PAS Explores Sports and Society
From endorsements to scandals to salaries and trades, our fascination with athletes extends far beyond their plays on the field. How does sport shape society, and vice-versa? And how does this affect the college-athlete experience?
Distinguished sports journalists, agents and executives addressed these timely questions during the 47th-annual Public Affairs Symposium. The four-day event shed light on the most controversial sports topics of our time, examined the student-athlete experience at Dickinson College and offered guidance and inspiration to those hoping to break into the competitive field of sports business.
Kicking off with an illuminating panel of top Dickinson student-athletes and coaches (Ian Mitchell '10, Amanda West '10, Abby Larson '10, Matt Beamer '11, Alison Risser, field hockey coach and Paul Richards, head coach of women's and men's swimming) who spoke of the Dickinson student-athlete experience, the symposium presented an all-star lineup of high-profile sports professionals who addressed some of the most intriguing sports issues of our time. [story continued below]
Journalists Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, who broke the steroid-use scandal, spoke of their experiences; author James Shulman, a noted expert on the role of sports in higher education, presented his view of this complex topic; and a panel of Dickinson alumni who have fashioned careers as sports agents offered a tantalizing, insider’s view of lives lived under the glare of professional-stadium lights.
Participating alumni offered career advice to students, spoke about their own experiences at Dickinson and paid homage to the professors and coaches who helped them succeed on the sports field, in class, and later in life. For example, Scott Cohen '91, assistant general manager of the New York Jets, noted that he honed vital creative thinking and problem-solving skills when he was a student at Dickinson.
"The foundation we received here helped us with the rest of our lives," agreed Leon Rose '83, a sports agent for Lebron James and Allen Iverson. "I wanted to be a basketball coach because I had people here who instilled [positive] things in me. What motivated me to coach is what makes this job so special."
The symposium was sponsored by Student Senate, the Poitras-Gleim family, the athletics and admissions departments and the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues.
Photos by A. Pierce Bounds '71
Text by MaryAlice Bitts
Sherri Kimmel contributed to this story.