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NCAA launches Final Four speaker series event: Final Four Talks

The NCAA will launch its inaugural Final Four Talks event on Sunday, April 4, the day between the Men’s Basketball National Semifinal games and the National Championship. This year, the invitation-only event will be virtual, though the intent is to hold the event annually and in person moving forward.

Final Four Talks is the NCAA’s newest initiative to introduce and engage student-athletes, collegiate administrators, partners, local leaders and organizations through innovative and inspirational ideas designed to broaden perspectives and inspire action through short, powerful discussions meant to shape their collective future. This year’s theme is “A (Racially) Just Future.”

This year’s group of speakers will focus on topics ranging from the impact of athlete-led activism to learning a new history that deviates from what one has been taught to the grit needed to fight through inequality and injustice. In addition to the short talks, there will be a panel discussion and other activations, including the opportunity for audience members to engage with speakers, as well as one another, in order to foster deeper thought and actions.

“We are excited to launch this initiative to continue conversations about overcoming inequality and racial injustice,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “We hope the dialogue and interaction between panelists and guests will allow participants to learn from the shortcomings of our past and identify how we can serve a role in creating a better future for all.”

Confirmed speakers include author and NAACP Image Award winner Clifton Taulbert, WNBA Atlanta Dream forward and activist Elizabeth Williams and Martin Jarmond, director of athletics at UCLA. The full roster of speakers will be released later. Please visit ncaa.com/finalfourtalks for the most updated information.

Organizing this event for the NCAA is Neelay Bhatt, vice president of Indianapolis-based PROS Consulting and a TEDx speaker, curator and co-organizer for TEDxIndianapolis and TEDxIndianapolisWomen. Bhatt and the NCAA will donate any fees associated with curation of the event to four Indianapolis nonprofits, each of which are dedicated to a racially just future. The organizations are 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, the Catch the Stars Foundation, the Grassroot Projects and the Indianapolis Immigrant Welcome Center. 

“I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of the inaugural Final Four Talks,” Bhatt said. “Ideas have the power to influence minds and inspire action and, through this stage, we aspire to create a lasting impact on and off the court, not just nationally but globally.”

Although the event is invitation-only, a recording will be released shortly after the event for general consumption. Visit ncaa.com/finalfourtalks for more information and upcoming speaker announcements.