Office Hours: LMU Athletic Director Craig Pintens Talks the Future of College Athletics

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Welcome to a new episode of Office Hours: a podcast where Front Office Sports CEO Adam White has a discussion with figures from throughout the sports industry centered around three basic questions. Those questions are “What’s on your mind today?”, “What are you excited about?”, and “Any big ideas or theories you want to share?”

Craig Pintens is the Athletic Director at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Pintens chats with White in today’s episode about his impressive track record in college athletics as well as challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the business of college athletics.

Edited highlights appear below:

On the biggest adjustment of moving into the role of athletic director (11:22)
Pintens: “I think the biggest adjustment is going to sound weird, but the biggest adjustment is realizing that something you say can have a lot of impact. And I have to remind people I’m a very curious person by nature. So if I ask a question about something, it doesn’t mean we need to change it. It doesn’t mean that I feel like it’s a great thing or a bad thing. I’m just curious about why we’re doing something a certain way. And that has been probably toughest adjustment.”

On athletic directors being cautious about speaking on the subject of paying college athletes (28:37)

Pintens: “I think generally people are pretty conservative in terms of their approach and also not knowing what’s going to be next. You don’t want to put yourself out there to be, I guess, put in a bad position for your institution. And there’s a lot at stake and you also don’t want to receive calls from various people around the country that are upset with you. And so I think there’s a lot at stake for athletic directors to speak out on the topic. Generally most people are going to wait and see because it is also hard to make a proclamation on what’s gonna happen. But I will say this, I mean it’s calming that the handwriting is there on the wall. If we were having this conversation a month and a half ago or two months ago, I probably would be a little bit more cautious about what I’m saying. But the reality is it is going to happen at this point. That is clear because there’s too much momentum to, to turn it around.”

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On leadership lessons learned over the course of his career (53:32)

Pintens: “Be intentional about what you’re saying, what you’re doing and be aware of that as well…I think that’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this past year. But part of it is just growing up I’ve always tried to at least, even if I wasn’t in a leadership role, provide some leadership and guidance to whoever might be in that role. And I think that prepares you when you do step into an actual position that, just by definition, is a leadership role. I’ve always been somebody who has tried to focus on people and understanding kind of what motivates them. And if we can get people all pulling in the same direction we’re gonna be able to accomplish what we need to do.”

Where the proudest moments come from as a college athletics administrator (57:40)

Pintens: “98% of student-athletes are going pro in something else. And our primary job in college athletics is to have students succeed and go and make an impact on the world. You know, my most memorable moments in college athletics have nothing to do with anything related to accomplishments of our teams or are great moments…I’ve been at places that have had a lot of those. It’s been watching young people develop from the time they were freshmen until when they leave and just the confidence that they achieve as a student-athlete.”

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