For one night on April 18th, 2012, the UMass Student Union Ballroom turned into more than just any old ballroom. It transformed into a platform for some of the sports industry’s stars to take the stage and participate in Amateur Hour: The Commercialization of College Athletics. With over 150 students and general public in the audience and 77 total viewers on UStream the event began with co-directors Rich Goldstein and Dan Lajoie taking the stage to introduce the panelists. The panelists included Smith College Professor and Sports Economist Andrew Zimbalist, University of Maryland Professor and ESPN Around the Horn’s Kevin Blackistone, and Director of Division One Governance Jacqueline Campbell. One of UMass’ own professors Glenn Wong moderated the discussion.
The discussion spanned a wide range of topics that included academics, athletic department spending, conference realignment, gender and race equity, and the role of the NCAA in college sports. The discussion was riveting from the beginning as Professor Wong set the table for a great evening. He started out by saying “the issues surrounding college athletics are multidimensional and not easily solved”. Which got things going as all the panelists took turns explaining their opinions on each of the topics. During the event, the audience was allowed to tweet and text in questions to add to the discussion. Many of these questions were integral to the movement of the conversation. Each panelist added insightful comments on their educated opinions on the entire landscape of college athletics and the business behind it. The event was intended to leave no rocks unturned on the issues surrounding college athletics and it did that in the roughly two hour discussion.
ADS would like to thank all of the panelists, Andrew Zimbalist, Kevin Blackistone, Jacqueline Campbell, and Glenn Wong for their contributions because without them this event would not have been possible. A special thank you goes to Judie’s for hosting the post-event dinner. We would also like to finally thank everyone who attended the event and watched online because your support and interest in our events are what makes us the premier sport management organization!
Amateur Hour was the second installment of the Sports Talk Series that began in 2011 with Who is Lebron?