Spear to address conference
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 04/19/2011
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University of Idaho director of athletics Rob Spear has a unique opportunity next week when he travels to North Carolina to serve as a panel member at the College Sports Research Institute's annual conference at the University of North Carolina.

This year's conference includes three panel discussions with Spear serving on "A View from the Top: Insights from Industry Leaders on the State of College Athletics." He's joined on the panel by Washington State University president Elson Floyd as well as the commissioners of the Atlantic Coast (John Swofford) and Big Ten (Jim Delany) conferences and  Joel Lulla, a nationally recognized media rights consultant.

As the panel's only athletic director and the lone representative of a mid-major conference, Spear views this as an educational occasion.

"I am excited to participate on a panel with such a distinguished group," Spear said. "I will have an opportunity to talk about the mid-majors - schools like Idaho, and how they fit into the overall landscape. I'm looking forward to educating these students about the challenges we face at our level - especially our financial challenges."

In an era of tight budgets and shrinking institutional support, Spear said athletic departments need to be innovative in finding funding solutions.

"Ideally, you want to grow your way out of any problem you have," Spear said "How much can you potentially grow before you eventually have to cut?"

For Idaho these days, potential growth comes in the form of the premium seating being built in the Kibbie Dome. Assess to what arguably will be the best season in college football is one way to build a revenue stream.

"A View from the Top: Insights from Industry Leaders on the State of College Athletics" will be presented Wednesday, April 20.

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