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Volume 21 No. 34
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Plugged In: Brad Bates

One of the things Brad Bates enjoys the most while teaching a graduate-level class at the University of North Carolina is talking about the current events in college athletics. And recently, there’s been plenty to talk about. Bates, the former athletic director at Boston College and Miami (Ohio), joined UNC’s Sport Administration faculty earlier this year and currently is teaching Finance and Economics of College Sports. He also taught classes at BC and Miami while he was AD. Bates joined UNC’s program after resigning from BC and moving south to work with Todd Turner’s firm, Collegiate Sports Associates, as a consultant to athletic departments, where he engages with clients on facility planning, long-term strategies and organizational structure.

Having gone through hirings and firings and being able to articulate what that is like in the classroom is really invaluable.

On the changes within the AD job: There’s a real evolution taking place in the business, everything from the way hiring and firing is done to the way fans consume the games. … It’s interesting following the job openings in college football, how social media is impacting the searches and how fans are engaging that mechanism to celebrate or express their displeasure.

Speaking of hiring and firing: That is the most important thing an AD does. If our primary professional purpose is the development of the students, then the person we’re entrusting to do that the most is the coach.

On teaching the economics of college sports: We cover financing of stadiums and venues, ticket sales, the cost of scandal to an institution, coaches salaries, anything that has to do with the finance side. … Some of our students have worked full time in athletics, some have done internships and some have just graduated. They’re all within three to four years of graduation, but the ones who have been off working in conference offices or in athletic departments are a little further along.

On collaborating with UNC athletics: By their second year of the program, they get into the practical experience with the UNC athletic department, which surrounds them with experts in the field and the ability to see what they do every day.

                                                                                                                            — Michael Smith