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College Athletes' Rights & Empowerment Conference

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Drexel University's Department of Sport Management is proudly hosting the College Athletes' Rights & Empowerment Conference: Visioning A New Paradigm of College Sport, March 24-26.   The conference will be jointly held at the National Constitution Center on Thursday evening and at Drexel's Gerri C. LeBow Hall on Friday and Saturday.

Civil rights have been defined as “the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.” During the past 20 years, there has been a growing awareness that the practices that are used by the college sport industry to regulate players in the sports of football and basketball (the economic drivers of the industry) often deny them basic civil rights and liberties, impede their ability to access a meaningful education, subject them to harsh treatment and unsafe workplaces, violate anti-trust law, and artificially suppress their value. This conference is designed to bring scholars, journalists, practitioners, and athletes together for the purpose of envisioning a new model of college sport for the 21st century that places the health, well-being, and welfare of college athletes at the center and provides a democratic avenue for athletes to share in the decision making that shapes the rules governing their lives.

What will such a visioning require? How do efforts to regulate athletes in the sports of football and basketball impact the treatment of athletes throughout the entire college sport system? What would the impact be if some Division I sports evolved into a “club-sport” framework, something that Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon suggested in the fall of 2015 warranted thought and consideration? Is it time for the system of college sport to be restructured away from a one-size-fits all model of regulation to federated structures that account for different sports and their respective markets? How do various constituents respond to the Wall Street Journal’s question of whether college sport needs the NCAA?

Schedule and Location

Click Here for Schedule - Thursday, March 24, 2016

4 pm - 8 pm

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Click Here for Schedule - March 25, 2016

8:30 am - 6 pm

Gerri C. LeBow Hall
3220 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Click Here for Schedule - Saturday, March 26, 2016

7:30 am - 12 pm

Gerri C. LeBow Hall
3220 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Live Stream

The Drexel CARE Conference will be live streamed. Click on the day below.

Thursday, March 24 - Live Stream

Friday, March 25 - Live Stream

Saturday, March 26 - Live Stream

Keynote Speakers & Selected Panelists

Kevin Blackistone, Visiting Professor, Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Panelist at ESPN, and Columnist for the Washington Post 

Luke Bonner, former pro basketball player and sports and entertainment marketing manager at GYK Antler and executive director of Rock On Foundation.

Taylor Branch, a Pulitzer-prize winning American author and public speaker, author of The Shame of College Sports and The Cartel:  Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA.

Kain Colter, Board of Directors, College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) and wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams.

Eddie Comeaux, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside.  Co-author of College Athletes Rights & Well-Being (Johns Hopkins U. Press).

Marc Edelman, J.D., Associate Professor of Law, Zicklin School of Business, City University of New York and contributor,

Harry Edwards, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Sociology, University of California – Berkeley. 

Ramogi Huma is founder and executive director of the National College Players Association (NCPA). 

Matthew Haverstick, J.D., Partner, Kleinbard LLC, plaintiff’s attorney in Corman v. NCAA.

Richard Johnson, J.D., plaintiff’s attorney in Oliver v. NCAA

Donna Lopiano, Ph.D., Founder and President, Sport Management Resources and former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Joel Maxcy, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Interim Department Head, Sport Management, Drexel University

Joe Nocera,
New York Times columnist, co-author of Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA

Ed O'Bannon, retired professional basketball player and former power forward for the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team that won the 1995 NCAA national championship. He is the lead plaintiff in O’Bannon v. NCAA.

Jeff Prudhomme, Ph.D, vice president, Interactivity Foundation.

Steve Silver, J.D., Associate, McBreen & Kopko. He is the founder of and writes a column for The Legal Intelligencer.

Ivan Soto, Executive Director, Arena Football League Players Union

Richard Southall, Ed.D., Associate Professor & Director, College Sport Research Institute, University of South Carolina

Ellen J. Staurowsky, Ed.D., Professor, Sport Management, Drexel University.  Co-author of College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA Amateur Myth and Women in Sport:  A Journey From Liberation to Celebration (pending). 

Ben Strauss, New York Times contributor, co-author of Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA

Sonny Vaccaro, legendary sport marketing executive whose life and career were featured in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Sole Man.

Nicholas Watanabe, Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, University of Missouri.

Andrew Zimbalist, Ph.D., 
Professor, Smith College,
author of Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports ‚Äč

Grace Yan, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri

The complete list speakers and panelists with bios can be found here.

(panelists and speakers subject to change)


Conference Organizing Committee: Dr. Joel Maxcy, Interim Program Head & Associate Professor, Dr. Jim Reese, Associate Professor, & Dr. Ellen J. Staurowsky, Ed.D., Professor, Sport Management, Drexel University, 215-895-6714;

Media Inquiries: Media inquiries should be directed to Ellen J. Staurowsky, Ed.D., Professor, Sport Management, Drexel University, 215-895-6714;