Does Gatorade work? Does the new helmet technology prevent concussions? Is walking as good as running? These are possible research topics for the Global Sport Institute.
Two years ago, the global sports giant Adidas began providing athletic apparel for coaches and student-athletes at Arizona State University as part of a multi-million-dollar contract.
Now the two are forming another partnership called the Global Sport Alliance that will go beyond the standard deal that most universities sign with sports companies.
The centerpiece is the Global Sport Institute, which will conduct sports research with the goal of making practical discoveries that can help your everyday life.
Possible research topics could include: Does Gatorade work? Does new helmet technology prevent concussions? Is walking as good as running?
“We’re going to work together, thinking about the future of sport, designing new ways that sport can move forward and designing new ways where sport can involve more people — not just all of the athletes on the field,” ASU President Michael Crow said.
Adidas North American President Mark King said in a statement that sport is much bigger than the game.
“We believe through sport, we have the power to change lives…With the Global Sport Alliance, we’re on a quest to explore the unknown. We want the whole world to benefit from what we discover.”
Officials won’t say how much Adidas is investing in the partnership, but said the company is funding a director’s position for the sport institute. The position will be held by Kenneth Shropshire, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert in sports law and business.
Shropshire is interested in researching sports questions that don’t have clear answers such as: Should Los Angeles, or any city, be bidding on the Olympics? What are the chances of my kid playing professional sports? Do Fitbits work?
The benefit of being associated with a university is that there are researchers who can study and evaluate these questions in an unbiased manner, he said.
The Global Sport Institute will work with departments already in place at ASU, including Sun Devil Athletics and the law school, the business school, the engineering school and journalism school, among others.
Officials envision a “first-of-its-kind” institute that studies the impact of sports on society, “probably like no other university has ever had the thought of doing,” ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson said.
Officials also envision the sport institute as a repository for answers to sports questions that have already been researched. For example, a parent who wonders whether athletic scholarships at ASU are good for one year, or up to four years, could reach out to the Global Sport Institute for the answer.
ASU officials have not said where the Global Sports Institute will be located. One possible site is Sun Devil Stadium, which is being renovated.
Republic reporter Jeff Metcalfe contributed to this story.
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