Big Ten Network’s ‘Expert Opinion’ Explores The Selling of College Sports

Article originally published by Sports Video Group:

This summer, the Big Ten Network is presenting three hour-long programs discussing issues facing college sports programs. The second edition of Expert Opinion premiered on Thursday, July 16, tackling the topic, “The Selling of College Sports.”

The discussion covers a number of topics, including whether student athletes and college programs should be compensated for their names and likenesses in video games and jersey sales; financial pressures of colleges to “afford as many sports as we can,” and commercial income aiding both college budgets and students.

Richard Herman, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, comments in the show that “ultimately, all of us believe that the monies that come in allow for access to athletics, allow for greater access to the institutions, allow for greater educational support of the athletes who otherwise might not get through the university.”

The series is the brainchild of Penn State President Graham Spanier, who currently hosts both radio and television talk programs on Penn State’s public broadcasting channels. He reportedly cut his teeth on college radio in his undergraduate days.

Penn State spokesperson Jill Shockey describes the programs as a “constructive conversation between representative decision makers who are experts on their particular perspectives in college athletics, trying to get a handle on where these issues stand.”

Hosted by Penn State’s Spanier, panelists for the July 16 program include Illinois’ Herman, Andy Geiger, former Athletic Director at Ohio State, and Malcolm Moran, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism at Penn State and former New York Times and USA Today sports journalist.

“We haven’t had to grapple with commercialization as much as we have to today,” Shockey explains. “Especially in today’s economy, the cost and revenues on both sides of the ledger books of college athletics are relevant topics.”

A preview of the July 16 program is available here.

The series, which is shot at the Big Ten Network’s studios in Chicago, presents its third program on July 23, exploring “The College Student as Athlete.” The programs air on Thursday nights at 7 p.m. with a repeat at 1 a.m.

Shockey says it is hoped the series will continue in the fall.