Carl Gordon of Los Angeles has launched a petition drive on Change.org to rename a section of Le Conte Avenue, a street adjacent to the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles, as Jackie Robinson Way. Robinson enrolled at UCLA in 1939 and won varsity letters in four sports: football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was the 1940 NCAA long jump champion. After serving in World War II and playing in the Negro Leagues, in 1947, Robinson became the first African American to play Major League baseball in the modern era.
The petition also calls for the regents of the University of California to establish The Jackie Robinson Institute of Sports Business at UCLA. Gordon offers the following explanation for why the institute should be established:
“The pursuit of a professional sports business education is increasingly becoming a viable career choice for students and entrepreneurs — and no wonder, the U.S. sports industry is big business, very big business. According to Sports Business Journal, the sports business industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the United States. Several years ago, the journal conducted a survey of the size of the industry and estimated the sports business industry was at $213 billion per year and growing.
“At present, African Americans and other people of color, as well as women are woefully underrepresented in the sports business industry. By establishing The Jackie Robinson Institute of Sports Business at UCLA, a program within the existing Anderson School of Management, UCLA will emerge as one of the leaders in educating the next generation of professionally educated sports executives who will increasingly be needed worldwide in the 21st century. And among them will be a diverse group of highly educated sports executives of all races and ethnicities.”
For more information on the petition, click here.