RISE, MSU Athletics announce partnership following pilot project Education programs planned on race relations

February 2, 2017

EAST LANSING – Following a yearlong pilot program, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) and Michigan State University Athletics have formalized a partnership to bring RISE’s education programs to MSU athletes and coaches.In conjunction with the partnership announcement, RISE and MSU Athletics presented a program Wednesday, Feb. 1, to about 250 student-athletes, primarily sophomores and juniors, as well as athletic administrators. Derek Greenfield, a nationally known speaker, provided a keynote presentation on leadership, diversity, implicit bias and team building.

RISE is an unprecedented alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals using sports to bring people together to promote understanding, respect and equality. Through public awareness campaigns and educational programming, RISE aims to improve race relations.

The partnership with MSU will include various RISE training programs to educate and empower student-athletes, coaches and administrators to be leaders in discussing and addressing matters of racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusivity within their teams, university and communities.

“We are excited to formally announce our partnership with MSU,” said RISE CEO Jocelyn Benson. “As an athletic director, Mark Hollis is a national leader, and we are confident our partnership will be an example for other universities across the country.”

During the pilot program, RISE completed training with all MSU coaches, presented at a fall session on diversity open to all student-athletes and presented at a fall session for freshman football players. In addition, parts of the RISE curriculum on identity and implicit bias were presented as part of the course KIN 171 – Athletics in Higher Education during fall semester.

“We are thrilled to partner with RISE,” said Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis. “The pilot programming allowed us to create dialog around important topics for our coaches and student-athletes that reflect our core values, including respect, diversity and equality. By formalizing our partnership, we will be better able to guide our diversity and leadership programming for all student-athletes as well as aid in our professional development of all staff members.” RISE and MSU also have produced a public service announcement featuring MSU athletes from numerous sports. The video, a pledge against discrimination, will be played during home basketball games this winter and spring.

Founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, RISE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.

For more information about RISE, visit http://www.risetowin.org/.