Amid the difficult circumstances COVID-19 has presented for the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), President Sean Decatur was named the president of the NCAC on Aug. 25 for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years. Denison University President Dr. Adam Weinberg was selected to serve as the Vice President.
Decatur takes over the position from former Wabash College President Dr. Gregory Hess, who stepped down to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for the International Education of Students Abroad. Previously, Decatur served as the vice president of the conference, a position which he held beginning July 1, 2019.
Founded in 1983, the NCAC is a member of the NCAA’s Division III and features competition in 23 sports, 11 for men and 12 for women. NCAC institutions have been extremely successful and have been awarded 73 national team championships. The NCAC aims to provide a “complementary relationship between intercollegiate athletics and the pursuit of academic excellence.” This academic and athletic balance is closely monitored by the 10 member schools and their presidents, who have taken an active role in the governance of the conference. Nearly 85 percent of NCAC student-athletes graduate from their institutions; comparatively, Kenyon graduates around 90 percent of their student-athletes. Decatur will look to improve this number for Kenyon and the nine other schools in the NCAC.
Decatur’s new responsibilities include leading and coordinating issues that arise from the NCAC Presidents’ Council. The council consists of 14 people: the presidents of the 10 member schools, the two co-chairs of the Athletic Directors Group and the two co-chairs of the Faculty Representatives. The council must approve any changes to the NCAC bylaws by majority vote.
When it comes time to vote, Decatur will consult with Kenyon’s Athletic Administration and the Kenyon Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Jill McCartney, Kenyon’s Director of Athletics, said that Kenyon was “proud to be a part of NCAC” due to the values that the conference holds. Decatur has received numerous accolades over the years for his work in the sciences and higher education. He has published writing in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times. He has also earned research grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Foundation and many more. Decatur will hope to provide a valuable perspective and carry on the conference’s standards as the NCAC attempts to return to play in the spring.