mexico and Oregon have expressed varying degrees of interest in the PacWest, and the Membership Committee has expressed interest in as many as eight different schools within the West Region for consideration.

iv. Target/Outcome: By July 1, 2015, at least 16 schools will have expressed interest by submitting an application for membership with the PacWest Conference; at least half of these schools will be located in geographical areas where current member institutions now recruit prospective students and enroll matriculating students.

C. Priority Action 1C: Generate presidential/chancellor involvement in the communication process with schools of interest

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Commissioner works with the Presidents to determine specific communication efforts with schools of interest to recruit them for conference membership;

b) Engage in ongoing communication between conference office, ADs, and Presidents about conference goals, keeping Presidents and campus stakeholders continually engaged in the communication process.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Commissioner, in collaboration with Assistant Commissions for Media Relations, with oversight by Chair and Presidents/Chancellors

iii. Benchmark: Current pathways for communication and collaboration to engage Chancellors/Presidents now include the annual meeting in June, with ad hoc phone conferences scheduled as needed.

iv. Target/Outcome:

a) By May 1, 2015, using baseline survey data from Fall 2012, Presidents/Chancellors will self-report a greater level of engagement with and increased awareness about PacWest Conference issues, concerns, etc.,

b) By January 1, 2015, each President/Chancellor will have been involved in at least one “reach out” to a prospective member institution

2. To strengthen our conference brand locally, regionally, and nationally

A. Priority Action 2A: Understand and leverage the most current tools to create and build a market and establish a brand for the PacWest Brand.  Noting that entertainment is the key to holding attention through engagement, technologies associated with “new media,” will be used to reach a broader audience.  New forms of information dissemination will include, but are not limited to, email, voice, graphics, video, social networking, etc.

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Be flexible in identifying trends to use

b) Be resourceful in producing content

c) Stay creative with messaging

d) Be inclusive in representing member schools

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Form a small committee of member institution “creative,” to be co-chaired by one campus-based Sports Information Director and the Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations.

iii. Benchmark: New initiative; no baseline available.

iv. Target/Outcome: By Fall 2014, become a leading conference in the use of new media entertainment to elevate its brand, with GNAC and CCAA as our noted competitors, as determined by (a) a “straw poll” of all AD’s and Presidents/Chancellors from institutions in West Region conferences; (b) focus group feedback from selected media representatives; and (c) self-study review conducted by the SID’s in consort with the Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations.

B. Priority Action 2B: Identify and deploy brand loyalty philosophy and programs, using social media strategically to (1) differentiate the Conference as a Division II (versus NBA or NFL) entity, e.g., Oregon Ducks; (2) integrate with member institution marketing efforts, both traditional and digital; (3) capitalize on video to connect fans and athletes; and (4) support grassroots efforts to cultivate our niche.

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Enhance experiential – Games, tailgates, fan days, alumni and community outreach, etc.

b) Improve earned – working with local, regional and national media to tell PacWest story.

c) Develop owned – Social media efforts, online branding, in-house video production, licensing rights, TV & radio shows.

d) Integrate paid – Traditional and non-traditional marketing outreach.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Conference Brand Committee, chaired/convened by the Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations

iii. Benchmark: Currently in “garage/laboratory mode” so no baseline.

iv. Target/Outcome: By Fall 2014, annually deploy a multi-faceted (experiential, earned, owned, and paid) PacWest Conference brand loyalty plan.

C. Priority Action 2C: Develop a strategic positioning document that demonstrates how the PacWest Conference’s mission (brand), positioning statement (who we are), attributes (what we stand for), audience benefits (benefits of the PacWest experience), and features (reasons to believe in the PacWest) align with those of NCAA Division II (see

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Conduct focus groups with various PacWest Conference constituencies, including but not limited to: Presidents/Chancellors, Athletic Directors, coaching staff, FAR’s, academic advisors, athletic trainers, sports information directors, parents, fans, corporate sponsors, and most importantly: student-athletes (including SAAC) to solicit their input on aspects of our strategic positioning;

b) Conduct a document analysis to include but not limited to: PacWest documents, manuals, information brochures, websites, campus recruitment materials, etc. to determine themes and consistent concepts regarding strategic positioning; and

c) Review results of the Fall 2011 PacWest Strategic Planning consultation survey for elements regarding strategic positioning.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations, in collaboration with the Sports Information Directors

iii. Benchmark: Document currently does not exist.

iv. Target/Outcome:

a) By May 31, 2013, disseminate draft strategic positioning statement for review/feedback by all PacWest constituents

b) By September 1, 2013, disseminate the new strategic positioning document for use by the Conference and by member institutions

3. To maximize our value to member institutions while ensuring fiscal responsibility.

A. Priority Action 3A: The Conference will continue to seek ways to control costs and enhance revenues.

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Conference Office will actively seek to negotiate group pricing discounts for airlines, hotels, group transportation, and other services. Expand to other services such as rental cars;

b) Scheduling and Championship Committees, in consort with the Conference Office, will strengthen implementation of pod scheduling, championship tournaments and other scheduling tactics to optimize use of travel dollars;

c) The Conference will monitor the cost of tournaments and seek ways to control the costs of tournaments;

d) The Conference will monitor the restrictions on travel rosters for impact on costs; and

e) The Conference will seek additional grant funding for conference enhancements.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Commissioner, in collaboration with Scheduling Committee and with Championship Committee

iii. Benchmark:

a) Identify services offered for group pricing 2011-12

b) Identify pod scheduling already in place 2011-12

c) Project costs of initial basketball tournaments in 2012-13

d) Document costs by sport and by institution during 2011-12

e) Document grants sought and grants received annually between 2009-2012

iv. Target/Outcome:

a) Additional savings achieved via group pricing in each successive year until 2014-15

b) Travel costs by sport and by institution at a minimum remain flat by 2014-15, and/or member institutions realized greater fiscal efficiencies individually and collectively

c) Perceive level of competitiveness has not decreased, as determined by focus groups and survey of the Conference constituencies

d) Increase by 5% the amount of grant dollars applied for annually through 2014-15

e) Increase by 3% the amount of grant monies received each year through 2014-15

f) Plans for championship conference tournaments in all official PacWest sports to be instituted by the start of the 2014-15 athletic season

B. Priority Action 3B: The Conference Office facilitates ongoing education, communication and resource sharing among like roles in the conference institutions.

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Conduct quarterly conference calls/web conferences of professionals who fulfill similar functions;

b) Promote existing or create new professional development opportunities either via Conference-based educational sessions or grant funding;

c) Build a broader base of connected entities within the conference to get stakeholders to work together (e.g., Chief Academic Officers, FARs,  admissions officers, international program staff, compliance officers, academic advisors, athletic trainers, SWAs, etc.);

d) Develop function-based e-newsletters (e.g., compliance, SID, SWA) in order to enhance information exchange, on a quarterly or biannual basis. 

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Commissioner, with assistance from Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations, in collaboration with a liaison for each functional areas designated from one member institution on a rotating basis

iii. Target/Outcome

a) At least 70% of all identified stakeholders at member institutions across the Conference will have participated in at least one meeting via phone, Skype, or in person to discuss Conference-related issues

b) Via survey, self-reported level of engagement with and knowledge about Conference-related issues will increase by August 1, 2014

4. To create consistent and clear structures for organized athletic competition and excellence while promoting “life in the balance.”

A. Priority Action 4A: To the greatest extent possible promote positive game environments by instituting unified procedures with regard to sportsmanship.

i. Strategy(ies): Creation and promotion of a sportsmanship handbook with a procedural follow-up conducted by an independent consultant.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies):  Assistant Commissioner for Compliance, in collaboration with the Game Management Committee and Compliance Committee

iii. Benchmark:  No such handbook exists at this time; portions of procedures can be found in the Conference by-laws.

iv. Target/Outcome:

a) By May 1, 2014, handbook is completed and disseminated

b) By August 1, 2015, implementation of designated procedures begins

B. Priority Action 4B: Have guidelines to govern scheduling that take into account the challenges associated with the geographical dispersion of our Conference but also reduce and minimized extended missed-class opportunities.

i. Strategy(ies): Develop, adopt and implement general principles that will help facilitate or promote the principles of life in the balance for student-athletes.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies):  Conference Commissioner, in close communication with the Scheduling Committee and staff liaisons responsible for scheduling at the member institutions

iii. Benchmark: Review and assess current schedules to determine deficiencies and inconsistencies, as well as areas for concern with regard to missed-class time.

iv. Target/Outcome:

a) By Fall 2014, develop a scheduling pattern reflecting desired guidelines that address geographic challenges and missed class time in a fair, equitable manner

b) By Fall 2015, develop consistency in the schedule by restricting contests to certain days of the week in each geographical pod

C. Priority Action 4C: Continue to develop and refine game management and game operations procedures that are consistent with best practices in intercollegiate athletics.

i. Strategy(ies):

a) Develop a set of practical minimum standards which all member institutions must meet; and

b) Articulate a set of philosophical values which will guide actions/decisions by all member institutions.

ii. Responsible Entity(ies): Commissioner, in collaboration with Game Management Committee, as well as Sport Information Directors and game management personnel from the various campuses.

iii. Benchmark: Review current game operations guidelines and regulations in place for each sport to determine areas of concern or deficiency.

iv. Target/Outcome:

a) Develop draft game operations guidelines and sports regulations for review and recommendation by various committees by January 1, 2014;

b) Incorporate revisions and recommendations and ensure AD’s provide final approval for updated game operations guidelines and sports regulations by May 31, 2014

c) Begin implementation of new regulations by August 1, 2014

d) Game Management Committee and game management personnel on the various campuses will review implementation throughout 2014-15 and provide documentation of deviations from approved regulations and recommendations for improvement by August 1, 2015


1. Promote positive, balanced student-athlete experiences;

2. Foster excellence for student-athletes, teams, institutions, and the Conference;

3. Embrace diversity and inclusivity; and

4. Lead, work and compete with integrity and sportsmanship at all times.