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.
  • Friday, June, 22, 2018
    Missouri State Freezes Cryotherapy Injury Findings

    Missouri State University has put the findings of its investigation into cryotherapy injuries on ice.

    Suzanne Shaw, MSU's vice president of marketing and communications, told the Springfield News-Leader that details of the investigation into whole-body cryotherapy injuries to two men's basketball players are part of legal work created by MSU's general counsel, making those details exempt from release under Missouri's Sunshine Law. She added that the findings would never be made public.

    On Jan. 22, Kombat Cross Training owner King Owens brought a full-body cryotherapy machine to JQH Arena. While using the machine designed to speed muscle recovery by immersing the body in air supercooled with liquid nitrogen, MSU basketball players Reggie Scurry and Abdul Fofana developed blisters on their feet that kept them sidelined for the remainder of the season. Scurry has since transferred to Middle Tennessee.

    From AB: An Inside Look at Iowa State's Sports Medicine Dept.

    Owens told the News-Leader Thursday that no one from MSU contacted him regarding an investigation. The paper first reported Jan. 25 that the Food and Drug Administration and others have questioned the efficacy of whole-body cryotherapy, citing a lack of scientific evidence. A day later, the university announced it would investigate the Scurry and Fofana incident. Owens claims it was the first incident of its kind in his personal history of facilitating the therapy 200 to 300 times.

    On the day in question, the entire MSU men's basketball team and eight women's team members received cryotherapy treatment. Scurry and Fofana were only inside the equipment for a minute before complaining about tingling in their feet, according to Owens. Scurry said his feet were only in the chamber five seconds before he knew something wasn't right, and that he estimated he was 20 seconds away from losing his toes. His feet frozen, the pain didn't set in until five minutes later. He added in April that his feet were only 80 percent back to normal and that he might sit out the 2018-19 season. “I went through the worst pain in my life. Literally the worst," Scurry said, as reported by the Times-Leader. "I don’t think you understand the pain I went through with my feet."

    While within its rights to keep the investigation findings secret, the university may have a moral obligation to release its findings, according to Jean Maneke, an attorney for the Missouri Press Association. "The university does have to deal with the fact that parents entrust their kids to the university," Maneke told the Times-Leader. "The university depends on pulling in students. Parents of students will look at the perception of whether students are safe on campus or not."

    Paul Lusk was fired as men's basketball coach after the 2017-18 season, but not because of the cryotherapy incident, according to athletic director Kyle Moats, who said in January that whole-body cryotherapy equipment would not be brought into the arena again. New coach Dana Ford concurred this week. 

     


  • Thursday, June, 21, 2018
    Texas Settles Former Track Coach's Discrimination Suit

    A former University of Texas track coach has settled the discrimination case she filed against the university in 2013 for an undisclosed sum.

    Bev Kearney, who claimed she was fired as the Longhorns' women's track coach because of her race and gender, had been seeking in excess of $1 million.

    According to Horns 247Kearney threatened to reveal several inappropriate relationships within the athletic department and throughout the university to prove her point that she was unfairly singled out and dismissed for having an intimate relationship with one of her female track athletes 10 years earlier. Her lawsuit contrasted the treatment she received against that of several white males, including Major Applewhite, a former Texas assistant football coach who revealed to school officials an extramarital affair with a graduate student trainer during the 2008 season, which culminated in team's a Fiesta Bowl appearance in January 2009. Applewhite wasn't fired, but instead saw his salary frozen for one year.

    The lawsuit also claimed a three-year relationship between an athletics administrator and subordinate with whom he held salary decision power, among other inappropriate relationships. "In one of the most glaring examples of the university's blatant disregard for this being an alleged problem amongst coaches and student-athletes, the university previously employed Jim Moore (current head volleyball coach at the University of Oregon) from 1997 to 2000 despite the fact he married his former student-athlete, Stacy Metro," the lawsuit stated. "These relationships between a professor, coach or administrator and a student, student-athlete or subordinate employee, are believed to be well known by the university administration and quietly disregarded and swept under the rug.

    "However, without citing any specific written policy, the university has singled out Ms. Kearney, an African-American female, regarded her as different based on a nearly 10-year-old relationship."

    Kearney's lawsuit claims that then women's athletic director Chris Plonsky told her "as long as there were no other relationships, it should not be a problem." Raasin McIntosh, the star sprinter with whom Kearney had a relationship, reportedly received from Kearney a Volkswagon Jetta in violation of NCAA rules, though the statute of limitations had precluded an NCAA investigation.

    Horns 247 further reports that McIntosh came forward 10 years after the fact, as Kearney was poised to receive new contract proposed by Plonsky that would have given Kearney a five-year extension and raise in salary from $270,000 to $422,000 for 2012-13. Kearney's salary could've reached $475,000, plus bonuses, by 2017.

    In a statement released at the time of the lawsuit's filing, UT vice president of legal affairs Ohlendorf said:

    "Ms. Kearney was a coach with some admirable qualities who brought success to our women's track program, overcame great challenges, and contributed to the campus community.

    "When the university reviews inappropriate behavior by its employees, each case is evaluated on its individual facts.

    "In this case, it was evident that Ms. Kearney displayed a serious lack of judgment by having an inappropriate, intimate, long-term relationship with a member of her team.

    "The team member later reported it to university officials who pursued all appropriate action."

    Applewhite was deposed by Kearney's attorneys, as were former head football coach Mack Brown and former athletic director DeLoss Dodds, both of whom stepped down from their positions in 2013. Former UT president Bill Powers, who stepped down in 2014, was also deposed.


  • Tuesday, June, 19, 2018
    Male Swimmer Files Title IX Suit Against Texas A&M

    A week after a woman shared on social media her displeasure that a Texas A&M student found responsible for sexually assaulting her had been allowed to return to the university's swim team, reports indicate that the swimmer has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school.

    Austin Van Overdam, who served a one-semester suspension during a season in which he was redshirted, claims in his court filing that A&M was partial to the accuser's testimony over his, and that A&M "creates an environment in which men accused of sexual misconduct are nearly assured of a finding of responsibility," as reported by the The Bryan-College Station Eagle. He seeks a jury trial in pursuit of unspecified monetary punitive and compensatory damages based on future career earnings, loss of scholarship funds and "humiliation and embarrassment," as well as attorney's fees.

    According to The EagleVan Overdam and Hannah Shaw met on the dating app Tindr in September 2015. The lawsuit states that after a few private messages on the app, Shaw went to Van Overdam's apartment, where the two had sex, and that "at no time did Shaw protest or voice any concerns regarding any actions that Van Overdam and/or Shaw engaged in."

    Shaw insists she has been truthful throughout, beginning with statements made during the initial 2016 student conduct hearing. "I told them that, 'I brought this to you guys because I was violated by him, and I know that he doesn't think that he did anything wrong. I want him to know that he seriously hurt me, and I don't want this to happen to anyone else,'" Shaw said. "I told them that, 'I didn't do this to ruin his life. I'm not trying to get back at him.' I told them, 'I don't think you should expel him, because I'm not trying to ruin his life.' Looking back on it, I feel like they kind of used my own empathy against me."

    During a week of heavy scrutiny over the Van Overdam case, multiple women have insisted that A&M has mishandled similar proceedings, and university president Michael Young has vowed an internal and external review of the school's sexual misconduct policies and procedures, according to the Dallas News.

    In a statement, Van Overdam attorney Gaines West said, "A&M seems more concerned with being politically correct, rather than embracing that the Title IX law is meant to protect both women and men."


  • Friday, June, 15, 2018
    Maryland Calls for External Review of Player's Death

    The University of Maryland has announced it will commission an external investigation into the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair.

    McNair, 19, struggled during a May 29 NCAA-sanctioned and mandatory team workout that involved 10 110-yard sprints. He was taken from the practice to a team house for treatment and then to the hospital before being airlifted to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he received a liver transplant. McNair died Wednesday.

    "The prudent thing to do and the right thing to do when a situation like this arises is to do a review to make sure that the proper protocols were followed," Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said at a press conference Thursday. "We believe it's important to bring in an external group to conduct the review. We started that process of discussing from the moment Jordan was hospitalized, and we will have a team that will provide us the necessary feedback so we can move forward."

    According to ESPN.com, Evans' understanding of the situation so far is that players were given a gallon of water the morning of the workout. The team ate lunch at 2:30 p.m. and was provided with snacks and Gatorade throughout the day. The workout, described by head coach DJ Durking as a baseline workout, began at 4:15 p.m., when the temperature on the practice field was around 80 degrees. Members of Maryland's strength-and-conditioning staff, as well as certified athletic trainers, supervised the workout. The 6-foot-4, 325-pound McNair completed the 10 sprints, but struggled to recover. Evans said it wasn't clear at what specific time athletic trainers administered care to McNair, but that "they were immediately over to him."

    An emotional Durkin paid tribute to McNair. "Jordan was such a tremendous person," Durkin said during Thursday's press conference. "As big as he was stature-wise, his heart was much bigger. He had a great way about him. A quiet smile. It was hard to get a word out of him. It was also hard to have a conversation with him without him bringing a smile to your own face. There's a whole team of players, coaches, staff that love him very much, and for that reason everyone is grieving right now."


  • Wednesday, June, 13, 2018
    Reggie Bush Gets $12.5M for Injury at St. Louis Stadium

    A St. Louis jury on Tuesday ordered the Rams to pay former NFL running back Reggie Bush $12.45 million for an injury he suffered during a 2015 game at the former Edward Jones Dome.

    Bush was returning a punt for the San Francisco 49ers when he was pushed out of bounds and slipped on an exposed concrete surface near the stadium wall behind the Niners' bench, resulting in a season-ending tear in the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. Bush's lawsuit, filed in 2016, referred to the concrete that encircled the stadium as "a concrete ring of death." A week prior to the Nov. 1 incident, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown slid across the concrete and into a wall, injuring his shoulder. Two weeks after the Bush episode, the concrete was covered with a rubber padding.

    An attorney representing the Rams argued that the team could not have foreseen the danger presented by the exposed concrete, given that only two players had ever been injured in that area of the field in the 20-year history of the Dome.

    Bush's lawyer claimed that if it weren't for the injury, Bush likely would have landed a three-year contract in the range of $10 million to $15 million. After sitting out the remainder of the 2015 season, Bush spent one season in Buffalo and retired last year.

    The jury found the Rams 100 percent liable for the injury, with the award including $4.95 million in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages. Last week, a judge dismissed Bush's suit targeting the public agencies the own and operate the Dome, ruling that the Rams controlled stadium operation on game days.

    According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, jurors were repeatedly shown video clips of Bush's injury in real time and in slow motion as doctors offered opinions on whether the concrete caused Bush's fall or if previous injuries contributed to it. Rams lawyers elicited testimony that Bush may have heard and felt a pop in his knee before reaching the concrete strip beyond the sidelines.

    SI.com legal analyst Michael McCann explained some of the issues with the defendants' claim that Bush's history of knee trouble contributed to this particular injury:

    One hurdle with such a defense is the so-called “eggshell skull” rule. It dictates that a negligent defendant is responsible for all of the harm he/she causes the plaintiff even when the plaintiff was, because of a skull “as fragile as an eggshell,” more susceptible to a worse injury than the average person.

    Here, even if Bush’s preexisting problems placed him at a greater risk of an ACL tear than a typical NFL player, the Rams were still responsible for Bush’s unusually severe outcome. Missouri has adopted a version of the eggshell skull rule. It prevents defendants from attempting to minimize damages by highlighting a plaintiff’s preexisting conditions.

    Bush made the case that he wasn't ready to see his career end. "I wanted to keep playing. I wanted to go out on my own terms. I never envisioned, as a little boy, my career ending, slipping and falling on concrete during a football game," said Bush, who added that the lawsuit was ultimately about player safety. "Safety always has to be a priority during games, during practices. I'll be honest with you, I've seen worse. Football's a rough sport. It's already as brutal as it can possibly be. We don't need any concrete or anything else out there that can make it even worse for guys. They've got enough to worry about with other guys trying to take their heads off."


  • Tuesday, June, 12, 2018
    Assault Victim Airs Concerns with Texas A&M's Actions

    A Texas A&M student has gone public with the university's response to her concerns that a man found responsible for sexually assaulting her has been allowed to return to the Aggies' swimming and diving program.

    In separate posts on Twitter, the woman claims the unnamed team member served a semester-long suspension and then was redshirted during the 2016-17 season.

    The woman emailed A&M head coach Jay Holmes, who has led the A&M program for 14 seasons, to voice her displeasure that the athlete was reinstated. Her account, concussed hannah @hannahslol, on June 7 posted "Me: I'm unhappy the boy who r*ped me is back on the swim team." The post then included "Texas A&M:" and revealed the response to her email to Holmes attributed to Lori Williams, who served as A&M's Title IX coordinator until her promotion to senior woman administrator and a senior associate athletic director last year. That response read:

    "Please allow this email serve as acknowledgment of your email to Jay Holmes and recognition of your courage and strength in expressing your concerns and opinions. Please know the Athletics Department and its employees and student-athletes fully support and adhere to the administrative processes that govern Title IX matters at Texas A&M. I regret your displeasure with the perceived impact, and I wish you all the best as you continue to seek healing. Warm regards."

    Among the Twitter reaction: "@TAMU care to explain? this isn’t right and you know it isn’t, address it properly and take actual steps to give some sort of right to this incredible wrong done to your student."

    In a statement released Monday afternoon and reported by The Dallas Morning News, the university said federal privacy law prevents the university from commenting on specific cases. The university also said that sexual misconduct cases are handled on a case-by-case basis. Students found responsible by the school's conduct review panel are subject to punishment, which may include suspension or dismissal.

    “This is more common than many athletic departments would like to admit," Kathy Redmond, founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, told AB Today. "The case-by-base basis may very well depend on the status of the athletes involved and presents a power dynamic that is detrimental to the athletic department. There should be a process and protocol to deal with this — by athletic departments and the NCAA.”


  • Tuesday, June, 12, 2018
    AB Show Keynoter Randy Hetrick Talks TRX Success

    It began by accident. Isolated from fitness equipment during a 1997 deployment, Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick rigged some martial arts belts he found packed with his gear into a makeshift workout tool — what would evolve over the following eight years, including a stint at Stanford Business School, into the suspension trainer at the core of fitness juggernaut TRX. AB senior editor Paul Steinbach asked Hetrick, who will deliver a keynote address titled "Lessons of a Frogman: Business Leadership I Learned as a SEAL" at AB Show 2018 this November in New Orleans, for a closer look at the surprises and successes that have turned his functional training equipment and education brand into a rapidly growing $60 million-a-year enterprise.


  • Thursday, June, 07, 2018
    How to Select the Right Architect for Your Project

    Major construction projects often represent once-in-a-career visioning opportunities for those who will ultimately occupy the new building, and the process will likely span several years from concept to completion. Selecting the ideal architect (or architects) to partner with throughout that process may rank among the most important decisions an organization will ever make. The stakes are high. Failure to get it right means living with — and in — the end result of that decision for decades to come.


  • Tuesday, June, 05, 2018
    Big Sky to Ban Athletes with Violent Crime Convictions

    The Big Sky Conference has announced implementation of its so-called Serious Misconduct Rule, which prevents athletes with a history of convicted violence from receiving athletic financial aid or participating in practices or competitions.

    The rule is the result of months of collaboration between conference officials and individuals from member schools, including Title IX office representatives, general counsel, university presidents, faculty athletic representatives, student affairs directors, athletic administrators and student-athletes.

    The Serious Misconduct Rule reads as follows: A current or prospective student-athlete who has been convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to a felony or misdemeanor involving Serious Misconduct, or has been subject to official University or athletic department disciplinary action at any time during enrollment at any collegiate institution (excluding limited discipline applied by a sports team or temporary disciplinary action during an investigation) due to Serious Misconduct shall not be eligible for athletically-related financial aid, practice or competition at a Big Sky member institution. For purposes of this provision, "serious misconduct" is defined as any act of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, or any assault that employs the use of a deadly weapon or causes serious bodily injury.

    "The Serious Misconduct Rule aligns with the Big Sky's mission to provide a quality collegiate experience for our student-athletes while focusing on their safety," stated Big Sky Commissioner Andrea Williams on the conference's web site. "This rule sets the tone and expectations the conference has for its institutions. The Big Sky is taking ownership and accountability for the culture we create and reputation we project on campus, within our community and in our conference. We are most proud that this step supports the commitment that our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has already taken to address and end violence on campus."

    Added Justice Littrell, a Northern Colorado University football player and the Big Sky's SAAC president, "The Big Sky Student-Athlete Advisory Committee believes in the Serious Misconduct Rule because we know that sports and the opportunity to be a student-athlete is a privilege, not a right. Athletes who take part in actions that jeopardize this privilege should not be allowed to continue on in college. We are taking a stand as student-athletes against this violence."

    The rule is effective for all prospective student-athletes beginning with the December 19, 2018, signing period. It will go into effect for all other student-athletes beginning with the 2019-20 academic year.  In unique and compelling cases, an institution may request a waiver of the Serious Misconduct Rule. If a waiver is requested, an institutional panel of individuals outside of the athletic department will review the request and determine if it warrants approval.

    The Big Sky has been proactive when it comes to ensuring a safe environment for student-athletes, including the stating of a health and wellness symposium over the past five years with topics that addressed mental health needs of student-athletes, stress management, mentoring those who have alcohol and drug issues, bystander intervention, and sexual assault prevention. Conference officials indicated that they hope the establishment of the Serious Misconduct Rule inspires other leagues, institutions and the NCAA to follow suit.


  • Friday, June, 01, 2018
    Portland State Arena Features Wood Viking Ship Wall

    One design improvement to Portland State University's varsity basketball and volleyball venue necessitated another. Before the renovated Vikings Pavilion reopened in April, it stood as a 1960s brick-faced shoebox along a main campus boulevard known as The Park Blocks.


  • 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.