E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University
Currently serving for a second time as president of West Virginia University, Dr. E. Gordon Gee has been a leader in higher education for more than three decades. In 2009 Time magazine named him one of the Top 10 university presidents in the United States. In addition to his service at West Virginia University, Gee served as president of The Ohio State University (twice), Vanderbilt University, Brown University, and the University of Colorado.
Born in Vernal, Utah, Gee graduated from the University of Utah with an honors degree in history and earned his J.D. and Ed.D. degrees from Columbia University. Before starting his career in higher education, he clerked under Chief Justice David T. Lewis of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and was a judicial fellow and staff assistant to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he worked for Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Gee’s service to education-governance organizations and commissions is extensive including the American Association of Universities and the American Council on Education’s Commission on Higher Education Attainment. He also has written extensively on law and education, and is the co-author of 11 books, including Law, Policy and Higher Education published in 2012.
Director of Athletics, University of Richmond
Entering his fifth year as the director of athletics at the University of Richmond, Keith Gill has played a vital role in the growth of Spider athletics since coming to Richmond in December of 2012. Since joining the Spiders, Richmond has won 10 team conference championships, nine individual conference champions and 22 All-Americans. Seven different programs have won conference titles during Gil’s time in Richmond, highlighted by the football team’s run to the FCS Semifinals in the fall of 2015. Academically, the over 350 student-athletes have flourished in the classroom during Gill’s tenure. Over 300 student-athletes have earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes who earn a 3.25 grade point average or higher. This past year, 64-percent of the student-athletes posted a GPA of 3.00 or better, the highest mark in department history.
Athletic Director, Michigan State University
Chairman, College Basketball Selection Committee
This is the vision Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis has for Spartan Athletics.
Hollis, who was named the 2012 Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, is in his ninth year leading the MSU Athletics Department. He officially assumed the role of MSU’s 18th athletics director on Jan. 1, 2008, succeeding Ron Mason.
A 1985 MSU graduate, Hollis returned to his alma mater in 1995 as the associate athletics director for external relations. Since then, he has been a critical component of the athletic department executive management staff, helping guide the department through short- and long-range plans. In addition, Hollis, who has been a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee since 2012, served as chair the committee for the 2016-17 academic year. He also was a former chair of the NCAA Division I Amateurism Cabinet and a former member of the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Issues Committee.
Since his official appointment as athletics director began in 2008, Hollis has led one of the most successful periods in the history of Michigan State athletics. The Spartans have won one national championship (2014 women’s cross country) and 29 Big Ten Championships (regular season and tournament), appeared in three Final Fours and eight bowl games, and own nine top-50 finishes in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. In addition, during Hollis’ tenure as an administrator at MSU, the Spartans have appeared in 19 consecutive men’s basketball NCAA Tournaments – the longest streak in Big Ten history and the third-longest active streak in the nation – and seven Final Fours. The football team appeared in the 2015 College Football Playoff and has also won the Rose Bowl (2014) and Cotton Bowl (2015) in addition to three Big Ten titles in Hollis’ tenure.
Janet P. Judge
Founder and President of Sports Law Associates, LLC
Janet P. Judge is the Founder and President of Sports Law Associates, LLC, recently ranked among the country’s top nine sports law firms by U. S. News and World Report for 2017. Ms. Judge has worked with college and university presidents, general counsel and athletics administrators at more than 500 institutions and conference to assess, develop and implement risk reduction strategies. Relying on more than 30 years of experience in college sports, Janet brings a wealth of practical experience to the dynamic and evolving college sports landscape. Nationally recognized for her Title IX work, Ms. Judge co-authored the NCAA’s gender equity manual and is a member of the NCAA Commission to Combat Sexual Violence. She teaches the popular National Associate of College and University Attorneys Title IX compliance course and regularly investigates, advises and represents schools on equity, treatment, and sexual misconduct matters. Described as an entertaining and compelling speaker, Janet is known for her ability to translate legalese and provide practical tools to meet ongoing legal, institutional and cultural change. A graduate of Harvard College and Boston University School of Law, Janet has worked as a Division l athletics administrator, a soccer and basketball coach, a judicial clerk for the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals, and a trial lawyer. She serves on the boards of HazingPrevention.Org and USA Ultimate, and is included in the Best Lawyers in America for her employment, sports, and higher education law practice.
Chancellor, University of Houston System
President, University of Houston
Renu Khator holds the dual titles of Chancellor of the University of Houston (UH) System and President of the University of Houston. The UH System’s first woman chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive research university in the United States, she assumed her post in January 2008.
As chancellor of the UH System, Khator oversees a four-university organization that serves nearly 70,000 students, has an annual budget that exceeds $1.7 billion, and produces a $6 billion-plus economic impact on the Greater Houston area each year. As president of the University of Houston, she is the chief executive officer of the largest and oldest of the four UH System universities.
Khator was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kanpur. She received her master’s degree in political science and Ph.D. in political science and public administration from Purdue University. A noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy, she has published numerous books and articles on the subject. Prior to her appointment, she was provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, capping a 22-year career at that institution.
Abraham D. Madkour
Executive Editor, Sports Business Journal
Abraham Madkour is Executive Editor of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, SportsBusiness Daily, and SportsBusiness Daily Global.
Mr. Madkour is responsible for determining the editorial content and shaping the editorial direction of the leading publications on the business of sports, while managing the entire editorial staff. In addition, he oversees all the editorial content for the various conferences produced by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Group, including the prestigious World Congress of Sports and Forty Under 40 awards dinner. Mr. Madkour serves as the lead moderator and editorial spokesman for all of the company’s events.
Mr. Madkour joined SportsBusiness Daily as a Senior Staff Writer when the publication launched in August 1994. He was named Editor-in-Chief in September 1996 and became Executive Editor of SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily in 2003.
Prior to joining SportsBusiness Daily, Mr. Madkour was a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. In addition to working with Senator Leahy, Mr. Madkour had stints working for the Washington Bullets and the Baltimore Orioles in 1993 and 1994.
He lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is a graduate of the University of Vermont.
Hania Jarrah Poole
Vice-President/General Manager, NCAA Digital
Hania Poole is the Vice-President/General Manager for NCAA Digital. In this role, Poole oversees the content, operations, and product development for the NCAA Digital business, which includes NCAA.com, NCAA Sports App, the live coverage of all NCAA Championships and the continued management of NCAA March Madness Live. This also includes managing the day-to-day relationship with league partners at the NCAA. Poole reports to Mark Johnson, senior vice-president of Turner Sports.
Most recently serving as the Senior Director of Product Management and Operations for March Madness Live, Poole has guided the team behind the suite of digital offerings to three straight years of unprecedented growth. The 2016 National Championship grossed 2.5 billion minutes of consumption across television and digital platforms. NCAA March Madness Live netted 3.4 million live video streams and 1.1 million live hours of video consumption, the latter a 16% increase over last year.
Prior to her role with NCAA March Madness, Poole served as Director of Business Operations for Turner Sports, focusing on emerging media partnerships for the company’s broad portfolio of leading sports properties – the NBA, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, Major League Baseball and professional golf. Before that, Poole was Director of Business Operations for PGA.com, the official site for the PGA of America.
Before joining Turner Sports, Poole was a senior product manager in Turner’s New Product Development group. In this position, she launched PlayON! Sports, a low-cost, live streaming platform for high school and college sports. She also launched TVinContext, a premium advertising offering.
Poole received her bachelor’s degree in public policy and French from Duke University and earned her master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is based in Atlanta with her husband and two children.
Gary R. Roberts
President, Bradley University
Gary R. Roberts became the 11th President of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois in January 2016. He graduated from Bradley University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and minors in history and speech. He received his J.D. in 1975 from Stanford University. He is considered one of the foremost sports law experts and scholars in the country.
He is Dean Emeritus and was Gerald L. Bepko Professor of Law of the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University in Indianapolis, where he served as Dean from 2007-2013. Prior to that, he spent 24 years at Tulane University Law School serving as Vice Dean, Deputy Dean, the Sumter Davis Marks professor of Business Law and Director of the first Sports Law Program established in the United States that he founded. After graduating from Stanford Law School, he clerked for Judge Ben Duniway of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco before going into private practice with the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, DC.
Roberts has continued to practice law part-time throughout his academic career with a focus on antitrust and sports law. He has been a frequent commentator on broadcast and in print media on sports-related legal and business issues. He was the on-air legal analyst for the NFL Network and a lead analyst for other national media outlets during the NFL lockout in 2011. He has testified before congressional committees on nine occasions on sports matters.
While a student at Bradley, he was an active member of the debate team, one of the four members of the five-time undefeated College Bowl Team and was actively involved in student government, being president of his sophomore class, student-body treasurer during his junior year and a member of the student supreme court his senior year.
Currently he is a member of the CEO Council, the Board of Directors of the Children’s Home of Central Illinois, and chairman of the By-Laws Committee and a member of the Finance Committee for Alignment Peoria. Along with his wife Donna, he will co-chair the United Way Pillars Society in 2017.
Commissioner, Pac-12 Conference
Throughout his career as a student-athlete, professional athlete, and sports executive, Larry Scott has been an innovative leader whose vision for transformative change and firm belief that sport can be a force for positive change have been hallmarks of his career.
As Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference, Scott has orchestrated a rebranding of the Conference, successfully added Colorado and Utah, created a Football Championship Game, transformed the basketball tournaments, and secured agreement for equal revenue sharing.
He has also delivered a landmark media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox Sports, and created Pac-12 Networks, the first-ever integrated media company owned by a college conference.
His vision for the Pac-12 is global with an initiative that has already led to athletic events and student-athlete cultural exchange programs, and in 2015 and 2016 featured the first-ever pro or collegiate regular season basketball games in China.
Prior to the Pac-12, Scott served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the WTA Tour, Chief Operating Officer and President of ATP Tour, and played professional tennis on the ATP.
Among many honors, Scott was a finalist for the 2012 Sports Executive of the Year by the Sports Business Journal. In 2013, Scott was given the Americanism Award by the Anti-Defamation League in tribute to his work to affect positive change through sports. Scott also serves on the Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Scott’s career in athletics extends back to his captaincy of Harvard University’s tennis team, where he was named an All-American and earned a B.A. in History.
Athletic Director, the Ohio State University
Gene Smith is in his 12th year as director of athletics at The Ohio State University. Hired in 2005, he was promoted to Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director in May of 2016. He is widely recognized among the leaders of his profession and has been named “one of the most powerful people in collegiate sport.”
Smith is the eighth person to hold the athletics director position at Ohio State. He previously served as director of athletics at Arizona State, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan universities and is entering his 32nd year in the role.
At Ohio State, the 60-year old Smith oversees the nation’s most comprehensive and one of its most successful collegiate athletic programs. The department sponsors 36 fully-funded varsity sports with more than 1000 student-athletes competing for Big Ten Conference and NCAA championships.
Smith has additional oversight responsibility for the Business Advancement division of Ohio State which includes: Schottenstein Center, Nationwide Arena, Blackwell Hotel, Drake Union, Fawcett Center, and Trademark & Licensing.
- Steve Smith is in his 11th year as a studio analyst for NBA TV. He appears on NBA GameTime, a live studio show featuring highlights, analysis, commentary and live look-ins at games being played across the league. Smith also provides analysis for select NBA on TNT regular season and playoff games.
- Smith also serves as a game analyst for Turner and CBS’ NCAA Division I Men’s Championship coverage, his sixth consecutive year as a studio or game analyst.
- The 2016-17 season will mark Smith’s 10th with Turner (2005-06 & 2008-09 through current)