Big 12 Conference to Host Sixth State of College Athletics Forum

IRVING, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Big 12 Conference has announced the lineup for its sixth State of
College Athletics Forum. To be held Wednesday, April 19, 4 p.m. ET, at
the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga., this Forum will focus
on the topic of Race and College Athletics.

“Since our first Forum in 2015, our goal has been to engage in
meaningful dialogue on the issues surrounding intercollegiate
athletics,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “Discussing race
within the context of college sports resonates beyond campus. Many of
the matters around race that I anticipate will be discussed at this
Forum are a microcosm of race-related issues in society at-large.”

Emceed by SEC Network studio analyst Tony Barnhart, the Forum will be
streamed live on ESPN3, on The Undefeated, and through WatchESPN and the

“We are proud to present the Big 12 Forum on Race & College Athletics on
our digital platforms,” said Kevin Merida, Editor in Chief for The
Undefeated. “Having ESPN personalities Mark May and The Undefeated’s
William C. Rhoden participate in this discussion, along with the other
notable panelists, will certainly provide for an engaging and thorough
examination of the topic.”

The Forum’s featured panel will include:

  • Bob Bowlsby – Commissioner, Big 12 Conference
  • Tony Barnhart – Studio Analyst, SEC Network
  • Bernard Franklin – Chief Inclusion Officer, NCAA
  • Dr. Richard Lapchick – Director, The Institute for Diversity and
    Ethics in Sports
  • Shane Lyons – Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President, West
    Virginia University
  • Mark May – Football Analyst, ESPN
  • William C. Rhoden – Columnist and Editor-at-Large, ESPN’s The


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.

Tony Barnhart, AKA Mr. College Football, is in his 39th year as a
reporter for newspapers, television and radio. He spent 24 years as the
national college football writer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
and eight years as an analyst for CBS Sports. He currently serves as a
studio analyst at the SEC Network. He has also written five books on
college football.

Bernard Franklin serves as the executive vice president of
education and community engagement/chief inclusion officer for the NCAA.
He is responsible for assuring the development of policies and
procedures that support the effective functioning of the leadership
development and inclusion groups. He previously served as president of
Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va.; Livingstone College and Hood
Theological Seminary in Salisbury, N.C.; and Saint Augustine College in
Raleigh, N.C.

Dr. Richard Lapchick is an eminent scholar, endowed chair and
director of the DeVoss Sport Business Management Program at the
University of Central Florida. As director of the Institute for
Diversity and Ethics in Sport, he oversees the institute Racial and
Gender Report Card, an annual publishing of the racial and gender hiring
practices in sports.

Shane Lyons was named director of athletics and associate vice
president at West Virginia University in January 2015. Lyons came to
West Virginia University after spending three years as the deputy
director of athletics and chief operating officer at The University of
Alabama. A former basketball player, he also spent 10 years as an
associate commissioner at the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Mark May, a 2005 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, serves
as an ESPN college football analyst and studio show host. His television
broadcast career began in 1995, following a 13-year NFL career. A
first-round selection, and 20th overall pick, of the Washington Redskins
in the 1981 NFL Draft, May was a part of two Super Bowl championship

Longtime New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden joined
The Undefeated in February 2017 as a columnist and editor-at-large for
ESPN multi-platform content initiative. Rhoden is considered one of the
most respected journalists of his generation. His career spans nearly
four decades, and his opinions as a social commentator has been among
the most sought-after in the genre of sports and race.

About the 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 21st 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 628 individual NCAA titles
and 55 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
and follow the Conference on Facebook (
and Twitter (@Big12Conference).


Big 12 Conference
Bob Burda, 469-524-1007