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College Sports Insider With Jack Ford

In this weekly podcast, journalist Jack Ford (“60 Minutes Sports,” “Good Morning America,” NBC News) interviews individuals who have unique insight into the world of college sports. Produced by the NCAA and Champion magazine, episodes delve into the most pressing topics of the day and offer behind-the-scenes points of view from those who shape college athletics. 

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A Worthy Investment

Oct. 1, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

As inclusion officers become increasingly common throughout college athletics, what is their role? Why are athletics departments devoting resources to this sort of expertise, and how is that reshaping college sports? A longtime inclusion executive reflects on the burgeoning field. Jack Ford with Katrice Albert, NCAA executive vice president of inclusion and human resources.

 

View From the Conference Office

Sep. 24, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Conference commissioners at major Division I conferences routinely generate headlines, but there are more than 100 conferences in the NCAA, each with its own commissioner and staff. What are their roles? How do these lesser-known conferences influence college sports? A Division III conference executive shares her perspective on how the role has evolved — and where it’s going. Jack Ford with Heather Benning, Midwest Conference executive director.

 

The Breaking Point

Sep. 17, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Several college athletes die after workouts every year. Deaths don’t have to be training’s inevitable byproducts, yet they long have been. A Champion magazine writer explored the issue in a summer 2018 story that focused on the strength and conditioning profession’s efforts to help remove tragedy from training. Jack Ford with Brian Burnsed, Champion magazine associate editor.

 

Leadership Lessons

Sep. 10, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

“Leadership” is often tossed about without precision, its meaning elusive. But how does it manifest? In sports, what does it look like and sound like? The answers vary depending on perspective, but a former walk-on turned team captain at one of the nation’s top soccer programs shares what he learned about leadership on his rise through the ranks. Jack Ford with Paul Kapsalis, former Indiana soccer player and author.

 

New Season, New Game

Sep. 4, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

The NCAA adopted sweeping college basketball reforms in August. How might they reshape the sport? How will the recruiting landscape shift this season and beyond? As basketball undergoes seismic changes, a top NCAA executive reflects on the rapidly evolving game. Jack Ford with Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.

 

Keeping Pace With an Evolving Game

Aug. 27, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Driven by new health and safety guidelines and better understanding about the value of nutrition and proper conditioning, football has changed rapidly in recent years. Are smaller schools able to keep pace? One Division III football coach thinks so. Jack Ford with James Catanzaro, Lake Forest head football coach.

 

Commission on College Basketball: Proposed Changes to the Infractions Process

May 7, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

A significant portion of the Commission on College Basketball’s recently released recommendations pertained to reshaping how major infractions cases are investigated and adjudicated. How might those changes be implemented? The current chair of the Division I Committee on Infractions shares his perspective on how that vital process may soon be altered. Jack Ford with Greg Christopher, Xavier director of athletics and chair of the Division I Committee on Infractions.

 

Commission on College Basketball: How Will the NCAA Respond?

April 30, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

The Commission on College Basketball shared its recommendations to reform the sport last week. Now, the responsibility of putting those proposed changes into practice falls to the NCAA’s highest governing bodies. How will they translate 52 pages of commission recommendations into amended rules and procedures? And how quickly might they be able to accomplish it? Jack Ford with Blake James, Miami (Florida) athletic director and Division I Council chair.

 

Commission on College Basketball: The Story Behind the Recommendations

April 26, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Last October, in the wake of federal indictments that sent shockwaves through the college basketball world, the NCAA convened an independent body to examine the sport and bring forward proposals to reshape it. This week, the Commission on College Basketball delivered those recommendations. Hear directly from commission members about the intricacies of that process. Jack Ford with a trio of Commission on College Basketball members: Gene Smith, Ohio State director of athletics; John Thompson III, former Georgetown men’s basketball coach; and Grant Hill; Atlanta Hawks vice chairman and former NBA and college basketball star.

 

Inside NCAA Committee Work

April 23, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

To some, the NCAA’s slew of committees and councils are little more than nameless, faceless entities. But they are composed of athletics administrators, coaches and student-athletes who volunteer their time to help college sports continue to evolve. What does that committee service entail? One longtime member details the experience. Jack Ford with Shantey Hill, St. Joseph’s (Long Island) assistant vice president and senior director of athletics and recreation.

 

Enforcement’s New Guidelines

April 16, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

The NCAA recently adopted charging guidelines that offer clarity on the methods enforcement staff members use to evaluate cases and bring charges. What are those guidelines and who are the people making those crucial decisions? Jack Ford with Derrick Crawford, NCAA enforcement managing director.

 

How Student-Athletes Get Involved

April 9, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Between sports, studies and sleep, it seems there would be little time for college athletes to engage in other areas on their campuses. Not the case: Campus student-athlete advisory committees offer a venue for athletes who want to find ways to impact their schools or offer input on the NCAA rules that affect their lives. One SAAC president offers his perspective. Jack Ford with Josh Ebikwo, Purdue sprinter and supply chain management technology major.

 

Good Medicine

April 2, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Team physicians shoulder a great deal of responsibility — and, for many, the role isn’t even their day job. How do they balance their lives in athletics with other professional obligations? And how has the position evolved in recent years? Jack Ford with Dr. Doug Ramos, Creighton team physician.

 

Addressing Mental Health on Campus

March 26, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Athletics departments are increasingly realizing the importance of having qualified mental health professionals at the ready. A look inside a vital profession and how it’s impacting college athletes, particularly those facing intense pressure in their academic and athletic lives. Jack Ford with Jessica Mohler, a clinical and sports psychologist and assistant director of Navy’s Midshipmen Development Center.

 

State of the Game: College Basketball

March 19, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Amid an ongoing FBI investigation and calls for reform, what challenges lie ahead for college basketball and how might the sport soon change? NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, NCAA President Mark Emmert, Minnesota President Eric Kaler and Stanford Director of Athletics Bernard Muir address those questions in an in-depth discussion about the future of college basketball.

 

An Entrepreneur — in Cleats

March 13, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

David Morrow helped his team win a Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship and was named national player of the year at Princeton. More importantly, he solved a problem. The 1993 Princeton graduate and his father fabricated durable, lightweight lacrosse shafts for his team, replacing the heavy or brittle ones they had been using. That idea spawned Warrior, a global sports equipment and apparel company that, 25 years later, has exceeded $2 billion in sales. Jack Ford with Morrow, Warrior Sports founder.

 

An Apple a Day …

March 5, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Recent changes that relaxed rules regarding what schools can feed their college athletes have enhanced sports dietitians’ and nutritionists’ roles at many athletics departments. How do people in those important positions ensure every athlete is getting adequate fuel? And how do they navigate the complicated world of supplementation? Jack Ford with Randy Bird, Virginia director of sports nutrition.

 

A Scholar and a Champion

February 26, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

The lives of the nation’s nearly 500,000 college athletes vary, but all are bound by the need to balance a commitment to their sports with their academic endeavors. How do they manage it? And how do some excel in both? A track and field national champion details his college experience, which helped him launch a career in the field of renewable energy. Jack Ford with Deko Ricketts, 2017 Washington U. in St. Louis graduate and project engineer at Azimuth Energy.

 

Inside the Athletic Training Room

February 19, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Athletic trainers are often athletics departments’ unheralded heroes. They’re tasked with treating injuries, responding in dire situations and keeping college athletes’ spirits up as they battle through aches and pains or arduous rehab sessions. They’re often seen rushing onto the field on game day, but what does the rest of their job entail? Jack Ford with John Chandler, Coe athletic trainer.

 

What is an SWA?

February 12, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

The senior woman administrator is the highest-ranking female involved in the management of a school’s athletics program. But, for those who fill the role, what does that designation entail? And what obstacles do female administrators face, even today? Jack Ford with Kate Roy, associate director of athletics, compliance coordinator and SWA at Lyndon State.

 

An Olympic Pipeline

February 5, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

In October, the U.S. Olympic Committee assembled the Collegiate Advisory Council, a body that includes athletics directors from prominent programs around the country and is tasked with evaluating and strengthening Olympic sport offerings at the collegiate level. A look at the group’s goals and how the USOC is strengthening its ties with NCAA schools. Jack Ford with Sarah Wilhelmi, USOC director of collegiate partnerships.

 

You Snooze, You Win

January 29, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Quality sleep raises GPAs and lowers the number of dropped classes. On the field, it speeds reaction times and decreases injury risk. So how can college athletes get more of it? One Division III school has committed itself to ensuring that they do. Those efforts were detailed in a January Champion magazine story. Jack Ford with Roxanne Prichard, scientific director of the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Center for College Sleep.

 

Top Marks

January 22, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Barry Wilmore rose from walk-on to star linebacker at Tennessee Tech, becoming his team’s most proficient tackler. That rise to prominence paled in comparison to what came next. Wilmore parlayed a career as a Navy pilot to one as an astronaut. He has amassed 178 days in space over the course of two missions. For his accomplishments on the field and off, Wilmore was the recipient of the 2018 NCAA Theodore Roosevelt Award, the Association’s highest honor. Jack Ford with Wilmore, NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy captain.

 

Champion Magazine Turns 10

January 15, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

In January, the NCAA’s magazine will celebrate its 10th anniversary. The publication’s two top editors discuss how the magazine evolved from an NCAA newspaper, how the staff tackles some of its most ambitious pieces and what to expect in the future. Jack Ford with Brian Hendrickson, Champion magazine executive editor, and Amy Wimmer Schwarb, Champion magazine editor.

 

Gameday the DIII Way

January 8, 2018 | Listen on SoundCloud

Division III members have indicated that fans and parents are often at the root of behavioral and sportsmanship problems during contests. The division formed a working group to help address the problem. That group has, in turn, partnered with the Disney Institute — the company’s leadership development wing — to build a program that provides solutions. Jack Ford with Gary Williams, Wittenberg director of athletics and recreation and chair of the Division III Sportsmanship and Game Environment Working Group.

 

Finding Common Ground

December 18, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

For several years, administrators from Christian schools have gathered with LGBTQ leaders in the college athletics community to discuss their differences — and to seek similarities. Those difficult discussions have yielded tears and long-standing friendships. A look inside the Common Ground initiative. Jack Ford with Amy Wilson, NCAA director of inclusion.

 

Who is Mark Emmert?

December 11, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

The NCAA’s president is often heard speaking about the biggest issues in college sports, but who, really, is he? And how did he land the NCAA’s top job? A look at his journey through the world of higher education, including some stops off the beaten path. Jack Ford with Mark Emmert, NCAA president.

 

Developing Leaders

December 4, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

Student-athlete development staff rarely draw public attention, but play a crucial role. They are tasked with helping prepare college athletes for the lives that await after their playing days and, sometimes, simply serving as a shoulder to cry on. A pair of student-athlete development staffers from Big Ten schools detail their roles — and their goals. Jack Ford with Peyton Owens III, Minnesota associate athletics director for student-athlete development/diversity and inclusion, and Bridget Woodruff, Wisconsin director of student-athlete development.

 

Inside Division I

November 27, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

What role do college presidents play in making rules in Division I? How has that evolved over the years? And what is the division doing to keep pace with issues in college sports that are evolving at a breakneck pace? An NCAA executive with a front-row seat describes the process. Jack Ford with Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for Division I governance.

 

Cheering Section

November 20, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

Academic advisors do more than simply help athletes bolster their grades. They’re also mentors, friends and, when grades are posted, student-athletes’ biggest fans. A Champion magazine writer spent time with Tennessee State’s academic advising staff for a Fall 2017 feature story that illustrated how integral the role is to college sports. Jack Ford with Greg Johnson, Champion magazine associate editor.

 

College Sports Across the Pond

November 13, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

While it’s nearly unheard of for universities overseas to devote resources to college athletics, Japan and a handful of European countries have begun expressing interest in the NCAA’s model. NCAA leaders have spent time sharing the benefits and challenges of tethering competitive sports to higher education. Jack Ford with Mark Emmert, NCAA president.

 

Lost and Found

November 6, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

Citing financial constraints, the University of Alabama at Birmingham shuttered its football program after the 2014 season. But an outcry from the community — and the tens of millions of dollars of donations that ensued — saved the team. The Blazers returned to the field in 2017. A Champion magazine editor who wrote a Summer 2017 feature story on the program’s resurrection sheds light on the program’s journey back from the brink. Jack Ford with Brian Hendrickson, Champion magazine executive editor.

 

How the Eligibility Center Works

October 23, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

So you want to be a Division I or II athlete? The first step — other than maintaining solid grades and excelling in your sport — is to sign up with the NCAA Eligibility Center. A step-by-step walkthrough of what young athletes should expect through the process, and background on how it has evolved through the years. Jack Ford with Felicia Martin, NCAA vice president of enforcement.

 

How the Committee on Infractions Works

October 9, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions is often at the center of major news related to college sports. But who makes up that body? And how does it function? The basics: It is composed of athletics administrators from schools throughout the country and even some members of the public, and is tasked with adjudicating cases argued by NCAA enforcement staff and member schools. In this episode, the committee’s chair describes the process in detail. Greg Christopher, athletics director at Xavier and Division I Committee on Infractions chair, with guest host Cameron Schuh.

 

Title IX at 45

October 2, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

Forty-five years after landmark legislation was passed that ensured equity in higher education, including athletics, how much progress has been made? An examination of how Title IX came to be and its effect on a generation of young women. Though progress has been made, the road to true equality remains long and winding. Jack Ford with Amy Wilson, NCAA director of inclusion.

 

The View from Alaska

September 25, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

How do small schools in far-flung locales manage to maintain an athletics program? What logistical and budgetary hurdles do they face? How do student-athletes who take numerous road trips of hundreds of miles balance their obligations to sports and school? An administrator from one of the NCAA’s most remote universities shares how his program tackles those challenges. Jack Ford with Gary Gray, director of athletics at Alaska Fairbanks.

 

Three Divisions, One Mission

September 18, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

At the highest level of NCAA governance — the NCAA Board of Governors — representatives from all three divisions debate issues and initiatives that can have profound effects on schools at each level. Division I has more seats at the table, but the other two divisions make sure to have their voices heard. A Division III perspective on how the biggest decisions are made. Jack Ford with Alan Cureton, president of Northwestern-St. Paul and vice chair of the Division III Presidents Council.

 

Open Borders?

September 11, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

Division II welcomed Simon Fraser, a Canadian university, to its ranks via a pilot program in 2012. That program is now permanent, and other international schools have expressed interest in joining the NCAA. Division II is weighing whether to open its doors to schools in Mexico, and some administrators are eager to see international expansion. Jack Ford with Les Wong, president of San Francisco State.

 

Travel Madness in March

September 4, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

The job of the small team that coordinates travel to the NCAA’s 90 championships is most frenetic in March. They must help ferry men’s and women’s basketball teams — among those from several other sports — through the month’s madness. A dive into the behind-the-scenes chaos and what it takes to ensure everyone reaches their destination before tipoff. Jack Ford with Juanita Sheely, NCAA director of travel and insurance.

 

Combating Sexual Violence on Campus

August 28, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

As college campuses across the country grapple with incidents of sexual assault, the NCAA Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence is considering college sports’ role in not only preventing sexual violence, but in influencing the culture that amplifies the problem. Jack Ford with Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, co-chair of the commission and superintendent at Army West Point.

 

Where Are the Women?

August 21, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

In 1972, women coached more than 90 percent of college women’s teams. Today, they coach fewer than half. One Champion magazine reporter was determined to find out why. The answer, she learned, wasn’t simple — nor are the solutions that could reverse the trend. Jack Ford with Champion Assistant Editor Rachel Stark.

 

How Sports Draw Students

August 14, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

The enrollment of a small college in Michigan has roughly doubled since 2005. How? The new college president invested in athletics facilities and expanded the college’s sports programs, making Adrian more appealing to a wider swath of students. He feels other small colleges struggling to maintain enrollment and stay solvent can adopt similar strategies and details how, precisely, Adrian has transformed in recent years. Jack Ford with Jeff Docking, president of Adrian.

 

Closing the Race and Gender Gap

August 7, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

College sports suffer from a dearth of minority and female coaches and administrators. A conversation about the obstacles minority candidates face as they seek to climb the ladder and details about programs made available in recent years that help close the gap. Jack Ford with Bernard Franklin, NCAA chief inclusion officer.

 

Examining College Athletes’ Mental Health

July 31, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

The NCAA Sport Science Institute is tasked with addressing a litany of health and safety concerns — concussions and cardiac health among them. But the group’s principal challenge? Mental health. A discussion about how difficulties with mental health can affect college athletes and what services some schools are offering to help. Jack Ford with Dr. Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer.

 

Coming Out in the South

July 24, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

An openly gay college administrator from Mississippi reflects on the difficulties he faced growing up the South, how he came to find acceptance in the world of higher education and how those experiences help him relate to college athletes and other students today. Jack Ford with Brit Katz, Millsaps vice president of student life and dean of students.

 

How NCAA Enforcement Works

July 17, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

The NCAA’s enforcement division is often derided by college sports fans after major penalties are handed down to schools found to have violated the rules. But what, really, is the group’s role? And how does it function? The department’s leader delivers a step-by-step breakdown of the process. Jack Ford with Jon Duncan, NCAA vice president of enforcement.

 

The Quest to Understand Concussions

July 10, 2017 | Listen on SoundCloud

In 2014, the NCAA and Department of Defense launched the largest concussion study in history. Slated to continue for years, perhaps decades, the CARE Consortium study has enrolled nearly 30,000 athletes and cadets at colleges and military academies across the country. One of the study’s primary investigators examines researchers’ preliminary findings, the significant questions they hope to answer — and how they plan to get there. Jack Ford with Tom McAllister, CARE Consortium principal investigator and chair of the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

 

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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