Dean Lucy Dalglish
The reputation of a world-class research university, outstanding faculty and proximity to the District brought Dean Lucy Dalglish to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in 2012, but the big-time college hockey fan with a penchant for risk-taking was intrigued by the Center for Sports Journalism.
“One of the benefits of coming to Maryland was its sports journalism program,” said Dalglish, who served as the Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and earned the highest honor from the Society of Professional Journalists. “Sports are more than just a game. They’re an industry.”
For Dalglish, the future of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism is about envisioning this bigger picture.
“There is no question that there is an insatiable demand for sports coverage. I would like to see more students prepared, not only to analyze a game and analyze varying abilities of the athletes and the coaches, but also to be prepared to cover the business of sports because I think society will benefit from it,” she said.
While some sports fans on campus have criticized the university’s transition from the ACC as a transaction that places money over tradition, the restless Dalglish is embracing the change.
“I always think change is good,” she said. “I am delighted from an academic standpoint to be going into the Big Ten because what we can pull off for our students and faculty in the Big Ten far exceeds what we can do in the ACC.”
With experience in business disputes and running a nonprofit on a limited budget, Dalglish emphasized that the move to the Big Ten offers important economic benefits.
“On the business side, we get deals through the big ten that you can’t get elsewhere just because of the volume, because these universities are so big,” said Dalglish, who used merging contracts with other Big Ten schools to purchase new computers as an example that could “save a million dollars.”
Still, the financial incentive is not what the former attorney is most excited about.
Moving to the Big Ten means joining the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which advances academic missions and generates more opportunities by “sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources and collaborating on innovative programs,” according to the committee’s website.
This allows University of Maryland students to collaborate with researchers from other universities, request books and engage in study abroad programs from any Big Ten school “seamlessly,” Dalglish said. It’s a coalition “unique to the Big Ten. Nobody else does this.”
Optimistic for the future of a changing journalism industry, Dalglish also views the entrance into the conference as an opportunity to expand the platform for broadcast students with the international audience of the Big Ten Network.
“Twenty-five percent of the content on the Big Ten Network has to be non-sports related, that’s a huge opportunity for our broadcast students,” Dalglish said. “I’m really anxious to kind of grab the bull by the horns and just see what we can do with our sports journalism program and perhaps beef up the entire broadcast portion of the program by our association in the Big Ten.”
The college’s first woman dean plans to further improve the sports journalism program by working with Maryland’s scientific community, possibly the Baltimore campus medical school or the Kinesiology Department, on issues like performance-enhancing drugs and concussions.
Part of the success of the sports journalism program is in its capacity to “interact with the rest of the campus community,” according to Dalglish.
Its leaders do an “outstanding job of bringing in very interesting people, raising interesting and timely topics for discussion and coming up with programs that appeal not just to the journalists on campus, but to everyone,” Dalglish said.
She identified the “Penn State: Aftermath of a Scandal,” panel featuring former Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, Knight Commission co-chairman William E. “Brit” Kirwan and Penn State sports journalism director Malcolm Moran as being particularly poignant.
“We just had access to some real thought leaders for that program,” she said. “That was a very timely session that addressed so many issues, social issues, sports issues, money issues. It was colorful. They were articulate.”
Dalglish makes it clear that the center’s sports journalism training goes beyond the playing field to education policy, entertainment culture and the economy.
“We’re preparing students to be involved in sports journalism [but also] potentially [to] also get involved in the business of sports. We give them that much of a feel for how sports work.”