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, January, 11, 2019
    FHSAA Eyes RPI Model for Football Playoff Rankings

    The Florida High School Athletic Association's Football Advisory Committee voted unanimously at its annual meeting Thursday to move away from the current playoff power points formula in favor of one that relies on a ratings percentage index (RPI).


  • Friday, January, 11, 2019
    Northwestern Silences Loud Student Fan 'The Shrieker'

    Emily Harriott is a senior at Northwestern University boasting a 3.9 grade-point average, but it's her presence outside the classroom that has caught much attention. Too much attention.


  • Thursday, January, 10, 2019
    Planned Rec Center's Universal Locker Rooms Discussed

    As parks and recreation officials in West Lafayette, Ind., ponder whether a planned rec center will become the first in the state with universal restroom facilities, signs exist of a split in opinion among residents.


  • Thursday, January, 10, 2019
    LSU Looks to Build On Football Game-Day Improvements

    Louisiana State University will continue to build upon improvements made last year to its football game-day experience in the hopes of furthering attendance gains.


  • Wednesday, January, 09, 2019
    Idaho State Investigates Abuse Claims Against Coach

    Idaho State University confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating a formal complaint filed Nov. 14 by a member of its football team who alleges he was abused by its head coach and received inappropriate text messages from an assistant coach.

    Safety Jayson Miller claims head coach Rob Phenicie hammer punched him on the shoulder with enough force to cause bruising through his shoulder pads. During halftime of a Nov. 10 game at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Phenicie punched the shoulder pads of Miller, who then told the coach not to have any more physical contact with him. Phenicie then punched Miller a second time, according to the complaint filed four days later. Miller also reported the alleged punching incident to the Cal Poly University Police Department, which confirmed it has launched an investigation, and is pursuing criminal charges against Phenicie. 

    Phenicie has not been placed on administrative leave during the internal investigation. When asked by the Idaho State Journal why no action has been taken against the coach, a university spokesperson responded, "Placing an employee on administrative leave during an investigation is done on a case-by-case basis, and the decision is made when the university perceives the employee to be an ongoing threat to campus, disruptive to university business, or their presence would interfere with the investigatory process. Related to this incident, the university did not place an employee on administrative leave because the situation did not meet that criteria."

    "Idaho State University takes all allegations of physical assault extremely seriously," ISU President Kevin Satterlee stated in a release issued Tuesday. "The experience of our student-athletes is important to us. When our university receives a complaint, we will have the matter thoroughly investigated. Based on the investigation findings we will always take the right and appropriate action to ensure that we create an environment that is safe and supportive. Our students deserve that. We will continue to work through the investigative process with that outcome in mind."

    Meanwhile, assistant coach Jay Staggs, who sent Miller and others text messages containing what the university termed "race- and gender-based themes," was immediately "relieved of his duties." With his ISU contract left to expire, Staggs took an assistant coaching position at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.

    According to the Journal, Pauline Thiros, ISU's interim athletic director, said, "When Idaho State University learned about the inappropriate text messages to players, we took immediate and swift action. Conduct of this nature is absolutely unacceptable. We aim to provide an environment based on the values of equity, inclusion and respect for all people. We will not stand for actions that belittle or are disrespectful.”

    Satterlee added about Staggs' alleged text messages, "That represents a culture we do not find acceptable in our programs and goes against everything our university supports."


  • Wednesday, January, 09, 2019
    BBB Offers Tips to Help Gym Shoppers Avoid Scams

    Amid the annual wave of New Year's fitness resolutions, Better Business Bureau Pacific Southwest has alerted consumers in California and Arizona what to look for in a gym membership. BBB director of public relations Linda Karimi told San Diego's KUSI News that consumers report high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentations about facilities and services, broken cancellation policies and lost membership fees when gyms go out of business.

    The bureau offers guidance to help would-be gym members avoid so-called fitness scams. Gym owners everywhere might be wise to see how their own advice — and day-to-day policies and practices — measure up to the following consumer tips:

    • Determine fitness goals. Making goals in advance can help a person select an appropriate facility. It’s also a good idea to check with a physician before embarking on a new fitness regimen, especially if medical conditions are present.
    • What is most important? Will a convenient location and extended hours be beneficial in reaching a fitness goal? Will a variety of equipment or classes keep people motivated? Work out while traveling and prefer a chain with numerous locations? Identify top priorities before shopping around.
    • Check bbb.org. BBB has business profiles on more than 15,000 health clubs, fitness centers and gyms nationwide and 231 are located in the Pacific Southwest region. Read what current and/or previous customers have to say and see how the business responds to complaints. This information may help narrow down the list of gyms selected to visit.
    • Take a tour. Does the gym have the equipment, classes and trainers needed, clean showers and available Wi-Fi? Ask questions and make sure to understand all the rules. What are the busy times, wait times for equipment, class registration requirements, availability and find out if there is an additional cost for personal training.
    • Ask about free trials. Fitness centers often offer a 2, 3 of even 6 free pass for potential members providing customers a great way to see if the gym is a good fit.
      Do not feel coerced. Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics and join right away. A reputable gym will give consumers time to read the contract, tour the facility and help them make an informed decision.
    • Calculate the true costs. Gyms often use special introductory offers to encourage new members, but the price could go up once the initial period is over. Know and understand what the regular monthly fees will be and what they include.
    • Understand all terms. Read the contract carefully before signing. Make sure all verbal promises are in writing. The document one signs is what matters, so don’t take a salesperson’s word for it. What happens if a member moves or the gym goes out of business? Will the membership renew automatically? Can one cancel the contract and, if so, under what circumstances?
    • Certified trainers. Research certifications any personal trainer claims to have. When paying more on top of the gym membership, make sure the trainer is qualified with appropriate certification.
    • Never use a debit card. Be aware when using a debit card, this give the fitness center direct access to ones bank account and money. Instead use a credit card. Credit cards serve as a barrier between your money and the people who want it and some offer benefits for purchases and even fraud protection. As a whole, credit cards offer more protection than debit cards do.
    • Get a receipt. Those who don’t like credit cards, often prefer to pay for things in cash. This includes gym memberships. There is nothing wrong with cash, but always make sure to get proof of payment – ask for a receipt.

    Gym owners, what do you think of the BBB's tips? Let us know in the comments.

     


  • Tuesday, January, 08, 2019
    Fan Behavior Forcing Officiating Turnover in Michigan

    According to the Michigan High School Athletic Association, game officials are leaving the profession or staying away for three reasons: life events such as a move or the birth of a child, local officiating politics and abusive behavior by adult spectators.


  • Tuesday, January, 08, 2019
    Nebraska Seeks More Donors Through 'Husker Air Fleet'

    As is the case at many major colleges, the University of Nebraska's athletic department has long relied on a mix of private charters and commercial flights, as well as car rentals, for coaches embarking on recruiting trips — but that's about to change.


  • Monday, January, 07, 2019
    Fan-Starved Rays to Crop the Trop to 26K Capacity

    The Tampa Bay Rays are renovating Tropicana Field for the second time in as many years, reducing the stadium's capacity from 31,042 to between 25,000 and 26,000.

    Coming off a 2018 season in which the team won 90 games but drew Major League Baseball's second-worst home attendance average (14,258), the Rays are hoping to improve the atmosphere at the Trop while they continue to seek a brand-new facility. Owned by former Goldman Sachs partner Stuart Sternberg, the Rays since 2005 have invested more than $50 million in renovations of the building, which debuted in 1990. As reported by Bloomberg, the current renovation will close the upper deck and open up premium seating in lower left field.

    "These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field," Rays president Matt Silverman said, as reported by MLB.com. "Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans."

    Intimacy over capacity has been a trend in sports venue design and renovation that AB has followed in recent years.

    As for the Trop's latest alterations, Rays beat writer Juan Toribio offered an itemized list:

    ● Offering more social gathering spaces with the creation of a new common area, the Left Field Ledge.
    ● Redesigning and enhancing two primary fan entrances (Gate 4 and 5) to improve the flow of fans through increased access points and wayfinding features.
    ● Exchanging the current turf for a new Shaw Sports Turf product, designed to withstand the myriad events held at Tropicana Field throughout the year.
    ● Adding access from the Budweiser Porch and Ballpark & Rec areas to the Outfielder bar behind center field, as well as creating an external entrance to the food and beverage space.
    ● Redoubling the organization's commitment to sustainable energy practices by replacing the existing field lights with energy-efficient LED lights, improving overall on-field playability and entertainment lighting throughout the ballpark.
    ● Elimination of the upper deck, which reconfigures the ballpark seating areas to include the first, mezzanine and second seating levels, as well as the new GTE Financial Party Deck. This will bring all fans closer to the field of play.


  • Friday, January, 04, 2019
    Cal State LA Settles Harassment Lawsuit for $2.75M

    California State University Los Angeles has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former high-ranking athletics official for $2.75 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    One-time Olympic triple-jumper Sheila Hudson was hired as an assistant track and field coach by the university in 2002. In August 2016, she filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court alleging that recently retired athletic director Mike Garrett and the school violated California's Fair Employment and Housing Act and intentionally inflicted emotional distress, among other causes of action.

    Specifically, the lawsuit claimed that Garrett used "degrading, sexist names" such as "sweetheart," "love" and "babe" when addressing women employed in the athletic department, and that Garrett "exploded" when Hudson raised her concerns about it. In addition, Hudson accused the school of retaliating after she compiled a report highlighting gaps in pay and other areas between men and women in the athletic department.

    Garret coached at Cal State LA through 2008. She served as the athletic department's compliance coordinator and senior woman administrator for two years before being promoted to associate athletics director in 2008. Hudson was promoted to senior associate director of athletics in January 2016 and served as a campus deputy Title IX coordinator. She left Cal State LA in 2017.

    According to court documents obtained by the Times, Hudson is not allowed to discuss the litigation. She must delete all references to the litigation from her personal social media accounts and is barred from applying for any position within the Cal State system. In exchange, she received a check last month for $1.27 million, while her representing firm of Abrolat Law received $1.47 million. She filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in late December.


  • 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.