news-category: National Interest

First Event in Webb Connections Series Explores Future of College Athletics

A collage featuring the volleyball team, men's soccer and football teama women's soccer

Hosted by President Dr. William M. Downs, Expert Panel Will Discuss Name, Image and Likeness Policies

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—An intense debate began after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) cannot limit education-related benefits offered to student-athletes. Opinions on how this decision will affect the future of college athletics run the gamut. During Gardner-Webb’s first Webb Connections Program of the Fall 2021 Semester, local and regional experts will discuss possible outcomes of the court’s decision.

Dr. Downs

Hosted by Gardner-Webb University President Dr. William M. Downs, the discussion—“The Supreme Court, the NCAA and the Future for College Athletics”—will be held Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in Stewart Hall of Tucker Student Center. The program is open to the public.

“Athletics is a hugely important part of the collegiate experience, certainly here at Gardner-Webb and indeed across the country,” affirmed Downs. “While the NCAA policy landscape has been changing for years, these most recent developments on NIL could fundamentally alter college sports as we have come to know it. NIL may impact recruitment patterns, expectations of amateurism, and the growing gap between Power Five schools and the rest of the NCAA. I’m eager to hear analysis and predictions from our expert panel.”

The panelists for the event will bring viewpoints from several perspectives surrounding the debate. They include:

  • Kyle Kallander, Big South Commissioner.
  • Kelli Bartik, Sports Anchor, WCCB Charlotte and a GW alumna.
  • Alex Simmons, Head Coach, GW Women’s Basketball.
  • Jim Chester, Head Coach, GW Baseball.
  • Anna Marie Fish, GW Soccer player and president of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
  • Steve Serck, Gardner-Webb University Counsel.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704-406-2155 or email [email protected] with your request.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

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