SU holds sport symposium addressing current NCAA issues

Allen Bridge, ‘Doah Staff Writer
October 22, 2014

'Doah photo courtesy of Weldon Gilchrist

‘Doah photo courtesy of Weldon Gilchrist

The Sports Management program along with the Sport Business Club held their first sports symposium, “Changing the Tide,” addressing current issues in the NCAA in Stimpson Auditorium in Halpin Harrison Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

The symposium featured a panel of five guest speakers including athletic director Doug Zipp, Sports Management professor Brian Wigley, George Mason University basketball coach Paul Hewitt, the College Sport Research Institute founding director Richard Southall and former Georgetown basketball coach and current professor at George Mason, Craig Esherick. They answered questions posed by the moderator Dean Davis that addressed issues going on in division one athletics as well as division three athletics and the differences between the two.

The symposium started off with questions from Davis, who gave each of the panel members a chance to answer and pose their ideas to the rest of the panel to spark a discussion. Some of the questions asked by Davis included whether college athletics were good or bad and why, and should college athletes receive payment other than scholarship and the NCAA, good or bad? These questions allowed for insight from division collegiate coaches such as Hewitt who considered college athletics to be good. It gave athletes who couldn’t afford school to get an education but also allow them to play the sport that they love. There were also the view points from the division three level. Wigley and Zipp both said college athletics were good at the division three level because it was the sport in its “truest form.” These athletes weren’t being given scholarships to come play but rather came to the division three level because of their love and passion for the game.

That was one of many questions that offered a chance to see unique perspectives from the panel before discussion was opened up to the audience for a Q&A session. During the Q&A, there were questions like whether athletes should be penalized for selling their autographs and whether the current system of punishment is fair. Some athletes only get a slap on the wrist or suspended for a half a game, but athletes who come from low income and try to make extra money selling their autographs, get suspended for a year.

Junior Kelani Bailey had her chance to ask Hewitt about the possible decision about a 10 percent cut in games in division three athletics and asked his opinion. Hewitt quickly turned it back on Bailey and asked how she felt. Bailey disagreed with the proposition stating her love of the game and how it would take away from athlete’s chances to play. Hewitt agreed saying that is how it should be; it should be about the love of the game and should be up to the students to make that decision if they want to reduce their schedules or not.

Dr. Fritz Polite who was primarily responsible for organizing the symposium considered the event to be a great success. “We want them to think critically and to be able to effectively think,” Polite said, as he wanted to do something where he was able to give his students a chance to get involved with these current issues and pick the minds of the experts.

“We want to bring Shenandoah and our business program to national level and the only way to do that is to bring in nationally recognized people,” Polite said.

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