Our Consulting Philosophy

At Spelman Johnson we believe our institutional consulting clients should expect nothing less than experienced professionals with a deep knowledge of athletics programs, conferences, and associations that also possess a fundamental understanding of how athletics fits into the larger institutional landscape. Our consulting focuses on the institution’s athletics program and needs in relation to the institution’s strategic plan, goals, opportunities, and challenges. Spelman Johnson focuses very particularly in several specific areas of consulting—areas in which we have exceptional expertise and a broad knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that impact athletics programs in this current higher education climate.

Feasibility Studies

A feasibility study is an opportunity for an institution to explore the “big questions” surrounding a potential change to an intercollegiate athletics program or athletic conference.


Some of the areas listed below serve as examples of our feasibility studies:

  • Transition planning related to NCAA divisional membership changes;
  • Initiation and sponsorship of varsity football;
  • Conference affiliation—both as an independent or current conference member;
  • Issues related to sports sponsorship;
  • Initiation of an intercollegiate athletics program.

We provide a comprehensive approach to our work—from analyzing shared data and information, to visiting the campus and interviewing various stakeholders and constituencies–we present a report and recommendations to aid in the implementation process.

Strategic Planning/Program Review

Strategic planning is critical to the health of any organization and as the leader of an intercollegiate athletics program providing an assessment as to the current standing of your program relative to the institution, conference, and national athletics community is important. Are you clear on where you want your intercollegiate athletics program to be in the next five years? Does your staff understand this direction and have they had an opportunity to be a part of the planning for the future? A strategic planning process can provide a clear pathway forward that supports the athletics program, the institution, and campus stakeholders.


Our consultants work with you to define the planning process, organize stakeholders within the process, develop methods to aggregate and assess the data required for the process, and support all phases of the process—assisting you in developing a roadmap for the growth and development of your
intercollegiate athletics program.

The program review process is one that is meant to provide information for the institution related to the current health of the intercollegiate athletics program, as well as the sustainability of the program over the next ten years.

Our program review service focuses on the major components of a Division I, II, or III intercollegiate athletics program with the goal of providing a comprehensive report that summarizes all areas of the athletics program’s viability and productivity from a 360-degree perspective, while providing specific information regarding actionable changes that will enhance the program over a sustained period of time.

Fiscal Planning and Benchmarking Services

Having accurate, detailed and timely information about every financial, academic and competitive aspect of your athletics program is essential to running a successful intercollegiate athletics program.


Given the rapidly changing, highly competitive, and increasingly complex environment of intercollegiate athletics, it is critical to have data about how your athletics program compares to its peers, especially those institutions in the same conference—on the playing field, for recruits, and for increasingly scarce resources. Fiscal planning and budgeting analysis, budget building and tracking tools, financial projection systems, and resource utilization methodology are part of the our customized services designed to provide accurate information for future planning purposes, for resource management, and to enhance the credibility of your financial operation.

Title IX Audit and Compliance Planning

A Title IX audit, if done correctly, will do several things for a campus. An audit can be an educational opportunity for the campus and athletics staff to learn more about Title IX and gender equity. It also can highlight the positive things that have occurred in the past with both the men’s and women’s intercollegiate sport programs and, an audit will make recommendations for any needed changes that must take place for full compliance with Title IX. In conducting the audit, our consultants seek to ascertain the responses to The Three-Part Test as determined by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.


It is also important, particularly for NCAA Division I institutions, to note that at a Title IX audit can be the preliminary review prior to the NCAA Division I Athletics Certification process (Cycle I or Cycle II). By following the information developed though the self-study instrument, a good analysis can be performed and our consultants also conduct an online survey of all head coaches related to the Three-Part Test.

The final part of the Title IX Audit is related to compliance planning. An important part of any audit is working with our client to determine next steps toward active compliance with Title IX and part of our service is to prepare a three-year plan for reaching compliance with the law.

Compliance Reviews/Division I Certification

Every institution, regardless of NCAA Division, is susceptible to violations of NCAA rules. Our consultants will visit campus, interview staff and stakeholders, review compliance materials, as well as the structure of the compliance area and will issue a series of recommendations.


This review may be a voluntary review undertaken by an institution or a review mandated by the NCAA following an infractions case. Additionally, we work with Division I institutions to assist in preparing for its NCAA Certification review in all areas of the review.