The Athletic Director of many colleges and universities is usually a powerful figure, overseeing a multi-million dollar budget and one of the schools highest profile assets, its intercollegiate athletics programs. At Columbia, its probably among the most thankless jobs in the world, and quite possibly one of the least desirable.
The Columbia AD used to report to the Dean of Student Affairs prior to Reeves' term. As part of his agreement to take the job in 1991, Reeves demanded that he report directly to the Provost in order to have greater access to the central administration. As the Athletics facilities scandal showed, this did not work out as planned as he was routinely left out of the loop.
When Lee Bollinger took over as President of the University, he ordered the AD to report directly to him instead of the Provost. This in theory signaled the growing importance of athletics at Columbia, but this makes aformentioned scandal ironic since it occurred concurrent to this shift.