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Stakeholders seek solutions for revenue gap at NCAA symposium

ASU hosts symposium for in-depth look at college sports, timed to Final Four.
April 3, 2017

University presidents, athletic directors and conference commissioners gather at ASU

A prominent leader in higher education said college sports revenue has been flourishing, but a great disparity is on the horizon as conferences align to make lucrative network deals.

“The rich will get richer, and the others will die,” E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, said Monday. “We need to come together rather than engage in hand-to-hand combat.”  

Gee’s comment came at a symposium, “Full Court Press: Media, Autonomy, and the Future of College Sports” on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

The timing of the event, which was hosted by the Sports Law and Business Program at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, was designed to coincide with the Final Four — the NCAA’s primary revenue generator.

The half-day conference brought together leading university presidents, athletic directors, conference commissioners and sports industry professionals to prompt an in-depth examination of college sports and where the industry could be headed in the years to come.

“By bringing together officials from both in- and outside collegiate athletics, this symposium melds the major forces influencing college sports — media, law and business,” said Glenn M. Wong, executive director of the Sports Law and Business Program.

In addition to Gee, other participants included Gene Smith, athletic director of Ohio State University; Renu Khator, chancellor and president of the University of Houston; Keith Gill, athletic director of the University of Richmond; Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12; Janet Judge, president of Sports Law Associates; Mark Hollis, athletic director of Michigan State; Steve Smith, basketball analyst; Hania Poole, director of NCAA Digital and Turner Sports; Gary R. Roberts, president of Bradley University; and Kenneth Shropshire, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

The panel agreed one of the most critical issues facing college sports is the widening revenue gap between the institutions in the Power 5The five conferences are the Pac-12; Big 12; Big Ten; Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference. conferences, and those in the remainder of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A.

Many wondered if those other schools would still be able to compete despite significant disparities.

“Financially, the model is broken and has always been dysfunctional,” Smith said. “Teams and conferences have to stay strong.”

Smith suggested regionalizing the conferences — an approach Division II schools have thrived on for years — to ensure that schools in every region have fair access to championships.

Regionalization would also reduce the amount of time student-athletes spend on the road in competition and allow them to better enjoy the college experience, Khator said.

“This takes a toll on a student-athlete’s time demands,” Khator said. “What comes first — academics or athletics?”

The panel also tackled issues such as diversity in administration, the power of autonomy, Title IX, social justice and the expanding role of digital media.

Poole said the NCAA now has 15 different media and digital platforms, and millennials are driving the way in which we view sports.

“People prefer to watch the game in many different ways as it fits their lifestyle,” Poole said.

Wong said by weaving these perspectives together at one event, participants gained a better understanding of why change is occurring and where the industry may be headed.

“Linking all of these individuals and their ability to make industry-shifting decisions highlights the significance of our symposium,” Wong said.

Participants also took time to praise Phoenix as the host site for the Final Four weekend.

“This Final Four is just a phenomenon,” Smith said, “and it’s been a great run.”

For a detailed look at the symposium's three panels, click here.


Top photo: West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee listens during a panel discussion on the state of collegiate sports at the "Full Court Press: Media, Autonomy, and the Future of College Sports" symposium Monday at the Beus Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix. The program featured officials from both the inside and outside of collegiate athletics, and it focused on major influences on college sports: media, law and business. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Rare ASU map collection reveals truths about history of American Southwest

"Greater Arizona: Mapping Place, History and Transformation" on display at ASU
April 6, 2017

Exhibit includes documents, digitized photos of 16th- through 19th-century maps; features details, perspectives that are often lost

An exhibit of rare maps at ASU is challenging assumptions about the history of the American Southwest by showing a range of details that conflict depending on what was being documented and who was doing the work, a curator with ASU’s School of Transborder Studies said.

“The maps show you things you didn’t expect or even know,” said Theresa Avila, co-curator of “Greater Arizona: Mapping Place, History and Transformation.” “For instance, that this area belonged to France at one point — or at least France thought so.

“These maps are documents; they’re historical; they’re produced by the most learned of their time. But there’s still a lot of errors and problems with them. … History is not only what we know, but what we don’t know. So these maps help us to learn what we don’t know.”

The collection will be on display at Hayden Library on ASU’s Tempe campus through May 19. Dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, the maps document everything from peoples to borders to geographical features, and were created by a number of nations, including France, Great Britain and Holland — all that variation reveals portions of history that in some cases have been ignored.

A group of students recently toured the collection as research for a project looking at migration to the U.S. through Latin American countries. The maps were indeed useful for their research, but Avila said she “was also able to point out the migration from Europe to the Americas first. If we’re going to really talk about migration, who’s migrating where?”

All of the maps in the Hayden exhibit come from the School of Transborder Studies Simon Burrow Collection. Burrow, a global industrialist, accumulated the collection of more than 100 original maps and 200 books over nearly three decades out of a desire to better understand the U.S. and Mexico borderlands where he conducted business. He donated it all to the school in 2012, where it is on permanent display in the Interdisciplinary B buildingBurrow will be in attendance at a May 4 celebration to honor university donors from 4-6 p.m. at Hayden Library.

Avila calls Burrow’s maps “key maps,” because they are key in understanding truths about the history of the Southwest. For example, one map, created by the U.S. government in 1839, features the independent “Republic of Texas.” At the time, however, ownership of that land was in dispute between the U.S. and Mexico, which did not acknowledge Texas’ declaration of independence.

“This map in particular really highlights a very key moment … in the revision of history,” Avila said. “Texas was never a republic. But it’s still a very strong narrative in the U.S. mind. We feel that when the Alamo happened, we were justified. And yet, when you read the narrative of this map and the way Texas was taken over, we weren’t really justified in taking this land over hostilely.”

Greater Arizona map exhibition

School of Transborder Studies Director Alejandro Lugo has helped curate a map exhibition at Hayden Library that shows how Arizona and the Southwest have been depicted over hundreds of years. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now


The images pasted directly onto the walls in Hayden are digital print reproductions of the actual maps, magnified so viewers can see the finer details. Some of the maps have been modified, like the one from 1866 marking the gold, copper and silver deposits in the region. Old photos of miners are affixed to the map at the location where they were taken.

“In an effort to remember and connect the different phases of development of Arizona” reads the accompanying plaque, “this map is paired … with Arizona mining history that is typically recognized as the state’s official history. Bringing both elements together allows for inclusion of communities typically omitted from Arizona history...”

The exhibit also features photos of the border region taken by School of Transborder Studies Director Alejandro Lugo, who co-curated the collection with Avila. Along the ramp leading up to the main level of the exhibit are photos of the existing U.S.-Mexico border fence. Along the bottom of a map from 1774 of the Spanish missions are photos of the missions as they stand today, taken by Lugo in 2016.

Pairing the past with the present in such a way makes the information more “inviting and accessible,” Lugo said. “It helps them to think about the longer history of the place and how we are a part of the landscape today.”

Most importantly, agree Lugo and Avila, the exhibit paints a more accurate picture of the history of the Southwest, and Arizona in particular.

On the state’s website, Avila said, history begins in 1912. “This collection reveals that this place — that Arizona — has a much longer story, and a much more diverse history than has been presented to us.”


Top photo: Theresa Avila, of ASU's School of Transborder Studies, shows how maps began to omit Native American tribes following the Indian Removal Act in 1830 inside the exhibition "Greater Arizona: Mapping Place, History and Transformation" in the Hayden Library on Tuesday. The project will be on display through May 19. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now