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College Athletics After COVID-19; What is the Impact? What Are the Ramifications?

May 27th, 2020

Back in early March it seemed drastic and maybe draconian when Harvard University cancelled hosting the Ivy League basketball tournament. The domino effect from that decision has been far reaching, had unexpected consequences and continued to wreak havoc on colleges and universities on and off the playing fields

This Diverse Talk Live! will take a look at how COVID-19 may forever change the landscape of college athletics moving forward.

Our panel of experts will look into:

  • Dropping Sports and the Title IX Implications
  • Student Athlete Safety
  • Effects of decreased enrollment on student fees
  • Should fall sports play with no fans or students on campus or wait until spring?
  • Virtual Recruiting
  • Paying for student athletes granted an extra year of eligibility & the effect on incoming athletes
  • Furloughs and cuts in the athletic department staffs
  • Making up for the loss of revenue from the NCAA
  • Decreased donor activity and ticket sales that comes with economic uncertainty
  • Proposed request to NCAA to relax requirements Division I programs
  • Effects on Division II and III programs


Ketra ArmstrongDr. Ketra L. Armstrong,
Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs and NCAA Faculty Representative, University of Michigan

Dr. Ketra L. Armstrong (a Tupelo, MS native) is currently the Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs; Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; and Professor of Sport Management in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan (UM). She is also an Affiliate Faculty in the UM Departments of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s Studies, and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She is a University Diversity & Social Transformation Professor, and also serves as UM’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. Prior to her employment at UM, Dr. Armstrong served as Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Sport Management at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Sport Management at The Ohio State University (OSU).

Dr. Armstrong’s scholarship converges on the topics of race, gender, and the social psychology of sport/leisure consumption and the management thereof. Her research has been featured in numerous journals (Journal of Sport Management, Sport Marketing Quarterly, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Journal of Sport Behavior, Innovative Marketing, Journal of Black Psychology, Journal of Black Studies, Western Journal of Black Studies, and others). She received the 2001, Outstanding Probationary Faculty Research Award from OSU; she received the 2002 Young Professional Award from the American Association of Active Lifestyle and Fitness; she co-authored an article that received the 2004 Outstanding Research Award by the Sport Marketing Association; she conducted national research for Essence Magazine on Black Women’s Fitness; in 2008 she was inducted as a Research Fellow by the North American Society for Sport Management, and in 2011 the article she was the lead author of, ‘Market Analyses of Race and Sport Consumption,’ received the distinction of being among the top 20 articles published in the past 20 years by Sport Marketing Quarterly. She was inducted as a 2015 Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology. She offered a Coursera (online) Teach-Out on Free Speech in Sport and she is presently authoring a book for Routledge entitled, Theorizing Race and Sport (Social Psychological Perspectives). She has delivered numerous presentations and workshops on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and she is a member of the Diversity Scholars Network at the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID).

In addition to Dr. Armstrong’s scholarly pursuits, she has amassed a wealth of practical experience in sport. She is a former NCAA Division I scholarship student athlete (basketball player), coach (women’s basketball), and athletic administrator. Over the years, she has performed integral roles in the advising/consulting, research, management, marketing, and/or media relations for numerous youth, community, collegiate, professional, and international sport events. Her professional service includes being a member of the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force, the former Vice-President of the NCAA Scholarly Colloquium and Social Justice Symposium, the former President of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, former Internal Advisory Board Member for the UM SHARP Research Center (for Girls and Women), former Board Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and a former Member of the prestigious Wade Trophy Selection Committee (NCAA women’s basketball). She presently serves on the Governor of Michigan’s Task Force on Women in Sport.

Dr. Armstrong was also a freelance sport journalist: she hosted Ketra’s Korner (a news-magazine sport talk show), was the sports reporter on a morning radio show, and served as a color analyst for women’s basketball. In 2001 she received the Newsmaker of the Year Award from the Columbus, OH Association of Black Journalists; in 2009, she was the narrator and co-Executive Producer of Title IX: Implications for Women in Sport and Education (a 3-Disc, 14 chapter DVD); in 2012 she was the host of Inside Michigan Women’s Basketball on, and she was the Faculty Advisor for the UM Student Chapter of the Association for Women in Sport Media, which was voted the 2014 National Chapter of the Year. For her longstanding dedication to gender equity, Dr. Armstrong was the 2010 NAGWS Honorary Guiding Woman in Sport. As a testament to her commitment to diversity and social justice, she received the 2014 UM Harold L. Johnson Diversity Service Award, the 2015 Charles D. Henry Award from SHAPE America, and she was a 2015 Leadership Fellow in the NCID.

Eric BarronDr. Eric Barron,
President, Penn State University

Dr. Eric J. Barron, former dean at Penn State and former president of Florida State University, began his presidency at Penn State on May 12, 2014. Succeeding former President Rodney Erickson, who had served since 2011, Dr. Barron was named the 18th President of Penn State by the University's Board of Trustees February 17, 2014.

Dr. Barron returned to Penn State from the helm at Florida State, bringing with him nearly 35 years of leadership experience in academic administration, education, research, and public service, and a track record as a talented manager of fiscal policy within large and complex institutions. Dr. Barron led Florida State to two consecutive U.S. News and World Report rankings as the nation's "most efficiently operated" institution of higher education.

Dr. Barron earned a bachelor of science degree in geology at Florida State in 1973 before moving on to the University of Miami, where he earned master's and doctoral degrees in oceanography, in 1976 and 1980, respectively. Dr. Barron spent 20 years of his career at Penn State, serving as dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from 2002 to 2006, and as founding director of the Earth System Science Center, one of the first major initiatives focused on the total study of Earth as a system, from 1986 to 2002. He also had a simultaneous appointment as director of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Environment Institute from 1998 to 2002. In 1999, he was named Distinguished Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, and during his tenure as director, Industry Week magazine ranked him among "50 R&D Stars to Watch."

An accomplished scientist with a long background in atmospheric research, Dr. Barron served as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) from 2008 to 2010 and as dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2008. Early in his career he was a postdoctoral research fellow and scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, a federal research center focusing on atmospheric and related science issues. Dr. Barron originally worked at NCAR as a postdoctoral fellow (1981–85), and served for one year on the faculty at the University of Miami before joining Penn State.

Over the decades, Dr. Barron has lent his significant expertise in the areas of atmospheric science and the geosciences to many national committees and federal organizations, including contributions as chair of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) science advisory board and nearly 20 years of service as the chair of multiple National Research Council committees and boards. Throughout his career he has earned numerous accolades and awards, including Penn State's Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999); the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's (NASA) Distinguished Public Service Medal (2003); and the Bridge Builders Leadership Award from the Martin Luther King Foundation of Florida (2012).

Dr. Barron is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the Geological Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed papers in geology, oceanography, and climate issues.

Sean FrazierMr. Sean T. Frazier,
Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics, Northern Illinois University

In the six years since Sean T. Frazier arrived to lead the Northern Illinois University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the department has reached historic milestones competitively, academically and socially, worked to honor the legacy of previous generations, and thanks to successful fundraising efforts, seen Huskie facilities transformed to benefit both the student-athlete and the fan experience.

Competitively, the Huskies added a pair of Mid-American Conference Championships to the Frazier-era total in 2018-19 with the NIU gymnastics team winning the first MAC title in school history in that sport, and the Huskie football team continuing its MAC dominance of the last decade with its fourth championship game victory in the last eight years.

On the fundraising front, the “Campaign to Sustain,” a major fundraising initiative focused on ensuring NIU Athletics’ ability to carry on its rich tradition while lifting future Huskies to new heights and instilling NIU alumni and the campus community with pride, continues to produce results. As of June 2019, the Campaign, which includes opportunities to support Cost of Attendance scholarships and capital projects, has raised over $1.65 million in support of Huskie student-athletes and sports programs.

NIU also has signed and/or renegotiated multiple contracts resulting in increased revenues for Huskie Athletics over the last six years. Learfield, NIU’s multimedia and sponsorship partner, met its revenue goals for the first time in 2017-18, while deals with adidas, Sodexo and Learfield Licensing have all paid dividends for the Huskies. The NIU Convocation Center, which became a part of Intercollegiate Athletics in 2013, has attracted popular acts like Thomas Rhett, Brad Paisley, Casting Crowns, Second City, WWE Live and Monster Trucks since Frazier’s arrival. In 2018-19, more than 250,000 people walked through the doors of the Convocation Center to attend NIU Athletics events, high school graduations, job and career fairs, cheerleading, IHSA and IESA competitions and more.

Under Frazier, the Huskies have claimed two honors unprecedented in the school’s history. In May 2017, NIU won the Mid-American Conference’s Fred Jacoby Trophy, presented to the top women’s athletic program in the MAC, for the first time in school history. In 2016, NIU received the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) Diversity and Inclusion Award, which recognized and celebrated the initiatives, policies and practices of NIU in embracing diversity and inclusion. For Frazier, whose roots in the topic of racial relations and diversity run deep, the award was especially significant. In 2014, he was honored with the Distinguished Service Award for his leadership of MOAA.

Frazier began his administrative career at the University of Maine as an assistant football coach in 1995 and was soon tabbed as the athletic department's multicultural affairs liaison, where he created programs aimed at fostering diversity. He was named assistant to the athletic director in 1996 and became an assistant athletic director in 1998. In that role, he provided administrative support to Maine's 1999 National Championship men's ice hockey team.

A Long Island, N.Y. native, he played four years of college football at the University of Alabama from 1987-91 and was a member of the 1989 SEC Championship team. He has written numerous papers, presented on topics of diversity, leadership and hiring at national meetings and served on many NCAA committees.

Frazier, 50, earned his bachelor's degree in communication from Alabama, and has a master's degree in higher education/educational leadership from the University of Maine. He earned a second master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is pursuing a doctorate in the same discipline.

He and his wife, Rosa, an accomplished lawyer and former law professor, have three children, daughters Marina and Marcella, and son Maximo.

McwilliamsMs. Jacqie McWilliams,
Commissioner, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA)

Ms. Jacqie McWilliams is in her 8th season of serving as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Commissioner. First female to serve as Commissioner for the CIAA and first appointed African American Commissioner representing NCAA Division I, II and III. Ms. McWilliams spent nine years at the NCAA managing NCAA championships to include both the men’s and women’s Division I Basketball tournaments. She started her career in coaching and administration at Virginia Union University with career growth opportunities at the CIAA, Norfolk State University and Morgan State University prior to the NCAA. Ms. McWilliams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hampton University, a Master of Arts in Sports Management and Administration from Temple University. She was two sport athlete at Hampton and was a member of the Hampton University 1988 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship team and Freshmen player of the year in 1988 and Player of the year for CIAA Volleyball in 1990. She was inducted into Hampton University Hall of Fame, Temple University’s Gallery of Success and the Sierra High School Hall of Fame. She serves on the board of directors for the John B. McLendon Scholarship Foundation Board, Samaritans feet International and the NCAA Board Ad Hoc Committee for Cultural Diversity. She was the former chair of NCAA DII Management Council and member of the NCAA Board of Governors. She is a member and the current President for Women Leaders in College Sports. She has received numerous awards for her leadership and contributions to the community. Ms. McWilliams is a women of faith, motivational speaker, an active member of the Charlotte Crown Jewels Links Chapter of Charlotte. Ms. McWilliams is the proud mother of Samone, age 14.


Jamal WatsonDr. Jamal Watson is an award-winning journalist. He has held numerous roles at Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. He has been a senior staff writer, executive editor and is currently the editor-at-large. He has written for the publication since 2005. A native of Philadelphia, Watson earned his bachelor’s degree in English and Theology from Georgetown University, a master's degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, a master's degree in Higher Education from the University of Delaware and a master's and a Ph.D. in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is the author of a forthcoming biography on the Reverend Al Sharpton and is on the graduate school faculty at Trinity Washington University.

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