JUPITER, Fla., Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Florida Debate Initiative, Inc. ("FDI") announced the formation of the Florida Sports Debate Advisory Council (the "Council"), expanding the growth of civics and debate in Florida, while tapping into the $1.3 trillion sports and entertainment industry. "Sports Professor" Rick Horrow will Chair the Council, which will include representation from Florida professional sports teams, facilities, and events; as well as leaders from the business, civic, and political communities.
"The unprecedented worldwide pandemic has caused our society to be more isolated, tribal, opinionated, and more aggressive than ever before," remarked Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. "I have believed that debate is the best example of what a great society should be – passionate but civil disagreement – producing constructive and empathetic citizens. Listeners as well as talkers… Simultaneously, the proliferation of sports on television, radio, and the Internet grew from countless debates around the dinner tables of families with young children and continues to old age, when we look back and remember how things "used to be" and how athletes from modern day would fare against the vaunted heroes of the past. Great debates over prominent questions in sports have captured the attention of Americans and citizens of the world over the last century and they play a huge part of our everyday life and serve as a common language between strangers," concluded Commissioner Corcoran.
Understanding that the synergies between debate, sports, and entertainment are overwhelming, the Florida Debate Initiative, Inc. brought on Rick Horrow to help create a new form of competitive sports debate and extemporaneous speaking. The event debuted at the National Civics and Debate Championship the organization hosted in Orlando over the weekend of November 12, 2021. Under the direction of the FDI's Director, Tara Tedrow, the Florida Education Foundation and the State Director of Civics and Debate, Beth Eskin, the expansion of debate, hosting of competitions, and growth of sports debate will continue to flourish.
Horrow noted: "Since I was first involved in debate as a junior high school student in the late '60s, I understood the importance of self-confidence, organized thought, and debate skills as a key to long-term success in life. As Commissioner Corcoran has frequently stated, the popularity of sports and the ferocity of public opinion in sports in America make the creation of new sports speech and debate events a topical and powerful driver that will attract future generations of competitors from a segment of the student population that is traditionally underrepresented in the speech and debate community. We continue to be excited about the role of sports in educating our future politicians, lawyers, business folks, and those from all walks of life. I am honored to be part of this effort – the first of its kind in the United States." As the "Sports Professor," Horrow helped create the first sports law/business curriculum at the Harvard Law School after receiving his J.D. there in 1979. He has authored numerous books on the history and business of sports and was instrumental in the formation of the Miami Heat and other South Florida sports entities.
The Council will include executive representation from professional sports teams from all Florida regions; major sporting events such as the Honda Classic, Valspar Championship, and NASCAR/Daytona International Speedway. It also includes key multisport opinion leaders such as tennis Hall of Famer Butch Buchholz and former Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy. Also, the Council will include key political statesmen, such as former United States Senator George LeMieux, former Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, and former House of Representatives member Pat Rooney. The Council will assist in promoting the synergies between sports and debate, generating local and national awareness for this unique effort, and creating additional opportunities for business community support.
About Rick Horrow:
Chairman of Horrow Sports Ventures. He has been Sports Business Analyst for CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS Sports Radio, Bloomberg, PBS Nightly Business Report, CNBC, and various local ESPN affiliates. He has hosted sports news and business programs, including Bloomberg's "Sportfolio," NBC's "Beyond the Scoreboard," Reuters "Keeping Score," FOX/Bally "Icons with Rick Horrow: Leadership in Sports," and others. He is author of When The Game Is On The Line: From the Man Who Brought the Heat to Miami and the Browns Back to Cleveland, an Inside Look at the High-Stakes World of Sports Deal-Making, Beyond the Scoreboard: An Insider's Guide to the Business of Sport, and The Sport Business Handbook: Insights from 100+ Leaders Who Shaped 50 Years of the Industry. He is Visiting Expert on Sports Business at the Harvard Law School.