Who Knows Bobby Mo? Using Intercollegiate Athletics to Build a University Brand, pp. 57-63

John S. Clark
Artemisia Apostolopoulou
Scott Branvold
David Synowka

Dr. Susan Hofacre, Director of Athletics at Robert Morris University (RMU), walked out of Massey Hall toward her car after her weekly Friday meeting with the University President. Susan was feeling both excited and troubled due to this most recent conversation concerning the RMU athletic program’s role in the greater mission of the University. The prospect of using the athletic program to launch a comprehensive branding campaign for the University is one that Susan had wanted to pursue for many years, as she believed strongly that it would be an effective and efficient method for bringing national notoriety to the school. Her mind raced with the charge levied upon her by the University’s new President to develop a plan that would achieve that goal; however, this excitement was tempered by the troubling issues of exactly how to put the plan together. Realistically, Susan would have to focus on at best only two or three specific sports, and she worried about possible negative effects such a strategy would have on current and future student-athlete perceptions about the programs not chosen, athletic department staff morale, as well as any Title IX implications designating a flagship sport might have. Further complicating matters was the implicit directive that whatever flagship sport or sports she chose must deliver on key objectives taken directly from the University’s new Strategic Plan.