Dec. 13, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when your awake, he knows if you been bad or good, so be good for USC Upstate's sake. No, we're not talking about jolly old St. Nick, we're talking about USC Upstate Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Scott Larson. Larson's position as director of compliance means that he works with the programs within the Upstate athletic department to make sure that they are following NCAA guidelines and practices. He is also responsible for reporting any violations to the NCAA and the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Larson was promoted to Associate Athletic Director during the summer of 2007 and can also be heard doing either play-by-play or color commentary on Upstate broadcasts on A-Sun.TV or Spartan basketball games on ESPN 1400 AM.
So, sit back and enjoy this special holiday edition of 10 Questions with Adam Walker of upstatespartans.com.
US.com: What was it about USC Upstate that brought you here?
Scott Larson: My family and I lived in this part of the country a few years ago when I worked at Gardner-Webb. I missed living in this part of the country, I had a lot of friends here and I wanted to come back. It didn't hurt that USC Upstate doesn't have a football team. Everywhere I've been previously has had a football team.
US.com: For those who aren't familiar with your job, can you give us a brief description of your duties?
SL: Basically just making sure that we adhere to all NCAA regulations, and, if there are any violations of those regulations, I have to report those to the Atlantic Sun Conference and the NCAA.
US.com: You've worked at some big-time athletic departments at schools such as Arizona State and Wisconsin. What was it like at those schools?
SL: It was different. In my experience, I've found that student-athletes are the same anywhere you go. It's just a matter of how talented they are athletically. There are also budgetary differences with schools like that having a lot more money to work with. Here, you have to be more fiscally responsible, but, all in all, it's fun at either level. It's just a matter of where you want to be.
US.com: What, in your opinion, makes a good student-athlete?
SL: One who realizes and takes advantage of all the assistance that's available to them at the school, academically, athletically and socially. There are so many resources available to all students, especially student-athletes, to use. Our athletes have tutoring, athletic training, counseling services, especially with the staff here because their doors are always open and just taking advantage of what we have available because we're here to help them.
US.com: How important is it to keep athletes on track with their academics?
SL: It's very important with the NCAA, especially with this move to Division I. Academic standards have been ratcheted up a bit. We have the APR (Academic Progress Rate), which the NCAA put in place to make sure that each team and each institution of student-athletes are making progress toward their degree and, ultimately graduate. Failing to meet certain minimums could cause athletic teams to lose scholarships and possibly post-season play if the problem isn't taken care of.
US.com: Have you given any thought into becoming an athletic director at a school?
SL: Yeah, I think so. I've been doing this for 10 years now, been at a lot of different schools, I've seen people do a lot of different things a lot of different ways and I think that you take the best of what you see everywhere you go and try to make it into the best athletic department you can make it. Hopefully, one day, I can get that chance to run an athletic department.
US.com: Do you enjoy working on broadcasts on A-Sun.TV and ESPN 1400 AM for the school?
SL: I do. It's a lot of fun. It gets me out of the office and away from the day-to-day minutia that compliance can be sometimes. It's good to see the kids on the field or court in action.
US.com: What is your favorite sport to broadcast?
SL: They're all fun in a different way. Each sport has its own uniqueness to it and brings about different broadcasting challenges. I haven't broadcasted tennis yet and I think that would be interesting.
US.com: How would you describe your relationship with the coaches and other administrators in the athletic department?
SL: I would like to think that I have a good relationship with everyone. I hope its one of mutual respect. I try to stay out of everyone's way as much as possible because they have a job to do and I hope they do the same for me. Hopefully, they know that and respect that as we try to make this department bigger and better as we progress in Division I.
US.com: How much do you enjoy what you do?
SL: I like it a lot. I can get a little tedious sometimes, but I enjoy athletics. People have asked me if I wanted to work in a conference office or for the NCAA and there's no way because I would miss the kids too much. We do it for the student-athletes and that's why I want to keep working at an institution. Working at those other places wouldn't give me that kind of interaction.