Halfway through his four-year term on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee (MOIC), Cabrini Director of Student Diversity Initiatives José Rodriguez was elected Vice-Chair of the committee, serving March 2018 through August 2020.
“The appointment to Vice-Chair holds a big responsibility that impacts tens of thousands of students all over the country,” said Rodriguez, who formerly served as the DIII representative on the committee.
Just as he collaborates with nearly every department at Cabrini to advance inclusivity and equitability across campus, now he is collaborating with colleagues across the nation, serving all NCAA campuses and divisions.
“My work is an extension of who I am, it’s my identity,” Rodriguez said. “So, I contribute as a member of this committee by looking at how the NCAA can be better—more mindful—in its mission to be equitable and accessible, and continue a vision of advancement within the organization.”
Rodriguez brings his insight to advance conversations at bi-annual meetings in Indianapolis and NCAA conferences, and, along with the full committee, consults with the president of the NCAA on current national issues. He helps to examine organization-wide policy, representation, advancement, and scholarship opportunities.
“We have really robust conversations that involve student representatives from each NCAA division,” said Rodriguez. “As we challenge each other, we are challenging policies that will need to be approved by more than 1,000 diverse NCAA campuses.”
The NCAA includes 1,117 colleges and universities that vary in size, public or private, and religious-affiliation. The NCAA committees, which report into the Office of Inclusion, are made up of an array of NCAA college and university faculty, staff, and students.
As the Vice-Chair elect of the MOIC, Rodriguez also serves as a representative for the committee on additional task forces and projects including the Women of the Year Committee within the Committee on Women’s Athletics and the Gender Equity Task Force. He also was asked to be a part of the Common Ground retreat which will bring religious institutions and LGBTQIA organizations together to discuss topics that help better serve their campuses.
“The Office of Inclusion at the NCAA is very proactive. [In our committees] we really address and focus on opportunities for ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA, and women in athletics—everyone, anyone, who wants to be a part of it. Opportunities for them to enter and opportunities for them to move upward. I take a lot of pride serving.”
Nearly at the end of his first year at Cabrini, Rodriguez shares with Cabrini his insight on national issues his committee faces and also provides his committee perspective from a Division III standpoint.
“Sometimes it’s DIII schools looking at the larger institutions and saying, ‘Okay, this is what worked for us, what do we need to do to get it rolled out at your campuses?’ We’re trying to represent all student athletes and all college and universities.
“My challenge to the group is constantly ‘who are we really serving and what opportunities are we giving to students?’ We’re looking at all of it—fair treatment of all, accessibility, and what’s equitable. You want to do what’s right."