By Ken Reed

It turns out the Rose Bowl does more than host a famous college football bowl game.

In August of 2020, the Rose Bowl created the Rose Bowl Institute (RBI) to promote sportsmanship, citizenship and leadership through a variety of educational programs, dialogues and awards.

The Rose Bowl Sportsmanship Initiative champions the value of sportsmanship in all aspects of sports, and in society more broadly. The Institute also hosts a series of dialogues to address issues of race and sports. RBI also regularly hosts 20-25 leaders for moderated dialogues which identify critical sports issues and recommend creative yet practical solutions. In addition, the Institute has women in sports initiatives and sports innovation projects, which seek technological solutions to make sports safer and enhance performance.

The Rose Bowl Institute recently paired with the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program to host a dialogue focused on the pros and cons of competition.

“Participants offered a variety of experiences showing the value of competition in sports and business,” said Charlie Firestone, Rose Bowl Institute President. “At the same time, they saw a need for more focus on fairness, transparency and empathy in both domains.”

The Rose Bowl Institute also recently launched a “Sportsmanship as Citizenship” civic literacy program. The purpose of the program is to interest American youth in becoming good citizens on the field and in their communities. The project sends accomplished athletes to high schools to promote the value of sportsmanship and show students the parallels between good sportsmanship and good citizenship.

Sports organizations can do a lot of good in society — on the playing field and beyond — when win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) mentalities aren’t the primary drivers.

The Rose Bowl and its Rose Bowl Institute are proof of that.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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