Texas Program in Sports and Media Names Initial Director

Michael J. Cramer, former president of the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars, and a professor in sports management at New York University (NYU), has been named the first director of the new Texas Program in Sports and Media (TPSM) at The University of Texas at Austin.

Cramer will be responsible for start-up leadership, fundraising and programming of the program, which includes overseeing development of the Richard Pound Olympics Archive and organizing the annual McGarr Symposium on Sport and Society. He also will teach part-time in the area of sports and media in the college.

"Mike's unusual skill set of management, sports management and professional academic experience make him the ideal director for this emerging program," said Roderick P. Hart, dean of the College of Communication, which hosts the Texas Program in Sports and Media. "His connections throughout the sports and media industries, as well as his experience developing programs, building partnerships, fundraising and creating internship programs, will propel the program to the highest levels."

"I am excited and honored to be a part of creating this tremendous new program at The University of Texas at Austin and specifically the College of Communication," said Cramer. "The study and public discussion of the relationship of sports, media and society could not have a better home and vehicle for leadership than UT. I expect that this program will be the number one program in the country for the study and discussion of these areas of our modern culture."

As an assistant professor at NYU, Cramer helped develop several new undergraduate courses and the "Sports and the Media" graduate concentration in the Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. He has also written and spoken about the business of sports, collective bargaining, mega-stadiums and revenue enhancement. Prior to teaching sports management at NYU, he was chief operating officer and president of Southwest Sports Group, Inc., which owns the Texas Rangers baseball club and the Dallas Stars professional hockey team, and has been a long-time partner in a private investment and management firm, which has purchased and operated more than 60 public and private companies.

Cramer earned his law degree from Marquette University Law School and his bachelor's degree from the State University of New York. He will start at The University of Texas at Austin on July 1.

The College of Communication established the Texas Program in Sports and Media in fall 2009 to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and research on sports, media and culture. It unites two programming initiatives-the Richard W. Pound Olympic Archive Collection and the McGarr Symposium on Journalism and Society-and two curriculum initiatives-the Sports Publicity Project and the sports journalism curriculum.

The next McGarr Symposium, April 1, features sports commentator Frank Deford, speaking on contemporary issues of sports and society.