Caldwell Named Penn State Faculty Athletics Representative

From the Spring 2011 RPTM Newsletter

Penn State President Graham Spanier has appointed Dr. Linda Caldwell, professor of recreation, park, and tourism management, to serve as Penn State's faculty athletics representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

A member of the College of Health and Human Development staff, Caldwell’s appointment was effective last summer. Caldwell replaced Dr. Scott Kretchmar, professor of exercise and sport science, who had previously served in that capacity for two five-year terms.

Spanier appointed Caldwell following consultation with the University's Faculty Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. All NCAA member institutions are required to appoint a faculty athletics representative.

A member of the Penn State faculty since 1995, Caldwell will represent faculty on all matters related to varsity athletics at University Park. She is responsible for ensuring that student-athletes meet all NCAA, conference, and institutional requirements for eligibility and that Penn State remains in good standing with the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. Caldwell also will develop periodic statistical reports on the academic preparation and performance of student-athletes.

"The media and the public spend an enormous amount of time focused on the coaches for our intercollegiate athletic teams, but this is actually one of the most important appointments a university can make related to its athletic program,” according to Penn State President Graham Spanier. “We believe Linda will do a great job upholding the high standards set by Scott and his predecessors.

“Students can’t be successful on the field or the court if they don’t first succeed in the classroom,” Spanier said. “This position helps us keep those values in proper perspective.”

A 1976 graduate of Penn State, Caldwell earned a master’s degree in recreation resources administration in 1982 from North Carolina State University. She earned a Ph. D. in recreation in 1986 from the University of Maryland.

Upon earning her Ph.D., Caldwell was an assistant professor from 1986-89 at the University of Waterloo and from 1989-93 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in their respective departments of leisure studies. From 1993-95, Caldwell was a part-time professor at the University of Georgia in recreation and leisure studies while also doing research for the USDA Forest Service.

Caldwell returned to her alma mater in 1995 and was a member of the University's Faculty Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics from 1999-2002, serving as vice-chair in 2001-02.

Penn State has one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, sponsoring twenty-nine intercollegiate varsity sport programs (fifteen men’s and fourteen women’s), with approximately 800 student-athletes. The Nittany Lions have won sixty-six team national championships all-time, including nineteen NCAA titles since joining the Big Ten Conference in 1993-94, with sixty-four Big Ten championships.

Penn State student-athletes have earned a school record Graduation Success Rate of 89 percent in the last two NCAA Graduation Rate Reports. The Nittany Lions rank third in the nation with 152 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans, including a school record 11 during the 2008-09 academic year and 5 more during the 2009 fall semester.