University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Collegiate Athletics for Senior Leaders: Managing External Forces and Political Influences

View all Penn GSE Virtual Institutes

Program Dates: December 7, 14, and 21, 2021

A group of runners competing in the 2019 Penn Relays. Photo by Eric Sucar, University of Pennsylvania.

Penn GSE Virtual Institutes bring Penn's faculty and resources to teachers, educators and leaders across the globe. In these innovative professional learning modules, participants engage in real-time, online group sessions as well as reflect and learn at their own pace in asynchronous sessions. Institutes typically span three consecutive half days, allowing participants to accelerate their learning while continuing to fulfill their professional obligations.


Participants who successfully complete this Virtual Institute will receive a Penn GSE Certificate of Participation.

Senior leaders are invited to enroll in this Virtual Institute either as a standalone program, or as a part of a four-part Certificate Program in Collegiate Athletics for Senior Leaders.

Virtual Institute Information

This Virtual Institute will bring you inside the latest issues confronting college athletics. You will deepen your understanding of the social, political, and economic tensions that are prominent in college sports. You'll examine a range of issues, from whether college athletes should be paid, through technology's impact on student-athletes' rights to privacy. This Virtual Institute will also examine some of the thorniest issues facing our campuses, and what senior campus administrators must know to successfully navigate them.


During this program, you will also consider what structural changes college athletics might face coming out of the pandemic, particularly from Congress. With a number of state legislature's weighing in on expanding athlete's rights and expanding gambling on college sports, senior campus administrators should become fluent in the issues sure to disrupt the system.


Finally, this Virtual Institute will take a serious look at the sustainability of football in college athletics, including the issues surrounding concussions and lifetime medical costs. This signature sport drives both male enrollment and rising insurance costs, causing unique pressures on campus budgets and enrollment goals. You will also explore the shadow industries that drive up costs in athletics, causing additional pressure on athletic directors to spend more time on fundraising to keep up with their competitors.

Who Should Enroll

This program is ideal for Presidential Cabinet members, new Presidents, senior athletic administrators and those who aspire to move into those roles. This institute can strengthen your candidacy with this unique, first of its kind educational certificate.


This program is well suited for:

  • Presidential cabinet members
  • New presidents
  • Financial officers
  • Enrollment managers
  • Deans
  • Provosts
  • Development officers
  • Student affairs officers
  • Facility and capital project officers

Key Topics
  1. Athletics in a time of disruption-in the 21st century, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
  2. Should College Athletes Be Paid? Revenues, Amateurism, Exploitation, NILs
  3. Technology's Impact on Athlete Privacy and Consent
  4. Boards, Alumni and Politics
  5. Benefits, Scandals, and Boosters
  6. HBCUs and the evolution of the multicultural athlete
  7. Racial and Social Justice Issues
  8. Football: The Moral, Ethical, Legal, and Financial Challenges
  9. The Shadow Industries of College Athletics

Looking for More? Enroll in the full Certificate Program

To earn your Certificate in Collegiate Athletics for Senior Leaders, you must complete all three virtual institutes as well as a final report. Visit the Collegiate Athletics for Senior Leaders Certificate Program webpage to learn more.

If you are interested in participating in this Virtual Institute as a standalone program, please click the red 'Enroll Now' button to access the enrollment form.

Academic Director
Penn GSE Faculty Karen Weaver

Dr. Karen Weaver

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Higher Education Division
Penn Graduate School of Education



Registration Close Date: December 4th, 2021


3 nonconsecutive days



Daily synchronous sessions: 5:00–8:00pm ET
Asynchronous work per day: 2 hours


Standard rate: $600
Early bird rate: $450*
Group rate: $450 per person**

*Early bird rate available until 11/23/2021
**Group rate available for 4+ from the same organization. Contact for more information.


Penn GSE Certificate of Participation



Contact Us

Please contact with any questions about this program.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

If you have to cancel your registration prior to the program's start date, you will receive a fee credit, valid for one year, for a future Penn GSE Virtual Institute. If Penn GSE must cancel your registration, we will refund your payment in full, or you may request a fee credit as above.