Big 12 to Host Second Forum on State of College Athletics

Irving, Texas - The Big 12 Conference announced today the lineup for its second national “State of College Athletics” Forum to further examine the issues facing college athletics. The Forum, which will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, continues the discussion that began at the inaugural Forum hosted by the Big 12 in New York City in August.

The October Forum will feature a panel of respected authorities from intercollegiate athletics, university leadership and sports journalism representing a diverse range of opinions and perspectives on the future of college athletics. The panel will address two topics: “Where Does the Money Go – The Business of College Athletics” and “Are Student Athletes Employees?” The 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and writer Jimmy Roberts, who moderated the first Forum, will also moderate the event in Washington, D.C.

“We developed the ‘State of College Athletics’ Forum series as a way to bring together some of the brightest minds in intercollegiate athletics to have open, productive dialogue about the broad range of issues facing college athletics today and beyond,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “Our goal with these Forums is not to assemble a group of people who all share the same points of view. Rather, it is to have experts representing all sides of the debate sit down and have an unfettered discussion about the many complex aspects of this issue. We believe an unrestricted exchange of ideas – made possible by the Big 12 Forums – is the best way to fully understand the issue and determine the way forward.”

Broadcaster and Forum moderator Jimmy Roberts added, “While the conversation at the first Forum was tremendously insightful, it is important to continue the discussion. The issues facing college athletics are not going to disappear, and these events provide a venue to ensure all aspects of the topic are examined closely by some of the most important opinion leaders and policymakers associated with college sports.”

Additional details of the Oct. 21 event include:

11:45 a.m.  Lunch and keynote address by Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby

3:00 p.m.    Forum I begins with a 90-minute panel discussion entitled,
“Where Does the Money Go – The Business of College Athletics”

4:30 p.m.  Break

4:45 p.m.    Forum II continues with an additional 90-minute panel discussion entitled,
“Are Student Athletes Employees?”

6:15 p.m. -  Reception available for event attendees and panelists   


In addition to Bowlsby and Roberts, other members of the panels will include:  USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz; the USOC’s Scott Blackmun; USA Today’s Christine Brennan; TCU Athletic Director Chris Del Conte; ESPN’s Len Elmore; Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis; Former Congressman Tom McMillen; The New York Times’ Joe Nocera; Former Arizona State University Athletics Director Lisa Love; Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel; and University of Kansas Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger.  Brief biographical information about each panelist confirmed as of Oct. 7 is provided below.

Event and media credential application information will be made available in the coming days.

Biographical Information about the Panelists (confirmed as of Oct. 7, 2014)

Bob Bowlsby is the commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. Prior to his role at the Big 12, Bowlsby spent six years as Athletics Director at Stanford University and 15 years as the chief administrator for the University of Iowa Department of Athletics. Bowlsby has chaired several NCAA committees and served on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors.

Jimmy Roberts (Moderator) is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and writer known most recently for his work on NBC and Golf Channel as an essayist, interviewer and studio host. Roberts has covered just about every major sporting event during his 30-year broadcasting career, including the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NBA Finals, Wimbledon and golf’s majors.

Steve Berkowitz is a sports projects reporter at USA Today who works on sports enterprise stories and investigations. Berkowitz is a Washington D.C.-based reporter who for years has spent considerable time compiling USA Today’s college sports compensation and finance databases.
 
Scott Blackmun is chief executive officer of the United States Olympic Committee and an ex-officio member of the USOC’s board of directors. He also has served on the International Olympic Committee Marketing Commission since March 2011 and the Association of National Olympic Committee Juridical Commission since March 2014. Blackmun has been recognized in Around the Rings’ Golden 25, a list of the most influential people in the Olympic Movement. He was also twice named one of Sports Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. In 2013, Sports  Business Journal named Blackmun Sports Executive of the Year and named the USOC Sports League of the Year

Christine Brennan is USA Today's award-winning national sports columnist and a commentator for ABC News, PBS NewsHour, CNN and National Public Radio. Brennan has covered the past 16 Olympic Games, winter and summer, and has led the national conversation on issues ranging from performance-enhancing drugs to the lack of women members at Augusta National to the recent controversy about domestic violence in the NFL. She is the best-selling author of seven books and a nationally known speaker.

Chris Del Conte was appointed TCU's director of intercollegiate athletics in October 2009. Since his arrival on campus, Del Conte has overseen a series of historic moments in TCU's athletics history that include the Horned Frogs' July 1, 2012 entrance into the Big 12. Prior to his role at TCU, Del Conte was athletic director at Rice University.

Len Elmore is a sportscaster for ESPN, a lawyer and former professional and college basketball player. Elmore covers the NCAA Basketball tournament for CBS and is the president of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, as well as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.  He is the former chief executive officer of iHoops, the youth basketball organization of the NCAA and NBA.

Burns Hargis took office in March 2008 as the 18th President of Oklahoma State University and the OSU System. Hargis oversees one of the nation’s most comprehensive land-grant university systems with 36,000 students, 7,400 employees, and campuses located in Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Okmulgee.

Charles Thomas "Tom" McMillen is a retired NBA professional basketball player, former Rhodes Scholar and Democratic U.S. Congressman who served three terms representing Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District. He is founder and treasurer of the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, and former co-chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. McMillen served on the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, was member of the US Olympic basketball team in 1972, and played professional basketball for 11 years.

Joe Nocera is business and opinion columnist for The New York Times, as well as a business commentator for NPR’s Weekend Edition. Before joining “The Opinion Pages” in April 2011, he wrote the “Talking Business” column for The New York Times each Saturday and was a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine.

Lisa Love is the former athletics director at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona. Love began her administrative career at the University of Southern California. Prior to that, she served as the head women's volleyball coach at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Southern California, leading her teams to the NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament 13 times. In 2005 she was inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Hall of Fame. She currently teaches a graduate class at the University of Louisville titled, "The Business of Division 1 College Athletics."

Pete Thamel is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, where he covers college football and basketball. He previously covered national college sports for The New York Times for nine years and has reported stories everywhere from Maui to Istanbul to Beijing. In 2006 The New York Times nominated Thamel for a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for his work uncovering diploma mills that were giving fast and easy credentials to talented high school prospects.

Sheahon Zenger is the director of athletics at the University of Kansas. Prior to joining Kansas in 2011, Zenger served as athletic director at Illinois State University.  In his short tenure at Kansas the Jayhawks have experienced tremendous success, including a National Championship in Women’s Outdoor Track & Field, an NCAA Final Four appearance in Men’s Basketball, two Sweet Sixteen appearances in Women’s Basketball and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in Volleyball.


About the Big 12 Conference
The Big 12 Conference is comprised of 10 Universities - Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12 is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference that encompasses five states with over 38 million people within its geographic footprint. Entering its 19th year, the Conference has produced 585 Academic All-America selections and claimed national championship team titles in 17 of its 23 sponsored sports. Its student-athletes and teams have combined for 552 individual NCAA titles and 53 team national championships. More than 4,200 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually under the Big 12 banner.