Steven R. Heyman memorial lecture

The purpose of the Heyman lecture is to remember and memorialize Steve Heyman, a former President of Division 47 and leading figure in the development of science and practice in exercise and sport psychology

By Richard Lapchik, PhD

A major goal of this lecture is to insure that topics Steve helped develop (e.g. inclusiveness, diversity, and tolerance) are represented on the program.

Human rights activist, pioneer for racial equality, internationally recognized expert on sports issues, scholar and author Richard Lapchick is often described as “the racial conscience of sport.” He brought his commitment to equality and his belief that sport can be an effective instrument of positive social change to the University of Central Florida where he accepted an endowed chair in August 2001. He remains President and CEO of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport and helped bring the NCAS national office to UCF.

Under Lapchick’s leadership, the DeVos Program launched the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport in December 2002. The Institute focuses on two broad areas. In the area of Diversity, the Institute publishes the critically acclaimed Racial and Gender Report Card, long-authored by Lapchick in his former role as director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. The Report Card, an annual study of the racial and gender hiring practices of major professional sports and college sport in the United States, shows long-term trends over a decade and highlights organizations that are notable for diversity in coaching and management staffs.

In the area of ethics, the Institute monitors some of the critical ethical issues in college and professional sport, including the potential for the exploitation of student athletes, gambling, performance-enhancing drugs and violence in sport. 

The Institute publishes annual studies on graduation rates for all teams in college football bowl games, comparing graduation rates for football players to rates for overall student-athletes and including a breakdown by race. The Institute also publishes the graduation rates of the women’s and men’s basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament as March Madness heats up.

Lapchick helped found the Center for the Study of Sport in Society in 1984 at Northeastern University. He served as Director for 17 years and is now the Director Emeritus. The Center has attracted national attention to its pioneering efforts to ensure the education of athletes from junior high school through the professional ranks. The Center's Project TEAMWORK was called "America's most successful violence prevention program" by public opinion analyst Lou Harris. It won the Peter F. Drucker Foundation Award as the nation's most innovative non-profit program and was named by the Clinton Administration as a model for violence prevention. The Center and the National Consortium for Academics and Sports created the MVP gender violence prevention program that has been so successful with college and high school athletes that the United States Marine Corps adopted it in 1997.

Lapchick also helped form the NCAS in 1985. It is a group of over 230 colleges and universities that created the first of its kind degree completion and community service programs. To date, 29,856 athletes have returned to NCAS member schools. Over 13,700 have graduated. Nationally, the NCAS athletes have worked with more than 17.5 million students in the school outreach and community service program, which focuses on teaching youth how to improve race relations, develop conflict resolution skills, prevent gender violence and avoid drug and alcohol abuse. They have collectively donated more than 19 million hours of service while member colleges have donated more than $300 million in tuition assistance.

Lapchick was the American leader of the international campaign to boycott South Africa in sport for more than 20 years. In 1993, the Center launched TEAMWORK-South Africa, a program designed to use sports to help improve race relations and help with sports development in post-apartheid South Africa. He was among 200 guests specially invited to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration.

Lapchick is a prolific writer. His 15th and 16th books were published in 2010. Lapchick is a regular columnist for and The Sports Business Journal. He has written more than 550 articles and has given more than 2,800 public speeches.

Before Northeastern, he was an Associate Professor of Political Science at Virginia Wesleyan College from 1970-1978 and a Senior Liaison Officer at the United Nations between1978-1984. Richard is the son of Joe Lapchick, the famous Original Celtic center who became a legendary coach for St. John's and the Knicks. He is married to Ann Pasnak and has three children and two grandchildren.

Learn more about the Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sport.