South Florida Showdown: How Lynn University Is Innovating In College Sports

July 28th, 2017 | by Rhett Moroses
South Florida Showdown: How Lynn University Is Innovating In College Sports

South Florida Showdown

Lynn University, a Division II institution located in Boca Raton, Florida, is hosting a nine-game series between six Division I schools throughout the 2017-2018 season, calling it the South Florida Showdown. It is a first-of-its-kind event, architected by Director of Athletics Devin Crosby and University President Kevin Ross, that has been created in the innovational spirit that is Lynn’s culture.

“There is a culture at Lynn that we call Spirit, Service, and Strength”, said Crosby. (Pictured Right “It’s our honor and our empathy that we are not better than anybody, but it’s also our confidence too. And that is what you see out of every employee at Lynn University.”

South Florida ShowdownCrosby and the Lynn University team decided to put this culture on display. They needed to present it to a market that people care about and consume, which led to athletics. “I told President Ross that I think we can do this,” said Crosby. “He said if it is good for our student body and the national and international brand of Lynn University, then let’s go. I am very thankful to work for a man that is so forward thinking and gives us all the ability to try new things and push the envelope.”

The process began with one phone call to FAU Director of Athletics Pat Chun. “I asked Pat to play a basketball game at Lynn, which is unconventional for a little school to host a big school. I thank Pat for his forward thinking for seeing the vision for not necessarily the South Florida Showdown, but for excitement in South Florida” said Crosby. The two schools are only one and a half miles apart.

The local idea grew into the national event that is the South Florida Showdown. Lynn Athletics started calling other DI schools playing programs like FIU, FAU, or Miami in the South Florida area, asking them to come down and play the Fighting Knights of Lynn.

This showdown will include tailgate parties, entertainment, and shoe giveaways by Adidas, all free of charge to any person that attends. “Our sponsors and donors are backing this event, as well Adidas graciously providing us shoes to give away to fans,  either watching the game live or on YouTube, randomly throughout each of the games,” said Crosby. “This gives people the incentive to watch the games from all around the world. We are doing this is to define and advance the reason why people consume sport.”

Although this event is going to have high entertainment value, Devin Crosby is not trying to cloak Lynn’s competitive spirit. “We fully expect to win each of these games. This is not just a sideshow we are putting on” said Crosby.

The South Florida Showdown changes the college landscape in terms of inter-division competition and little schools hosting big schools. Devin Crosby and the Lynn University team have created a model for future Division II schools and other small institutions to follow.

“I think that this is a model that sports will follow. There are over 950 NCAA institutions that sponsor an athletic department. A percentage of these schools have a much larger budget. Everybody else who has a low budget will be viewed as an institution that is not stacked with resources.” Crosby said. “However, there is always a desire to play those big schools. Now, we have created a model for small schools to host big schools in athletic competition.”

The University may not be known by most people, but there is no surprise that this new model was created by Lynn University, an institution that has pushed the boundaries of higher education. The school is a fully iPad integrated institution, containing no textbooks. The Fighting Knights have won 23 national championships. The South Florida Showdown is another example of how Lynn is becoming more successful in college sports and higher education.

“We really believe that Lynn University is the most innovated institution in the world,” Crosby said. “We are only innovated because we have a culture of safety and a culture of trust. And when you are safe and have trust, that is when you can innovate and change the world.”

Rhett Moroses About Rhett Moroses
Rhett Moroses is a recent graduate from Endicott College with a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Management. He has held multiple internships in the sports industry including athletic administration in interscholastic sports, sponsorship and marketing in college athletics, and game day promotions and marketing in professional sports. Rhett aspires to have a successful career in the field of college athletic administration.

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