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Wharton Sports expert joining ASU

Kenneth Shropshire to create international sports center that 'will use the unifying power of sport to make positive impact in the world'

Kenneth Shropshire
April 27, 2017

Kenneth L. Shropshire, an international expert in the intersection of sports, business, law and society and director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, is joining Arizona State University to design and lead a new international sports center.

Shropshire, an author, attorney, consultant and professor at the Wharton School of Business and Department of Africana Studies for the past 30 years, is the founder and faculty director of the school’s sports business initiative and holder of the David W. Hauck Endowed Professorship. He will join ASU on July 1 and become a professor emeritus at Wharton.

The author of 12 books and co-host of a national sports business show on SiriusXM radio, Shropshire will become the first Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport at ASU, a newly endowed faculty position created with a generous contribution from the global manufacturer of sports apparel and athletic equipment. Adidas, based in Germany, has more than 55,000 employees worldwide and $18 billion in annual sales.

At ASU, Shropshire will hold a joint faculty appointment at the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with affiliate faculty appointments at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the School of Social Transformation’s African and African American Studies program.

He will be charged with designing, building and leading a new global sport institute, which is expected to be launched later this year. Shropshire will be the center’s CEO.

“The role and impact of sports on the world is growing rapidly in both scale and complexity,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “Professor Shropshire and our exciting new sports center will be able to explore the many dimensions of sports and illuminate athletics’ impact and influences on all of us.”

The new center will create, support and encourage collaborative, multidisciplinary inquiry and translate complex sports-related research to wide audiences through multiple media platforms, forums and global convenings, reaching audiences “where they live, work and play,” Shropshire said.

“This innovative approach will use the unifying power of sport to make a positive impact in the world,” he said.

Mark Searle, the university’s provost and executive vice president, said the new sports center exemplifies ASU’s commitment to multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to create impactful research, teaching and service.

Shropshire was recruited to ASU by Ray Anderson, the former NFL executive who is ASU’s athletic director. Anderson and Shropshire are longtime friends who played on the Stanford University football team in the mid-1970s.

"I have known Ken since becoming teammates on the Stanford football team in 1973,” Anderson said. “His intelligence and tenacity for the tasks at hand have always been extraordinarily impressive. I have no doubt he will bring dynamic energy to this exciting initiative."

After earning an economics degree from Stanford, Shropshire enrolled in Columbia Law School, graduating in 1980.

He practiced law in Los Angeles and served for three years as an executive with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee before joining the Wharton faculty in 1986.

In 2000, then-Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street appointed Shropshire to chair Philadelphia’s stadium site selection committee. His consulting clients have included the NFL, the Miami Dolphins and the U.S. Olympic Committee. He also served on MLB’s On Field Diversity Task Force.

Shropshire is a member of the board of directors of Moelis & Company and the nonprofit boards of USA Volleyball and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. He also is a former president of the Sports Lawyers Association.

His books include the foundational works “In Black and White: Race and Sports in America,” “The Business of Sports” and “The Business of Sports Agents.” His current book project, “The Mis-Education of the Student-Athlete,” focuses on athlete degree completion.

“From podcasts and documentaries to hosting events globally, this presented an extraordinary opportunity to make the work going on in the academy more impactful by broadly disseminating it in journalistic form,” Shropshire said. “At this point in my career my focus is to make a difference with sport. I cannot wait to get underway.”

Sports play a central role in the Shropshire family. His wife, Dr. Diane Shropshire, a Philadelphia anesthesiologist, is a former collegiate and professional doubles tennis champion at Stanford; their daughter, Theresa, played varsity squash at Stanford University; and their son, Sam, is a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection on the Northwestern University tennis team with plans to play professionally.

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