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On Tuesday, LEAD1 Association (“LEAD1”) released its latest episode of the “LEAD1 Angle with Tom McMillen,” where LEAD1 CEO McMillen sat down with Counsel at Winstead, Mike Perrin, the former Athletic Director at the University of Texas (UT).
Like McMillen who began his tenure with LEAD1 in 2015, Perrin took the chair at UT the same year after spending 43 years as a trial lawyer. Perrin quickly became the face of UT athletics with an eye toward making himself available to the UT community. As Perrin alludes to in the interview, transitioning from trial lawyer to athletic director was an albeit unlikely, but natural switch, after being in the spotlight for so many years in court.
For those looking for a novel conversation on the biggest issues in college sports, this episode of the LEAD1 Angle does just that — as it is less of an interview, but more of a conversation between McMillen and Perrin, who first met at a LEAD1 meeting in 2015, and have continued collaborating ever since.
In that regard, McMillen and Perrin discussed the economic and societal ramifications with respect to COVID-19. For college sports, ticket sales, sponsorships, concessions, parking, and other revenue streams have been cut. There may be lasting effects, even beyond a potential vaccine, such as sports fans’ heightened sensitivity to big crowds, less travel among schools, and more live streaming of sporting events. The current collegiate model may also soon change with the NCAA soon expected to vote on name, image, and likeness (NIL) rule changes, possible regionalization of sporting contests, and potential conference realignment when some of the larger television contracts expire in the next several years.
With the collegiate sports model continually heading towards full professionalization, perhaps the biggest takeaway from this LEAD1 Angle episode is that the value of a full collegiate scholarship should still not be overlooked. With the reality that very few student-athletes advance to play their sport professionally, the value of a debt-free education is still very real and can have a positive ripple effect on future generations, all while yielding immediate tangible benefits.
More in the recording can be found with respect to student-athlete NIL rule changes, Perrin’s message to young aspiring sports professionals, and his outlook on the future of college sports for the next several years.