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Percy Bates named 2019 Pat Summitt Award recipient

Former Michigan faculty athletics representative will accept award at NCAA Convention

Retired University of Michigan professor and longtime faculty athletics representative Percy Bates will receive the 2019 NCAA President’s Pat Summitt Award. Bates will accept the award Jan. 24 at the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The award recognizes an individual in the Association’s membership who has demonstrated devotion to development of student-athletes and has made a positive impact on their lives. Bates is the third person to receive the award.

“I was introduced to the sport of women’s basketball by watching coach Summitt move up and down the sidelines while coaching her Lady Vols,” Bates said. “It is an unbelievable honor to be associated with her legacy and an honor that I will always remember.”

Bates worked at Michigan for 52 years. After he earned his Ph.D. in education psychology in 1968 while lecturing full time at the university, he became a professor and served in several roles within the education department, including as assistant dean. He also served as Michigan’s faculty athletics representative for 22 years.

“Dr. Bates is an exemplary educator who spent his career serving diverse student populations, including student-athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “His lifelong dedication to issues of equity in education has had a direct impact on students of all ages and backgrounds. I thank him for his tireless efforts to provide opportunities for young people to succeed in life.”

Bates worked extensively to support collegiate athletics through his role as Michigan’s FAR. He was the first FAR to chair the NCAA’s Division I Management Council, where he was also the liaison for the national Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In 2000, he spent one year as the president of the Faculty Athletics Representative Association. From 2002-03, he was a member of the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics, and in 2010, he was inducted to the McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame.

Bates focused much of his career on issues of diversity in education. On campus, he served as the director of the Programs for Educational Opportunity for the Desegregation/Equity Assistance Center in the school of education. He also worked for the Lives of Urban Children and Youth program and in the school of education.

Outside of Michigan, Bates devoted his time and expertise to statewide and national education issues. In 1980, he took a one-year leave from the university to serve as a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education. He chaired the Higher Education Commission of the National Alliance of Black School Educators for four years and later led a group that supported Michigan school districts by assessing education programs and assisting teachers and administrators with equity, gender and desegregation issues.

“I always believed that my goal in life was to help individuals and students grow and learn to the best of their abilities,” Bates said. “I was especially drawn to student-athletes because they carried the additional load of being a student as well as an athlete. As I look back over my total career, working with student-athletes allowed me to fulfill my dream to make a difference in the world and their dreams to become good citizens and productive members of society.”

Award recipients are selected annually by the NCAA president and receive a $10,000 honorarium to donate to the organization of the honoree’s choice that combats or researches neurological diseases of the brain. Bates plans to donate the honorarium to the Parkinson’s Foundation, noting two close friends have Parkinson’s, and he hopes to support them and the organization as it finds an eventual cure for the illness.

The 2018 recipient of the Pat Summitt Award was Julie Soriero, athletics director at MIT.

Learn more about Percy Bates