Big 12 Conference to Host its Seventh “State of College Athletics” Forum

IRVING, Texas--()--The Big 12 Conference has announced the lineup for its seventh “State of College Athletics” Forum. To be held Wednesday, May 23, 4 p.m. CT, at The Statler Hotel in Dallas, this Forum will focus on the topic of esports and its growth on college campuses.

“We are excited to work with our partners at the Big 12 to help elevate awareness around the growth of esports on college campuses”

“When we began our Forum series, it was the goal to use its town-hall style format to address relevant topics associated with intercollegiate athletics,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The meteoric rise of esports is very real on our campuses. Universities are grappling to find its proper place as a co-curricular activity, with a wide-range of administrative model options available. I look forward to discussing whether it is in fact sport or entertainment, and if an administrative intersection within the intercollegiate athletic model exists.”

The Forum will be followed by a Show Match featuring two area collegiate esports teams. Both the Forum and Show Match can be watched live on Big12Sports.com; and Stadium’s Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/stadium2. Stadium, the 24/7 all-platform sports network, launched on Twitch earlier this month. Full details can be found here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/05/prweb15476682.htm.

“We are excited to work with our partners at the Big 12 to help elevate awareness around the growth of esports on college campuses,” said Adam Anshell, Stadium Managing Director, Operations. “Twitch is the go-to destination for esports streamers and our new partnership with them allows us to further understand fans of esports and bring them the sports content they crave.”

Bonnie Bernstein will moderate the Forum and lead the panel in discussion on such topics as whether esports belongs under the NCAA umbrella, its overall popularity and growth potential, and its marketplace demand.

Featured Panelists Include:

  • Bob Bowlsby – Commissioner, Big 12 Conference
  • Mark Cuban – Owner, Dallas Mavericks and Mavs Gaming
  • Mark “Garvey” Candella – Director of Strategic Partnerships, Twitch
  • A.J. Dimick – Director of Esports, University of Utah
  • Kurt Melcher – Executive Director of Esports, Intersport
  • Michael Sherman – Esports Manager - College, Riot Games
  • Gene Taylor – Director of Athletics, Kansas State University

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PANELISTS

Bob Bowlsby is the Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, and host of this Forum. Bowlsby has chaired several NCAA committees and served on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors. He is the former Athletics Director at Stanford, Iowa and Northern Iowa, and was a college wrestler.

Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Mavs Gaming, one of 17 esports teams that will compete in the first year of the NBA 2K League. He has invested in Unikrn, an esports betting platform, and Sportsradar, an esports data company. Cuban is also known for his continuing role as one of the investors on Shark Tank, an ABC reality TV show.

Mark “Garvey” Candella is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Twitch, a live video streaming platform utilized by esports players throughout the world. He currently leads the Twitch Student program and has dedicated his career to creating esports opportunities for students and universities around the world.

A.J. Dimick is the Director of Esports at the University of Utah. He spearheaded the effort that led to Utah becoming the first Autonomy conference school to support a scholarship esports program. Dimick is also involved in the University’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering program, renowned for its game development.

Kurt Melcher is the Executive Director of Esports at Intersport, a sports and entertainment marketing company. Through his efforts as an athletic director for Robert Morris University Illinois, the school became the first university to recognize esports as part of the athletic department and offer athletic scholarships to gamers, helping legitimize the world of collegiate esports. The NCAA has selected Intersport to lead the research and ideation surrounding the association’s potential role in collegiate esports.

Michael Sherman leads Riot Games' League of Legends collegiate esports program and is responsible for the company efforts in the collegiate business development space, including partnerships with the Big Ten Network and UC Irvine.

Gene Taylor has been at the helm of the Kansas State University athletics department since April 2017. Prior to joining the K-State staff, he served as the Athletics Director at North Dakota State University from 2001 to 2014, before moving on to become Deputy Athletic Director at the University of Iowa.

Bonnie Bernstein (Moderator) has spent 17 years on air at ESPN/CBS before building her executive portfolio as Vice President, Content and Brand Development, for Campus Insiders. There, she helped bring esports to the network, helping secure a content distribution partnership with Collegiate StarLeague. Bernstein is developing esports content through her production company, Walk Swiftly Productions, and has cultivated strong relationships with universities, esports leagues and publishers.

About Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference is comprised of 10 Universities - Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12 is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference that encompasses five states with over 38 million people within its geographic footprint. In its 22nd year, the Conference has produced over 600 Academic All-America selections and claimed national championship team titles in 17 of its 23 sponsored sports. Its student-athletes and teams have combined for 650 individual NCAA titles and 59 team national championships. Nearly 5,000 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually under the Big 12 banner. For more information, visit Big12Sports.com and follow the Conference on Facebook (Facebook.com/Big12) and Twitter (@Big12Conference).

About Stadium

Stadium is the original multi-platform sports network featuring exclusive live and on-demand games and events, extensive highlights, classic games, original programming, and daily live studio programming. Stadium includes a 24/7 linear feed distributed across both digital and broadcast platforms, as well as a comprehensive array of on-demand (VOD) digital content including additional live games and events. Stadium is owned by a collection of industry leaders including Sinclair Broadcast Group, BAMTech, the NHL, the PGA TOUR, and Meredith Corp. To learn more, visit: http://watchstadium.com/.

Contacts

Big 12 Conference
Bob Burda, 469-524-1007
bob@big12sports.com

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