Before Edward Scott became an all-conference outfielder and an Academic All-American at Albany, before he was named to a post overseeing the welfare of hundreds of student-athletes, Scott's mother made clear that there wouldn't be one without the other. Academics before athletics, she said. If he wanted to play, he needed A's.
Scott learned this early. He recalled being the youngest member of a Little League all-star team when his mother got ahold of his school grades. He'd gotten A's — and, yes, some B's. His mother steamed over to practice. He was yanked off the field right then and there for his poor marks — "poor" being a relative term.
The all-star team went on to win the championship without Scott. He went on to become a first-generation college student and, as of Tuesday, the newly named athletic director at Morgan State. Scott, 37, who will leave his post at George Washington to take over the department Nov. 7, spoke with The Baltimore Sun this week about his experience and his plans for the Bears.
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Why was moving to Morgan State the right move for you at this point in your career?
I think it came down to timing and circumstance. As an aspiring athletic director, I've been involved in other searches, but I just felt that Morgan had the right fit, as far as for my skill set. I feel like I can go in and do some things academically, compliance-wise, that they need while still growing as a rather young leader on the external side, as far as fundraising and external relations. So I felt that it was a good fit there.
And then, most importantly, I believe in Morgan's values. The opportunity to provide access to higher education to young men and women and use athletics as a way to prepare them for their future for me is what it's all about. And I think Morgan gives me the opportunity to do that.
How will your experience with eligibility and academics help Morgan off the field?
My path is a little different than a lot of today's athletic directors that have come from the fundraising side. In particular, for me, I've started out in academics and student services, so I was around when they first started the [Academic Progress Rate], so I've seen it from its inception to where it is today, on the second iteration.
As far as academics, I've had experience working with high-level teams at Louisville. I've worked with football at Albany. ... So I understand how you have to situate the academic culture in order to be able to put our student-athletes in a position to be successful. So I'm very confident, based on my track record of dealing with academics and compliance.
And then also going through a difficult investigation that I have at George Washington, I think, has given me a lot of experience in dealing with compliance-related issues as well.
How did your involvement with George Washington's basketball situation affect your candidacy and the interview process?
President [David] Wilson, the one thing I've really enjoyed about him through the process is, he's very candid, very up-front, so we had a conversation about the George Washington basketball investigation. And then I put him in touch with the provost here at GW, Forrest Maltzman, who's overseeing the investigation. ...
During the course of the investigation, I had to work closely with Provost Maltzman while I was overseeing the basketball program — took the team to Japan for 15 days during the investigation, was the only senior administrator. So I think President Wilson went through his normal vetting process, but I think he spent a little extra time making sure that I was clean as far as the George Washington basketball investigation went.
And I know for sure that President Wilson and Provost Maltzman here at GW had a pretty good conversation about my candidacy. Beyond that, I didn't ask either gentleman what they talked about. I just know that President Wilson was satisfied with the information he received from the provost here at GW.
How will you approach Wilson's wish to explore adding men's and women's lacrosse as varsity programs?
Like anything else, I think the first thing is, we have to look at the feasibility of adding a men's or women's lacrosse program. So that involves Title IX implications. It involves funding, facilities. So there's a lot of pieces that go into it. I would happily research it, but at the same time, the conversations I plan to have with President Wilson are making sure that we're doing the very best we can for the teams that we currently have in our portfolio at Morgan before we take on more.
I believe that my philosophy wherever I've been, and it will be the case at Morgan, is that we have to be really good at what we do as opposed to stretching ourselves too thin and being mediocre at a lot of different things. So I'd like to get my arms around what we have, how we're resourced, what the expectations are for those programs that I'll have. And then I'd be happy to entertain the option of adding men's or women's lacrosse — in particular, because of the success that lacrosse has had at Morgan State.
And then the other big piece for me, having worked with women's lacrosse at Binghamton and overseeing here at George Washington, is that we're in the hotbed of lacrosse for the entire country as far as Maryland and the Baltimore area's concerned. So those are other factors we'd have to consider.
Could one lacrosse program be added without the other, or would they be a package deal?
From what I know, I don't believe it would have to be a package deal. Just from the brief conversations I had during the interview process, I believe, at this point, actually adding women's lacrosse would be a better situation for Morgan just because of what I know about the Title IX numbers. And now, not having all the specifics, I think women's lacrosse is probably, like I said, would equal out the number of opportunities for student-athletes. But I would look at both programs and see.