During his tenure at Central Michigan as an Associate Athletics Director, Derek van der Merwe was the chairman of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee. He's seen a lot of changes of the past decade in the sport. Now, he's settled in as the Athletics Director at Austin Peay State University, or simply Austin Peay, a Division I school in Clarksville, Tenn.
We'll talk with van der Merwe on the following topics and more on Episode 105 of the Short Time Wrestling Podcast.
- First off, you've been at Austin Peay since June of 2013, how are you liking the digs down there in the Ohio Valley Conference?
- Let's go back in time a bit before we hit the main subject matter, which is the changing landscape of college athletics, you're originally from South Africa and came to the states as a youth. Started playing football late in high school and then walked on at CMU. As a walk-on athlete, what really drew you to college athletics?
- After your playing career ended, you went right into athletic administration. When did you know you wanted to follow that career path?
- So now you're at a school that doesn't have wrestling, but how actively are you keeping up with the Division I wrestling scene?
- So how many people have been pestering you to add wrestling at Austin Peay? I mean, you've already got a veteran wrestling broadcaster associated with the school in Van Stokes!
- Now on to the main topic of discussion. The Ed O'Bannon verdict came down and while it doesn't have the whole “blow up the system” type of reaction, there are still some things that will impact schools of various size. How do you think this outcome will impact schools like your alma mater at Central Michigan?
- What about schools like Austin Peay, which despite not having wrestling, is still going to figure out what your going to do.
- Is this decision going to be detrimental to programs many like to call “mid-majors?”
- You've also been a part of gender-equity reviews over the years. Are college sports fans missing the whole Title IX part of the outcome.
- Do you think full scholarship athletes should be paid in addition to what they're already getting? Do you think the partial scholarship athletes might be entitled to more cost-of-attendance types of stipends considering many of them are working jobs just to pay the difference in their tuition?
- So now we'll get to another topic and this kind of goes along with the little bit of prodding earlier. There's been a lot of growth at the enrollment-driven colleges at Division II and below, but very little movement with new programs in Division I. In a perfect world, what would have to happen for Austin Peay to start a wrestling program?