At 37 years old, first-year Morgan State University Athletic Director Edward Scott is able to speak “millennial” to a board-room audience.
To handle the day-to-day operations of the NCAA Division I athletic program, he leaves “a closet full of Air Force 1s” and dons a business suit to make things happen.
“I tell our student athletes I’m old enough to know better but young enough to know your world,” Scott said.
Despite being on campus for less than nine months, Scott’s imprint on the athletic program is already evident. On July 18, Morgan State and Towson State announced a partnership to resume the annual matchup between their football teams known as the Battle for Greater Baltimore, which has not been played since 2011. The schools, which are separated by less than 10 miles, will re-embark on a consistent regional rivalry beginning Sept. 2 at Towson’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Morgan has also shown a new aggressiveness in marketing and branding their athletics programs, including the announcement last week of new video screens at their athletic venues. The screens may also open a new stream of revenue by offering a venue to sell in-game commercials.
“You’ve got to know who you are and find other schools you can partner with who share the same vision,” said Scott. “I’m constantly thinking outside the box from learning while working at predominately White institutions earlier in my career. We are sending the message that we are ready to compete at the highest level both on and off the field.”
Scott was hired from George Washington University and mentored by former Bowie State and current St. John’s University Athletic Director Anton Goff, and understands synergy and media exposure. He immediately made athletic events available to Morgan’s fan base by live streaming games via Facebook live and Livestream media portals at no cost to viewers.
Morgan’s deal with Daktronics, which will upgrade the Hughes Stadium video screen while adding two others at Hill Field House, is more than cosmetic. The new end zone display at the Stadium will stand 24 feet high by 30 feet wide, and the two end wall displays at the Field House will measure approximately 9.5 feet high by 16.5 feet wide. In addition to giving fans high definition replays, they represent advertising opportunities for the athletic program to develop more corporate partnerships.
Scott has also overseen the refurbishing of the floor inside the basketball arena and built a new field for the softball program “so those ladies can enjoy senior day on campus like football and basketball players do.”
Those renovations will also benefit students in Morgan’s School of Global Journalism and create greater publicity for the athletic program this fall. The school is set to produce four football games that will be streamed via ESPN3, the network’s website and mobile application. Those productions will give the program unprecedented exposure on the world’s largest sports portal using industry standard equipment.
Scott will also support the school’s journalism program by creating on campus internship opportunities for “Bear Vision.” The concept is similar to the University of Maryland’s partnership with the B1G conference’s Student U network, under which communications students produce game broadcasts and gain experience for jobs after graduation.
“As A.D. you’re always looking for ideas that have worked at other places around the country,” Scott said. “When you’re new you’ve got to collaborate with other departments and demonstrate shared values across campus.”