Boyce Takes Hot Spot as IHL Commissioner

Ready or not, Dr. Glenn Boyce has been named IHL Commissioner. He steps into the hot spot abandoned by MUW president Dr. Jim Borsig and recently vacated by now University of Nebraska system president Dr. Hank Bounds.

A high performer for nine years as president of Holmes Community College, Dr. Boyce came into the IHL system just last summer as associate commissioner for academic affairs. Earlier this year when Dr. Bounds decided the grass was greener in Nebraska, Dr. Boyce’s name was mentioned as a potential successor, but soon dropped because of his limited time “in the system.” Instead the IHL Board picked MUW president Dr. Jim Borsig.

An Ole Miss graduate, Dr. Boyce takes the job in less than ideal circumstances. The board’s termination of Dr. Dan Jones as Ole Miss chancellor ticked off many power players in Mississippi and gave rise to speculation about the board’s reliability. When, days later, Dr. Borsig turned down the commissioner job to stay at MUW, speculation ramped up even higher that things aren’t right with the board.

“It goes from bad to worse for the College Board (IHL),” wrote Associated Press writer Jeff Amy. Hilarious cartoons by Marshall Ramsey have only aggravated the problem.

The board moved quickly to replace Dr. Borsig. “I think if we had been in what might be called ordinary times, there might have been some consideration of an expanded search,” said board president Aubrey Patterson. “But, I think we would have come to the same decision.”

Indeed, a leadership void at IHL at this time would be unwise.

In early May four board members (Patterson, Ed Blakeslee, Bob Owens, and Robin Robinson) roll off and four new ones (Thomas Duff, Dr. Alfred McNair, Glenn McCullough, and Chip Morgan) come on. The four outgoing members clearly contributed to the board’s current situation. The four new ones will need time to learn the ropes and get in the game.

What impact will these changes in leadership have?

In the worst case scenario, disagreement between old and new board members, conflict with the new commissioner, and mayhem in the search for a new Ole Miss chancellor could lead to the diminution of the historically powerful IHL Board. Plus any of these would further fuel efforts to get the legislature to revamp or weaken the board.

In the best case scenario, people will work together, the Ole Miss search will go well, and legislators will calm down.

So, ready or not, Dr. Boyce gets the job to manage the complex IHL system – “we believe he has the vision and ability to lead the universities,” said Patterson – and the difficult challenge to resuscitate the board’s reputation.

Dr. Boyce has the educational and leadership experience to be an effective commissioner. Whether he can be the IHL Board’s savior is quite another matter.

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