SALISBURY -- Dick Schultz came here last night to enjoy what he said was "really the pure college athletic experience."
An awards banquet at Division III, non-scholarship Salisbury State brought Schultz to the Eastern Shore, but it was his involvement with the other side of the college athletic spectrum that ended his tenure as executive director of the NCAA.
On Tuesday, Schultz announced that he was resigning because of illegal booster activities at Virginia in the 1980s, while he was athletic director. Despite two unanimous votes of confidence from the NCAA Executive Committee and what he said was the support of a vast majority of the organization's members, Schultz decided he didn't want to risk damaging its reputation after several years of successful reform.
"I didn't know rules were being broken, and the violations were relatively small," Schultz said yesterday afternoon. "They were secondary violations that weren't reported and then became major violations. I hope it [his resignation] will preserve the credibility of the organization and the work that we've been able to accomplish."
Schultz was to visit UMES today. In light of the burgeoning NCAA rule book, he was asked how a small athletic department such as UMES' was supposed to comply with complex rules and regulations, when a well-staffed program such as Virginia's couldn't.
"The smaller the school, the less the potential for problems to develop," Schultz said. "We didn't have any problems within the athletic department at Virginia. I never worried about the staff. The problem was with the foundation [Virginia's main booster club]."
Last night, Schultz fulfilled an obligation he had made months ago to Bill Lide, then the Salisbury State athletic director and one of the 11 Division III representatives of the NCAA Council who since has moved on to West Chester. A licensed pilot, Schultz and a co-pilot took a corporate Lear 35 jet from Kansas yesterday to Salisbury-Wicomico Airport to keep one of the more than 200 annual appearances he makes.
"I plan to keep my commitments, if people want me to," Schultz said. "I'm not running out the door, I've got a full schedule right up until August. I'm used to a full schedule, and if I had to go cold turkey, I don't know what I would do. This is good therapy."
Schultz said he will remain executive director until a successor is found, and continue to monitor the progress of proposed legislation for the 1994 convention, especially in the area of gender equity. He'll attend the College World Series in Omaha, some of the tennis championships and possibly part of the NCAA lacrosse championships at Byrd Stadium in two weeks.
Aside from saying that his religious faith had meant a great deal to him during "the events of the past week," Schultz made no reference to his resignation during a 15-minute speech that asked Salisbury State's student-athletes to be positive role models and get a degree.