Paul Steinbach
Paul Steinbach (paul@athleticbusiness.com) joined the Athletic Business staff in November 1999, and now holds the title of senior editor. His work covering college athletics and sports facility operation has garnered several regional and national journalism honors, including a Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award. He is a 1989 graduate of the University of Wisconsin and currently resides with his children Jack and Libby in his hometown of West Bend, Wis. In his spare time, he enjoys mowing patterns into his backyard ballpark — the naming rights to which are still available.
  • Wednesday, April, 25, 2018
    Basketball Commission Releases Recommendations

    The independent Commission on College Basketball today released a 60-page report with recommendations for improving the sport rocked by scandal last year.

    Chaired by former secretary of state Condelezza Rice, the commission was formed seven months ago after allegations that several college assistant coaches had accepted bribes and kickbacks for certain recruiting practices, leading to a federal corruption investigation. The much-anticipated recommendations pull few punches, including lifetime bans for coaches who cheat.

    "The members of this commission come from a wide variety of backgrounds but the one thing that they share in common is that they believe the college basketball enterprise is worth saving," Rice told the AP, as reported by ESPN.com. "We believe there's a lot of work to do in that regard. That the state of the game is not very strong.

    "We had to be bold in our recommendations."

    The commission addressed the one-and-done rule, recommending that elite players be given more options when choosing their competitive career tracks, and that the NBA and NCAA tracks should be clearly separate. It recommended that the NBA and its players association discontinue the rule that players must be at least 19 years old and a year removed from high school to be eligible for the league draft. Without changes to that rule, in place since 2006, the commission said it could reconvene to recommend that the NCAA make freshmen ineligible or to lock scholarships for three or four years should a player leave college after one year. It also recommended that basketball players be allowed to test the professional market in high school or after any college season, while still maintaining college eligibility.

    NCAA enforcement was another target of the commission, which recommended that allegations of the most serious violations be investigated and adjudicated by a third party, with penalties upped from one-year post-season bans to five-year bans, during which the school would be forbidden from sharing in any post-season revenue — potentially costing guilty institutions in major conferences tens of millions of dollars. Coaches who run afoul of NCAA rules should be banned from college basketball for life, the commission concluded.

    Other recommendations included more transparency among shoe and apparel providers such as Adidas, whose under-the-table cash incentives to coaches were central to the federal corruption case, and more due diligence among university presidents, who should be required to "certify annually that they have conducted due diligence and that their athletic programs comply with NCAA rules."

    NCAA president Mark Emmert was part of the commission, but not allowed to participate in executive sessions, during which recommendations were formed. Rice estimates the commission spent 70 percent of its time in executive session.

    The commission warned against scapegoating the NCAA. 

    "When those institutions and those responsible for leading them short-circuit rules, ethics and norms in order to achieve on-court success, they alone are responsible," the commission wrote. "Too often, these individuals hide behind the NCAA when they are the ones most responsible for the degraded state of intercollegiate athletics, in general, and college basketball in particular."


  • Monday, April, 23, 2018
    Suspended Kansas Rowers Talk of Power-Hungry Coach

    A member of the University of Kansas women's rowing team feels the school is taking too long to investigate a social media scandal that has forced her and six teammates to miss three rowing events this season — equivalent to the suspension received had they failed a drug test for the second time.

    The seven suspensions were issued in late March after coaches discovered the rowers had created alias social media accounts, a violation of section 501 of the Kansas Athletics Policies and Procedures Manual, which states, "I will not create fake or alias social media accounts. I understand that any information placed on any social media site is a reflection of me, my team, Kansas Athletics and the University of Kansas."

    Two of the seven rowers spoke to The University Daily Kansan on the condition they would remain anonymous. One of them, a junior, decried a lack of communication between administrators, coaches and the suspended athletes, who are awaiting any word regarding their potential reinstatement. Only two events remain on the Kansas rowing schedule — the Sunflower Showdown and Big 12 championships — before the NCAA championships are held in late May.

    The two rowers also question why seven were suspended, claiming administrators and coaches are aware of at last 30 women on the team who have launched alias social media accounts. "It seems really targeted and very selective about who they have chosen to suspend and who they chose to keep on the team, and they’re really been horrible about communicating,” said the other rower who spoke to the Kansan.

    According to the junior rower, the atmosphere surrounding the team changed at the start of the 2017-18 season, when Carrie Cook-Callen took over from long-time head coach Rob Catloth. Since becoming head coach, Cook-Callen has made changes to the student-athlete contract — ranging from the rule about alias social media accounts to a ban on the wearing of eye masks during team flights. 

    “I would say it was a lot better” under Catloth, the junior said, “because you could kind of complain about him, then you’d go home and your life would still be your life. But coach Callen has just taken over everything, and you can’t really get away from her.

    “I just feel like KU Athletics and the coaching staff just need to be held accountable because they’ve just had so much power for so long, and it’s all gone to their heads.”


  • Friday, April, 20, 2018
    Review Firm: Iowa Policy Sets Harassment Bar Too High

    A law firm tasked with reviewing the University of Iowa's employment policies recommends that the school revise its definition of workplace harassment.

    Fredrikson and Byron, a Des Moines-based firm hired after a jury award and additional settlements involving former senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer and companion Tracey Griesbaum cost Iowa $6.5 million, stated in a report released Thursday that the university's anti-harassment policy sets the bar too high in its description of harassment speech that could be considered illegal. In doing so, employees could “erroneously believe that harassment that falls short of this standard must be tolerated and not reported." The current policy "does not accurately communicate what constitutes protected-class harassment in the workplace," and should be revised, according to the report, which also recommends harassment training for employees, though it didn't specify which ones.

    From ABHow to Avoid Iowa's Costly Discrimination Mistakes

    Last May, less than 24 hours after a jury awarded Meyer $1.43 million in a wrongful termination case, Iowa president Bruce Harreld announced that the school's policies would be reviewed. It hired Fredrikson and Byron in November and has paid the firm $97,575, including expenses, according to the Des Moines Register.

    Other recommendations in the 39-page report include making it easier to suspend employees for egregious sexual harassment and clarifying conduct protected in the anti-retaliation policy. In general, the review was positive, pointing out that university and athletic department policies on human rights, sexual harassment, anti-retaliation and violence complied with state and federal laws. 


  • Friday, April, 20, 2018
    Delivering Sound in Large Spectator Sports Venues

    When Ken Voss has Chicago Blackhawks tickets, he makes sure to arrive in his United Center seat 20 minutes before the puck is dropped. There are spectacular scoreboard visuals and on-ice projections, but the pregame hat trick isn't complete until Jim Cornelison belts out "The Star Spangled Banner" and "O Canada" into a live microphone. As Voss puts it, "To listen to the Irish baritone do the national anthem in that stadium just brings goose bumps."


  • Thursday, April, 19, 2018
    Youth Tackle Football Ban Likely Dead in Illinois

    A bill that would have banned tackle football for children younger than 12 lacks sufficient support to proceed through the Illinois Legislature.

    State representative Carol Sente, a Democrat from Vernon Hills, had spearheaded the so-called Dave Duerson Act, and hopes it still has a future despite the fact she is leaving the assembly. "Passing this bill is an extremely important goal to me," Sente said, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. "I don’t plan to call the bill for a vote this year, but I’m going to keep it open because every week there is new information."

    Duerson, a safety on the Chicago Bears 1985 championship team, committed suicide at age 50 and was later found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy. His son, Tregg, stood with Sente when she unveiled the legislations in January. The bill also received support from scientists and former football players, but was opposed by youth football coaches. "Coaches and parents are looking at safety in everything we do," said Jeffery Nicoll, president of the Bill George Youth Football League, which covers 19 towns mostly in DuPage County and allows kids to begin participation as early as the second grade. "Given the changes to tackle football in the last four to five years, not to mention the last 20, it is much safer. CTE is not an issue with youth football as it is at the college and pro level."

    Added Bob Anderson, a coach and board member of the Junior Spartans in Northbrook, "We had 100 kids play tackle football last year and there were zero concussions."


  • Wednesday, April, 18, 2018
    NCAA Committee Ties Transfer Eligibility to Academics

    The NCAA Division I Committee on Academics appears intent on allowing student-athletes in high academic standing a one-time opportunity to transfer schools and compete immediately regardless of what sport the student plays.

    The committee reiterated its support for the concept during meetings held earlier this month in Indianapolis. Currently, student-athletes in most sports must sit out a year of competition at their new school upon transferring, a practice that may both slow progress toward graduation and pose additional financial burden on those high-achieving transferring student-athletes and their new schools, according to data cited by the committee. The suggested rule change would create a seamless transition for student-athletes carrying, for example, a minimum grade-point average between 3.0 and 3.3 paired with progress-toward-degree requirements.

    As reported at NCAA.org, committee members noted that at all other times in a student-athlete’s career, eligibility for competition is determined by a student’s academic record — for example, before they can compete as a freshman, whether they are making adequate progress toward a degree and after they have transferred from a two-year college. When Division I members created those standards, they considered the differences across degree programs, curricula and schools, as any four-year transfer rule would.

    Not surprisingly, the proposal is supported by student-athletes. “You should be rewarded for your academics,” said committee member Nicole Sherwin, a representative of the national Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee who earned degrees in biomedical science and psychology while playing soccer at Northern Arizona. “Athletics (participation) is a privilege, not a right. It’s important that we remember that they are able to transfer to another school if they’d like to, but playing immediately would be a privilege for being in the right academic spot.”


  • Tuesday, April, 17, 2018
    Kline Center Features Shaded Exterior Multipurpose Space

    With its all-glass facade, a 2014 addition to the Kline Athletic Center at Dickinson College employs a shading system of vertical steel tubes spaced from the curtainwall at varying dimensions.


  • Monday, April, 16, 2018
    Schools Share Field Lighting Upgrade Success Stories

    One high school wished to control light spilling from its multipurpose field so neighbors would no longer feel the need to drape blankets over their windows at night. Another school wanted to improve athlete safety on its soccer field by replacing 18-year-old fixtures that had degraded to such an extent that spill light was of little concern. A university sought to intensify its baseball field lighting to broadcast levels with an eye toward one day hosting NCAA postseason play.


  • Monday, April, 16, 2018
    Ken Morton Talks NIRSA Strategic Plan, AB Partnership

    Employed in church recreation as a high school and college student, then municipal rec upon graduation, Ken Morton didn't land his first job in collegiate recreation until 1993. Once he did, Morton knew he had arrived. "I fell in love with it," he says of his rec directorship at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. "I knew exactly right then that was going to be my home for the rest of my career." His base of operation has changed — California State University, Sacramento, for nine years and his current Stephen F. Austin State (back in his home state of Texas) since 2010 — but the sense of belonging hasn't budged. Morton can now add to his resume the title of NIRSA president, a one-year stint whose May 1 starting date coincides with the launch of a new partnership between NIRSA and Athletic Business. AB senior editor Paul Steinbach asked Morton to share his thoughts on that relationship and the current state of campus rec.


  • Thursday, April, 12, 2018
    Brett Favre Talks Concussions, Field Safety

    The worst among Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre's many concussions resulted from his head hitting the playing surface, and it was just such a blow — on Dec. 20, 2010 — that ended a career that spanned 20 NFL seasons and 321 consecutive starts. Now Favre wants players, parents and coaches at all levels to realize what he never did — that head-to-surface contact causes one out of every five sports concussions, and that something can be done about it. As an executive producer of "Shocked: The Hidden Factor in the Sports Concussion Crisis," which asserts that a shock pad helps synthetic turf more closely mimic the resiliency of natural grass, Favre told AB senior editor Paul Steinbach on the eve of the documentary's January debut that he believes such padding can greatly reduce the occurrence of concussions.


  • Friday, January, 05, 2018
    AB Today 2017: Our Top 10 Stories of the Past Year

    Deregulation and legal action. Out-of-control training and recruiting practices. These were topics that drew much of our readers’ attention in 2017.  AB Today has compiled a list of the top stories that broke in this space over the past year. Here are the 10 that garnered the most page views, in ascending order:


  • Wednesday, November, 30, 2016
    AB Show 2016: The Magic of Orlando

    There’s something about Orlando, Fla., that stirs the nostalgia in this AB Show-goer. It’s where the conference and expo (as it used to be known) was held my first eight years at Athletic Business, and it has been there another four times since. In all, Orlando has served as the annual home away from home for AB roughly half the time in our show’s 35-year history.


  • Monday, November, 10, 2014
    Get to Know Your Peers When Attending ABC

    This is a story about a conversation Lou Holtz and I never had.


  • Tuesday, August, 12, 2014
    Robin Williams Drew Attention to Inaugural Augie’s BASH

    Robin Williams possessed the kind of frenetic magnetism that dared you to look away. For me, it wasn’t possible. The actor/comedian’s larger-than-life persona was tailor-made for a movie screen.


  • Thursday, January, 17, 2013
    Blog: The Tangled Webs of Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o

    The twisted tales of Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o are now intertwined. Heroes to many, these athletes have lived lies before our eyes, and now those lies are unraveling within the same week.


  • Monday, December, 03, 2012
    Blog: The Life and Death of Rick Majerus

    The first time I saw Rick Majerus in person, he was sitting in seldom-used end-court bleachers that had been wheeled into position for a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Class C basketball sectional at my high school alma mater's field house. I was there to cover a game for my hometown newspaper, The West Bend News. Majerus, an assistant coach at Marquette at the time (this was the mid-'80s), was there to scout Kohler, Wis., phenom Joe Wolf, who would eventually attend North Carolina.


  • Friday, August, 17, 2012
    Blog: Cheer These Pro Athletes for Giving Back

    Assuming your membership in the Latrell "I have a family to feed" Sprewell Fan Club has expired, may we suggest a couple of options.


  • Sunday, January, 17, 2010
    Blog: Still Believing, 34 Years (and Counting) Later

    Editor's Note: AB Senior Editor Paul Steinbach authored this piece in January 2010, but with February 22nd marking the 34th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice and the U.S. men's hockey team facing off against Canada on Friday, the message still rings true.

    For nearly 30 years now, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team has been an off-and-on obsession of mine.


  • Thursday, December, 10, 2009
    A Choice to Make

    There's precedent for a Catholic institution sticking with a coach despite his pro-choice stance on abortion. Rick Majerus is in his third season heading the St. Louis University men's basketball program after admitting during a TV interview at a January 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign rally that he is "pro-choice, personally." But will a Catholic institution hire a pro-choice coach? Somehow, during speculation that University of Cincinnati head football coach Brian Kelly is next in line to bear the Notre Dame football cross, the rumor spread that Kelly, an Irish Catholic who decades ago campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, is pro-choice. But no one seems to know for sure. "I searched online media archives all day today trying to find one reputable media reference to Kelly's stance on abortion," read a Tuesday post by Brooks at sportsbybrooks.com. "I found none."


  • Wednesday, November, 11, 2009
    Hit 'Em Straight

    When the AB editors dedicated our July issue to best environmental practices in the athletics, fitness and recreation industries, we managed to overlook one egregious hazard to our planet's health: golf balls.