Sports media experts available to comment on NCAA ruling giving more governance to the Big Five

The Sports Media program at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has two experts available to talk about the recent ruling by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors giving more autonomy to the largest five conferences in Division I to determine student athlete stipends, scholarships, insurance benefits, staff sizes and hours spent training for individual sports.

Welch Suggs, associate professor of journalism, teaches sports media classes at Grady College and helped create the new Grady Sports Media Certificate program, the first of its kind offered in the SEC.  Suggs is recognized as a leading expert on policy issues in college athletics and women's sports. From 2005 to 2007, Suggs served as associate director for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.  He has also been the senior editor for athletics at the Chronicle of Higher Education and covered the NCAA and college sports for the Kansas City Star, the Dallas Business Journal, and Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. He is the author of A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX (Princeton University Press, 2005).

Vicki Michaelis, professor in sports journalism, teaches sports reporting and sports-related writing and social media at Grady College and is the director of GradySports, the college’s new sports media initiative. Michaelis is recognized as an expert in sports media and topics involving the interplay of sports and media in society. Prior to joining Grady College in Aug. 2012, Michaelis held sports journalist positions for 21 years including the last 12 years spent as the lead Olympics reporter for USA Today. Her sports journalism experience includes covering the major college sports, NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL through USA Today’s Denver bureau.

On Aug. 7, the NCAA voted that the five largest Division I conferences (the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12), can create its own rules in a variety of areas including increased benefits to players.  The new guidelines will not directly pay student athletes, but could instead be used to increase their insurance benefits and complete their scholarships, many of which currently fall short between what they are given and the actual cost of attending college. The proposal will spend the next 60 days in review before a full vote to approve or reject the proposal.

Date: August 8, 2014
Author:  Sarah Freeman,
Contact:  Welch Suggs,,  Vicki Michaelis,