Did the Drake Group Just Step into the Collegiate Athletics Ring with the Knight Commission?

Nov 18, 2022

The Drake Group has established a new non-profit organization under the fiscal 501(c)(3) sponsorship of the Players Philanthropy Fund – THE DRAKE GROUP EDUCATION FUND.

On the surface, this “better positioned” the Drake Group to shape the discourse on collegiate athletics, similar to the Knight Commission.

Andrew Zimbalist, Drake President explained, “Doing so will enable two important things to happen. First, The Drake Group will be better positioned to focus on its priority mission of influencing Congress and other policymakers, encouraging them to address the serious academic, health, and economic crises in intercollegiate athletics – our primary function as a 501(c)(4) advocacy non-profit organization. Second, given the 2022 success of The Allen Sack National Symposium and our webinar series on critical issues in college athletics, we are moving all of our educational and research assets to the The Drake Group Education Fund (TDGEF) so it becomes our “public education arm” working to influence the public discourse on the need for reform.

We are grateful to the Players Philanthropy Fund (PPF), our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, which will host our new organization until the IRS acts on TDGEF’s application for 501(c)(3) status. This PPF fiscal sponsorship immediately allows all donations and gifts to the TDGEF to be tax deductible and makes the organization eligible for grants from private and corporate foundations.”

The chair of the organization is Michael Driscoll, who said:

“I’m honored to serve as the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Drake Group Education Fund (TDGEF). I’ve been a long-time admirer of the work of The Drake Group’s co-founder Allen Sack and the meticulous work of the organization in assembling fact-based research to support its positions. The Education Fund will work to amplify a public voice that insists on realizing the promise of intercollegiate athletics — the excitement sport brings to the campus and alumni community and the value of a college education. We know we can achieve this end without subjecting athletes to exploitation, discrimination and physical or mental abuse.”

Driscoll’s bio reads as follows:

Driscoll’s career spans 35 years in manufacturing and management; Mike served for more than 10 years as an executive officer in several capacities for Connecticut-based Winchester Electronics, a global leader in the design, development and deployment of high-speed interconnect technology. He was the company President from 2000 through 2006, and President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from 2006 through 2010 and company Chairman until its sale in 2014.

Post Winchester Electronics, Driscoll worked with Connecticut Innovations, the State of Connecticut’s Venture Fund as an Executive in Residence for five and a half years.  In his role at CI Driscoll worked with Connecticut based start-ups helping them develop and implement business strategies, manage their finances and raise capital for continued growth.

Currently, Mike is an Adjunct Professor for the Pompea College of Business at the University of New Haven and its past Director of Internship helping to bring real-world expertise to the classes he teaches.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Roger Williams University and an Executive MBA from the University of New Haven.

He has also completed Executive Management and Leadership Training at Harvard Business School, a Financial Management Certification from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Total Quality Management training at the Deming Institute.”