In The News

December 10, 2019

"While pitching to the judges, several of the entrepreneurs shared how they learned hard lessons during the startup process. Ricky Johnson, an ASU alum, is CEO of Barrage Training Tech, and invented a pressure-sensitive sleeve that wraps around a punching bag so workouts can be done without a trainer. He described how he took the first prototype to some local boxing gyms for boxers to try out.

“It was horribly ugly and it had duct tape and hot glue on it and batteries were flying everywhere,” he said.

So Johnson, who earned a degree in computer engineering at ASU in 2017, spent months and a lot of money to refine his prototype, and on Friday, he won $3,000 in the Global Sport Venture Challenge competition."

November 11, 2019

At last week’s second annual Sports Innovation Conference, produced by the Conshohocken-based VC firm, six startup founders from around the U.S. had the opportunity to pitch their sportstech ventures to a panel of judges, including former Philadelphia Phillies player Ryan Howard and NBA Hall of Famer Ralph Sampson.

The pitch competition capped off a day of panels at Citizen’s Bank Parkabout the future of innovation in sports, including a conversation about Nerd Street Gamers‘ esports deal with retailer Five Below.

Judges of the pitch competition included Howard, who’s also a SeventySix Capital investor; Sampson; Jennifer Fox, the president of wealth management at Bryn Mawr Trust; and Jeff Kunowski, associate director of innovation programs of the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University.

November 4, 2019

Like many a sports historian, Victoria Jackson has opinions.

She’s praised the U.S. Women’s National Team’s fight for equal pay through a federal lawsuit; written in support of Colin Kaepernick and athlete activism; and likened the NCAA concept of amateurism to 21st-century Jim Crow.

Unlike many a sports historian, she’s also a former NCAA champion and professional runner, whose direct experience as a student-athlete at North Carolina and Arizona State has added to years of research in the realm of big-time college sports.

In other words: when Jackson writes a new column for the Washington Post or Los Angeles Times, appears on a podcast or launches into a thread on her aptly named Twitter account, @HistoryRunner, people listen.

Over the last two years, she’s quickly made a name for herself among hundreds as a “public intellectual,” as her colleague Brooks Simpson, an ASU Foundation professor of history, put it. Healthy or not, Jackson joked, she’s thinking about and engaging with the issues at hand every day.

Her confidence to make such arguments, she said, stems from a combination of her own athletic career plus a pure, unadulterated love of history and the archival research that comes with it. But the Jackson of now isn’t the Jackson of old.

In Chapel Hill and Tempe, Ariz., alike, she can cite turning points on a journey of awareness that led her to a major realization: her picture-perfect stint as a student-athlete was rooted in her privilege. And now, as a clinical assistant professor at ASU, she’s working eventually create a system where everyone in college athletics gets that experience.

“The way it’s supposed to work shouldn’t be the exception to the rule,” she said. “It should be the rule.”

And as she’s moved up the university ranks — her assistant clinical professor position is new as of July — the field reporting aspect of her job hasn’t stopped. Jackson is using a $20,000 grant from ASU’s Global Sport Institute to travel the country and research a book proposal on racial injustice in college sports.