The Role of University of Virginia Athletics in the Community

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

littlepage_120314What is the proper role of intercollegiate athletics with various institutional programs such as teaching and learning? Where does the sports program fit in with other programs? Craig Littlepage, UVa Athletics Director, responded to these questions and more at this month’s meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV board member Charlie Smith.

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Craig Littlepage received his B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1973. He was appointed assistant basketball coach at Villanova University in 1973, assistant basketball coach at Yale University in 1975; assistant basketball coach at UVa in 1976; head basketball coach at University of Pennsylvania in 1982, head basketball coach, Rutgers University in 1985, and assistant basketball coach at UVa in 1988. Mr. Littlepage was appointed assistant UVa assistant athletics director in 1990, associate athletics director for programs in 1991, senior associate director of athletics in 1995, and named as UVa’s athletics director in 2001.

Cavalier student-athletes who exhaust their eligibility at UVa graduate at a rate comparable to the student body as a whole. Annually, UVa student-athletes rank among the top Division I-A public universities in the country in graduation rates.

Littlepage is a member of the Associate Faculty for the University’s Center for Alcohol and Substance Education, and participates in various alcohol and drug prevention/education conferences. He served on the Board of Directors of the Ronald McDonald House and is a Trustee for the Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Mr. Littlepage is married to the former Margaret Murray of Charlottesville. The couple has three children.

Program Summary

One need not look very hard to see the “chaos” in intercollegiate athletics — schools moving among conferences, players moving among teams and an abundance of scandals, said Craig Littlepage, athletic director for the University of Virginia. “You need a scorecard to keep up with this stuff,” he said, addressing a group of about 50 senior residents gathered for a forum hosted by Senior Statesmen of Virginia on Wednesday.

Littlepage said he urges colleagues in the industry to take responsibility for the state of intercollegiate athletics and work to change it. “We as leaders, administrators, senior administrators, officials at the conference level, NCAA level, coaches and so forth, have not done the kind of job we need to do in defining what our value is to our respective institutions,” he said. “Absent that clear definition, we then get defined by either our critics or we get defined by scandals.” Littlepage defined what he described as important opportunities athletics programs bring to their respective institutions.

“There are two things we do at the University of Virginia in the athletics department better than anywhere else at the institution,” he said.  “Number one is we bring people together … Secondly, we develop relationships.” Both circumstances support the university’s primary missions of “teaching, learning and research, which are far more important than the games we play.”

Through about 130 athletic events held each year, UVa draws thousands to the Grounds, he said. “We can develop relationships with those people we bring together — parents of a student athlete with a faculty member, a faculty member with a corporate sponsor. You can look at any number of combinations of the ability we have to bring people together to develop the kind of relationships that bring great value to the university, as well as exposure and recognition of the university.”

This summary reprinted (and reformatted and truncated to fit available space) from the Daily Progress, March 15, 2012, written by Megan Davis.

The Financial Crisis – Which Inning Are We In?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Professor Edwin T. Burton of the University of Virginia Economics Department spoke on the current economic crisis at a Senior Statesmen of Virginia forum on January 14, 2008. Professor Burton is a well known economic expert who is a frequent guest on WINA. He is the former head of the Virginia Retirement System and is the author of the Burton Finance Blog.


Burton received his B.A. in Economics from Rice University in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University in 1971. He is currently professor of economics at the University of Virginia, a post he has held since 1998. He is also currently a trustee of Virginia Retirement System. His past positions include head of Investment Banking and Municipal Finance at Interstate Johnson Lane from 1994 to 1995, president of Rothschild Financial Services, Inc. from 1987 to 1994, senior vice President of Smith Barney from 1975 to 1984 and assistant and associate professor of economics at Cornell University from 1969 to 1979.

The topic of today’s presentation is “The Financial Crisis – Which Inning Are We In?”. Bill Davis, SSV board member and secretary, moderated today’s program.

Program Summary

UVa Economics Professor Edwin Burton addressed the current economic crisis. He stated that the economic condition today is not worse than the Great Depression—unemployment now is even less than during the Carter administration. The problem began in early 2007 when the credit (lending) market started to freeze up. The head of the Federal Reserve and administration officials kept saying everything was OK, and that confused the market. Yet there is no way to measure the state of the credit market at any given time like there is to measure the stock and bond markets. <!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Housing facts: 30 % have no mortgage; 40 % have small mortgages with no problems; remaining 30% are where the subprimes are. Fannie Mae was set up to make low interest loans for home purchases, but President Johnson did not want the debt to show up on government books and so it was structured to resemble free enterprise systems of other institutions. The administration had taken the position they wouldn’t bail out the mistakes of others, but over one-half of the debt is now owned by foreign countries, and failure would have even more severe repercussions on the US financing its national debt.

Predictions and observations: •Unemployment will go to 8.5 % during the next three months. •Credit markets are already improving and housing markets will improve except in some areas. •We’ll be in deep trouble if the new administration takes the protectionist route—this was one of the causes of the Great Depression. •Although Professor Burton didn’t vote for Obama, he gives the new president an “A” for all of his appointments so far except for Hillary. •Professor Burton does not favor any stimulus package because the results will be so far down the road that they will then contribute to inflation. •A lot of money will be wasted by the stimulus package and banking.

Visit Professor Burton’s blog site at