Emily Attwood
Emily (emily@athleticbusiness.com) joined the Athletic Business team in 2011, a natural transition from her previous work at PFP (Personal Fitness Professional), a B2B fitness industry brand, and Inside Wisconsin Sports, a consumer sports publication. AB’s managing editor by day, Emily spends her nights typing away at what she hopes will someday turn into a novel that other people will find worth reading. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Emily continues to enjoy living in the city with her husband, Derek, and biking to work, except during winter, when she doesn't enjoy much of anything.
  • Thursday, May, 01, 2014
    Proper Cleaning and Maintenance for Hardwood Courts

    A hardwood court is a big investment for any athletic facility. Like any big investment, organizations want to do whatever they can to take care of it. But when the people in charge of the court are unfamiliar with proper basic care, they tend to end up doing too much — or not enough. "With gym floors, there's so many misconceptions about what you're supposed to or not supposed to do because the floor is wood," says Bill Price Jr., national sport manger with Aurora, Colo.-based hardwood care specialist Bona. "The people who maintain floors have grown up with the notion that you can't put water on wood. For that reason, most gym floors get neglected. They don't get the proper maintenance because people are afraid."


  • Thursday, April, 24, 2014
    Exploring New Ways to Improve Fan Engagement

    With myriad media options available for fans to experience their favorite sporting events, the competition for viewers' attention is starting to rival the competition on the field. From online social media campaigns driving awareness to facility enhancements aimed at luring fans back into the seats, athletic organizations are focusing more attention and resources on what's happening off the court to help them gain a greater understanding of their audience.


  • Monday, April, 14, 2014
    Looking Back to 1989: Future Games

    A March court ruling granting football players at Northwestern University the right to unionize has left everyone speculating about the future of the NCAA, but such speculation has been floating around longer than most of today’s college athletes have been alive. Check out the predictions about the NCAA’s future set forth in this AB article from December 1989.


  • Sunday, April, 13, 2014
    New Projects: U. Northwestern-St. Paul; Grapevine Center

    Breaking Ground

    University of Northwestern-St. Paul has broken ground on new athletic facilities for its football, soccer, baseball, softball and tennis programs (right). The $10.7 million project will include new synthetic turf fields for football/soccer, baseball and softball, as well as six regulation-size tennis courts, updated bleacher seating and new locker rooms. Completion of the new facilities is expected by fall 2014.


  • Monday, April, 07, 2014
    Kansas Senate Approves Tax Break for Health Clubs

    After a long and heated debate, the Kansas Senate approved a bill on Friday exempting for-profit health clubs from paying property taxes on the premise that such businesses face unfair competition from nonprofits such as the YMCA. 


  • Friday, April, 04, 2014
    Blog: Wine at the Gym? I’ll Drink to That

    Cardio equipment? Check. Towel service? Check. Group exercise schedule? Check. Liquor license? Pending.


  • Friday, April, 04, 2014
    AB Buyers Guide: We Want Your Input

    By now, you should have received your copy of Athletic Business's annual Buyers Guide, a directory of manufacturers, suppliers, architects, consultants and all of the other information athletic, fitness and recreation professionals need to make informed buying decisions.

    Now, we have one question for you: How can we make it better?

    To help us answer that question, we need to ask you a few more. Eleven, to be exact. We would appreciate if you would take a few minutes of your time to share with us your opinions of our print and online Buyers Guide resources as we look to make them even more valuable tools in future years.

    Take the survey>>>

    Thanks for all of your input! As always, we love to hear your feedback, whether about this issue or any of the content you read in the magazine or at athletibusiness.com.


  • Wednesday, March, 26, 2014
    Military Stepping Up Fitness Initiatives to Become Wellness Leader

    The Armed Forces have long been seen as the epitome of fitness, trailblazing the way for new and evermore impressive exercise programs. Look no further than TRX and other suspension-training offshoots, bootcamp-style workouts and military-inspired obstacle runs, to name a few examples.


  • Tuesday, March, 25, 2014
    Inspections, Monitoring Key to Optimal Gym Operation

    When everything in a facility is in good working order and operating smoothly, it's all too easy for staff members to become complacent, trusting that everything will stay that way.


  • Thursday, March, 13, 2014
    Cracking $60M Stadium May Require Partial Teardown

    When “extensive cracking” in the concrete closed down Allen (Tex.) High School’s Eagle Stadium last month, no one knew just how serious the damage was, but anyone could guess fixing it wouldn’t be easy. The full report from Nelson Forensics on the stadium’s condition was released on Wednesday, and the news isn’t good. 


     

    According to the report, the damage was the result of "drying shrinkage of the concrete” — that is, the concrete was poorly cured. Cracks range in size from hairline to a third of an inch and have allowed water to seep into the floor joist system, causing further structural weakening. 

    "The cracking has decreased the service life of the structure and potentially decreased its structural capacity," the report says.

    Nelson Forensics proposed four possible solutions. The first and most expensive would be to completely tear down and rebuild the concourse level, replacing concrete slabs and adding additional fixes to the floor joist system. While it would also take the most time to complete, it would provide a long-term fix. 

    RELATED: Pogue Construction's Statement Regarding Allen Eagle Stadium

    The other options would provide different variations of temporary, bandaid fixes, relying on epoxy injections to seal the cracks. While each would be cheaper than partial reconstruction and be accomplished in less time, each would need to be redone on a regular basis.

    Additional testing is expected to take months to complete at an estimated cost of $100,000. The school district has not yet made a decision on what action it will take, nor whether the stadium will be open for the fall athletics season. 

     


  • Friday, June, 19, 2015
    A Response to Critics of Soaring College Rec Spending

    “LSU Faces Dramatic Budget Cuts While It Builds An Expensive Lounging Pool” This was the headline of an article that appeared in The Huffington Post this past May criticizing Louisiana State University’s spending of $84.75 million on an overhaul of its recreation facilities despite a threatened $55.5 million funding cut from the state.

    Last week New Jersey governor Chris Christie admonished what he considers wasteful spending in the higher education system, denouncing “extras” such as lazy rivers and climbing walls.

    "Some colleges are drunk on cash and embarking on crazy spending binges,” he said.

    If you work in college recreation, the incidents made you cringe.

    The cost of higher education is going to get a lot of attention leading up to the 2016 election, and unfortunately, that’s going to come with a lot of misguided scrutiny of campus recreation programs.

    What both incidents overlook — as anyone working in college recreation will immediately recognize — is that a university’s education budget and recreation budget are two entirely different things. Campus recreation centers are not built at the expense of science labs or classrooms. For most universities, such projects are funded (and maintained) from students fees.

    "The funds for the project come directly from the student fee and can only be used for the project," LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard told The Huffington Post. "Similar to donations to the university or funds from the state for capital projects, these types of funds can't be shifted to fill in budget holes or be used in another way. They can only be used for what they were originally designated for."

    The impact of such facilities on the price of a college education is actually minimal, according to David Feldman, economics professor at College of William & Mary.

    “Lazy rivers are only a tiny piece of the costs,” he told Inside Higher Ed. “These lazy rivers are not the reason why student debt is soaring seemingly out of control. The big problem that higher education faces today, at the public side, is cuts in state spending.”

    Some argue that cuts in spending are actually driving the construction of bigger and better recreation amenities, as universities look draw in more out of state students. According to research from the University of Michigan, “wealthier students [are] much more willing to pay for consumption amenities.”

    Despite its negative headline, The Huffington Post article went on to admit as much, quoting a 2013 article in which former Miami University president James Garland explains, “We took advantage of low interest rates for municipal bonds and invested in rehabilitating our residence halls and eating facilities and putting in more recreation -- workout rooms and lounges, and the kinds of accouterments that really dressed up a campus and made it a much more comfortable and familiar place for upper-middle class students. So those students started applying to us in droves. Application numbers went up, we became more selective, and the SAT scores of the entering class became higher."

    So, in the face of a $55.5 million budget cut (avoided, thankfully) LSU would need to rely more heavily on the appeal of its non-academic offerings to bring in more students and more revenue. As Jane Wellman, a finance expert with College Futures Foundation, told Inside Higher Ed, the issue is not of how colleges spend money, but the priorities of schools.

    “The sense is that college costs are going up too rapidly, and institutions aren’t doing enough to control them,” she says. “The critique underneath that is the critique of the decision-making culture in higher education.”

    Rather than ask why LSU would spend $85 million on a recreation center, maybe politicians should be asking why the state of Louisiana was mulling a $55 million cut to education.

    We won’t get into the other complexities of campus recreation facilities, such as the positive economic impact of construction (According to NIRSA, $1.7B was spent on 157 recreation construction projects in 2012), the employment opportunities afforded to students, the educational programming opportunities, the importance of recreation to students' quality of life (and GPA), the role in building a schools’ reputation, or any number of issues.

    Unfortunately, neither will the politicians pinning the climbing costs of higher education on climbing walls.

     


  • Monday, June, 16, 2014
    AB's Architectural Showcase a Yearlong Affair

    The Architectural Showcase in June is the one issue of Athletic Business I look forward to most each year. It's also the issue I spend most of each year working on.


  • Friday, April, 04, 2014
    Blog: Wine at the Gym? I’ll Drink to That

    Cardio equipment? Check. Towel service? Check. Group exercise schedule? Check. Liquor license? Pending.


  • Thursday, February, 27, 2014
    Blog: Let Them Eat Cake, If They So Choose

    On Tuesday, the White House announced a series of new initiatives as part of the fourth anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” program. Many of them are a great step forward in the battle against childhood obesity and inactivity, including an expansion of the school breakfast program and a five-year partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association and Boys & Girls Clubs of America will provide 5 million children with healthy snacks and physical activity opportunities after school. 


  • Monday, January, 13, 2014
    Blog: Women-Only Fitness Zones Perpetuate Stereotypes

    Here at AB, it’s the editors’ job to stay on top of what’s happening in the industries we serve. As such, last Friday I came across an article about a gym in Vancouver getting some flak for its decision to close its women-only section. 


  • Thursday, October, 10, 2013
    Blog: If You Can't Beat 'Em… Beat 'Em Up!

    I was sitting in a hotel lobby surrounded by other people when I opened up my morning news alerts and saw an article announcing the Kentucky High School Athletic Associations' decision to suspend post-game handshakes, so I had to keep my disgust to a minimum - a casual eye roll and understated sigh. Seriously? These athletes are displaying poor sportsmanship, and the solution to that is to do away with the concept? That's like dropping math from the curriculum because the students aren't getting it.


  • Friday, September, 20, 2013
    Blog: Defending "The Slowest Generation"

    Friday afternoon, when I should have been hard at work on AB's November issue, I instead found myself fuming over an article from Thursday's Wall Street Journal sent to me by our company owner. The article deemed younger athletes "The Slowest Generation," and accused my generation of being too apathetic about performance and competition.