ProSquared Sports & Business Talk
Luncheon at the Park Hotel
Balancing Act
ProSquared CEO Robert Wynn (l-r) and Sean Frazier, athletic
director for Northern Illinois
University
last. Those who are under the auspices of the NCAA, we’re going to have to take a slower, more formal route with them and do that in
conjunction with the athletic administration and the university administration. And right now, we just have informal contacts, but no formal
instruction program. There is a web of regulations that we have to deal with.”

There is no one who would probably understand and know that web of regulations more than Sean Frazier, athletic director for Northern Illinois
University. Frazier was the keynote speaker at the ProSquared Sports & Business Talk Luncheon held February 17th at the Park Hotel. Frazier,
the former UW-Madison assistant athletic director, played his undergraduate football at Alabama. Knowing that he probably would not be going
on to the NFL, Frazier made sure that he took full advantage of what Alabama offered him and eventually rising through the ranks as Division III
coach to Division I athletic director. And he learned many valuable lessons along the way.

When Frazier was at the University of Maine, Frazier approached his job as most other assistant athletic directors approached their jobs. And
then he got a rude awakening from a mentor.

“I had a great mentor who is now a vice-president of multicultural student affairs at Ohio University,” Frazier said. “She was the dean of
multicultural student affairs at the University of Maine. That’s where I spent 7-8 years. And she grabbed me one day. She said, ‘Sean, you are a
part of the problem, not a part of the solution.’ And I said, ‘Ma’am?’ She said, ‘You are part of the problem and not a part of the solution. You are
recruiting these athletes to our campus. But you aren’t providing leadership and direction in helping them past their sport.’ She was bold on it.
We chuckle about it today. Her name is Dr. Sheri Clark and she is a mentor and she is the reason why I got into athletic administration
specifically because she challenged me to get outside the box and to do the things that were necessary around the student centerpiece of it,
but more importantly making sure that folks saw themselves at the next level, the next iteration of what they wanted to do in life.”

In some ways, Frazier’s mentor challenged him to grow up and recognize that he was steward of the young lives that he was responsible for.

“At that point, I stopped thinking myopically about myself and more about what I could do and how I could impact that level of change,” Frazier
said. “It was a key defining moment for me. I had been a little bit selfish as a young man. You kind of look at what the next thing, the next
career, the next career path is for you. And then, all of a sudden, I was having a mentor of mine telling me that I needed to do the right thing and
gain knowledge in my chosen field of study and at the same time, throw that rope over the fence and help someone else. That’s what really
started it for me. At the University of Maine, I spent about 7-8 years. I gained one of my graduate degrees in higher education administration and
higher education theory. And it was really important for me to understand about student centeredness and about what was going on across
campus with student athletes and general students as they have gone through their road of development. And it shaped me as an athletic
administrator. And I saw a lot of things on what to do and what not to do on the University of Maine’s campus. But it was a great defining
moment for me and why I am in the role that I am in today.”

As an athletic director, Frazier found that he needed to be concerned about the whole student and that he not only had to be engaged on the
athletic side of things, but also on the academic side of things. And that meant not only engaging alumni and parents, but also faculty and
university staff.

“One of the things that really defined some of this job for me was the seriousness of achieving the ultimate balance, the balance between
athletics and academics,” Frazier emphasized. “Is there a place out of all of our institutions where there is a true balance between athletics
and academics? That will be tested on every college campus. It was interesting. I have a mentor who asked me to read a book as I pursued
my doctorate here and finished up a master’s here. The book is called “The Harvard Century.’ It was interesting. It was one of those books like
a book I was required to read when I was in eighth grade. I was reading this book about shared governance at Harvard. I have to admit that I
dozed off a couple of times. But as I read this book, I saw a lot of what was happening here in Madison. And I also saw the fact that with the
right conviction, with the right communications, with the right passion, you can achieve a balance between athletics and academics. But it has
to be intentional. And it has to be top down, bottom up, side to side and all in the middle. And it has to be community-based. It kind of hit me all
of a sudden while I was going through my time, having been at different levels from being at Manhattanville to being at Madison and being at
NIU, I was really struck by the fact that it takes a lot of work to get that done. And it takes a lot of folks who are on your staff working with you
both on campus and in the community to get to that balance.”

Next issue: The future of college athletics
By Jonathan Gramling

For the past three decades, Robert “Bob” Wynn has championed the cause
of financial literacy. Whether it was through his work in the old WI
Department of Development, as a member of Asset Builders of America or
in his new capacity as the CEO of ProSquared, Wynn has been the most
consistent advocate of financial literacy for people of all ages.

ProSquared, Wynn’s latest vehicle, strives to promote financial literacy and
personal development among athletes of all ages. Due to the nature of
athletics, different age groups offer different opportunities.

“The opportunities are before and after the athletes have their collegiate
experience,” Wynn said. “The middle and high school level is the best
place to start. As you know, we have some programs for all students at that
level and we are just trying to migrate more of the athletes into that space
as well. We’ve actually opened up some discussions with the Madison
school district with their athletic department and we are also talking with
some of the alumni athletes. The collegiate level is probably going to come