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Harvard University Athletic Director Discusses NCAA

Eugene, OR — Harvard University Athletic Director Bob Scalise recently discussed student-athlete experience and the culture of intercollegiate athletics with Sports Conflict Institute (SCI) Founder Joshua Gordon and Researcher Dr. Ken Pendleton. According the Scalise’s bio on gocrimson.com, Harvard’s athletics program is the largest NCAA DI program in the nation with 42 varsity sports, 63 club programs and more than 1,200 intercollegiate athletes.

“There’s a reason people look toward Harvard University as a leader and Scalise exemplifies the role of innovator in how he creates a student-athlete experience that is robust on and off the field. It is tempting to brush this off as a mere byproduct of having access to exemplary student-athletes, but I don’t think that truly explains what we see. Rather, there are a number of critical decisions that Scalise and Harvard make to establish a student-athlete culture so perfectly aligned to the University’s mission,” reflects Gordon.

In the interview, Scalise emphasized that Harvard athletes, unlike many university athletes, are treated like all the other students and not given special privileges. According to Scalise, “we don’t have specialized anything for our athletes; we want them to be just like all of our other students.” Further, Scalise states that Harvard athletes “live where other students live,” “eat where other students eat” and “have academic services and support that are available to all other students at the school.”

Scalise understands the opposing pressures that come with the business of the NCAA. “With all of the television money that is coming into schools now, the pressure to win and succeed and be part of that revenue is so great that its making people want to do things that they didn’t want to do 15 or 20 years ago. This is what’s creating some of the conflict we all see in the media regarding college sports.”

Still, Scalise is not without his own concerns. “What keeps me up at night is somebody not doing the right thing, whether it’s the kids deciding to do something they shouldn’t do or a coach doing something they shouldn’t do or something happening where the wheels go off the track because of human behavior. I really worry about how we’re being perceived by the outside world and the behavior of our folks.”

Listen to the entire interview.

About SCI
SCI supports competitive goals in athletics through understanding, preventing and resolving destructive conflict both inside and outside the lines. SCI serves as a knowledge center and provides a range of services to help ensure student-athlete experience is part of a healthy university culture while optimizing performance on and off the field of play. Conflict is inevitable, but how we respond determines whether success follows or costs mount. SCI Founder Joshua Gordon has over 20 years of conflict management experience.

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