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UM Board of Curators partners with Huron to propel Mizzou Athletics forward


Christian Basi

Columbia, Mo.— The University of Missouri Board of Curators has engaged Huron, a global professional services firm, to help it identify areas in which the University can further invest in athletics excellence. The engagement, which will cost $540,000, will provide a full assessment of the current state of resources and infrastructure that support Mizzou Athletics, as well as outline a roadmap for how the Board can enhance its support.

“The landscape of college athletics has evolved rapidly in the last couple of years due to changes like Name, Image and Likeness, and conference expansion,” said Darryl Chatman, Board chair and former MU football player. “These changes offer MU the opportunity to transform, not simply transition. Together with Huron, we are excited to build a roadmap for growth that capitalizes on the distinct strengths of Mizzou and propels us to the top of collegiate athletics.”

Huron will issue the results of the full review and recommendations in Fall 2023. The work performed by Huron will support and bolster the current efforts of Mizzou Athletics, including the department’s strategic priorities.

Mizzou Athletics has experienced notable achievements in the last two years. MU student-athletes earned record success in the classroom and in their sports, collectively setting a record-high department grade point average of 3.22 in Fall 2021, with 313 student-athletes attaining SEC Honor Roll status. In competition, 33 were recognized as All-SEC performers, 18 became All-Americans and Keegan O’Toole won a national wrestling championship. 

“Successful athletics programs can enhance the student experience and increase the engagement and support of alums, fans and Missouri citizens,” said Mun Choi, University of Missouri President. “With the Board’s leadership and Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois’s bold strategic vision, we’ll make investments for Mizzou to become a national leader in collegiate sports.”

MU athletic events have seen an increase in fan engagement. Football experienced an SEC-high 17% growth in attendance, an increase of 37% in student ticket sales, a nearly 10% growth in Tiger Scholarship Fund revenue, a 26% increase in social media engagement, a 25% increase in men’s basketball attendance and 20% increase in women’s basketball attendance. 

“I regularly ask alumni to share with me their favorite college memory. More often than not, the memories they share with me center around a significant sporting event from their time at MU,” said Desiree Reed-Francois, Mizzou athletic director. “Love for Mizzou Athletics extends across our state, nation and world. I’m grateful to the Board of Curators and President Choi for their support and commitment to helping us achieve excellence.”

Huron is a global professional services firm offering services to the health care, commercial and education industries. Huron has conducted work for other collegiate athletic programs such as Vanderbilt University (Southeastern Conference), Rutgers University (Big Ten Conference), University of Pittsburgh (Atlantic Coast Conference) and San Diego State University (Mountain West Conference). 

“It is an honor to work with the University of Missouri,” said Tim Walsh, managing director within Huron’s Higher Education Practice. “We look forward to working with the Board of Curators and the university’s institutional leaders – including those within Athletics – to rapidly elevate competitive outcomes across key intercollegiate athletics programs and, more broadly, the impact of those programs on the University and the State of Missouri.”

Reviewed 2022-12-20