IU Athletics announced Friday a $5 million donation from businessman and IU alumnus Mark Cuban for a first-of-its-kind, student-focused digital broadcast and technology center.
The Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology is expected to make IU the national leader in 3D broadcast and replay, virtual reality and 3D virtual studio technologies. Technologies will be shared between the athletic department and students in various schools at the University. IU Athletic Director Fred Glass said IU will be the first university in the country to use many of these ?technologies.
The Cuban Center will be located on the west side of Assembly Hall. Technologies will begin to be implemented by IU sports teams this upcoming men’s basketball season, but the center is expected to be complete at the conclusion of the Assembly Hall renovations in Spring 2017.
“Mark Cuban’s name is synonymous with innovation, technology, media, and sports,” Glass said. “I cannot imagine a person better suited to be the namesake for, and godfather of, our Center for Sports Media and Technology.”
IU President Michael McRobbie said the 3D replay technology will be advantageous to players and coaches in enabling them to analyze plays and games like never before. He also said the cameras should make events more interesting for spectators and will allow the athletic departments to create videos to aid in recruiting.
Cuban received a ?bachelor of science in management and ?administration from IU’s Kelley School of Business in 1981 and went on to create several technology companies, most notably Broadcast.com, which sold to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion. He now is involved in many companies and appears on the TV show “Shark Tank.”
“Whatever I give to IU, it will only be a fraction of what Indiana University gave to me,” Cuban said.
Cuban said he is always looking for new technologies to give the Dallas Mavericks, the NBA team that he owns, an advantage. He then thought that these technologies that give a professional teams an advantage should be used to give IU a similar gain.
“I’m a geek at heart,” Cuban said. “I try to do things that other people haven’t thought of or hadn’t put together yet.”
Cuban said people had been asking him to donate and put his name on buildings for a long time, but he thought buildings were for, “when you are dying and want people to remember you.” This was an opportunity that excited him. Although he said he did not want his name on it. IU insisted.
“Selfishly, it will be great for IU,” Cuban said, “but even more selfishly, I think it’s going to create a stream of graduates that are going to have a skillset that isn’t seen anywhere else.”
2015 IU graduate and former IU sports broadcaster Will Chukerman also spoke about the new center. He said he was amazed by some of the new features and joked he wants to find a loophole to stay in college so he can use them.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Cuban’s gift for the opening of this state of the art technology center will take Indiana’s sports media department into the next stratosphere,” Chukerman said.
Cuban received a standing ovation during the announcement. Coaches and players from several IU sports teams were in attendance, including IU Coach Tom Crean. Coaches and players took pictures with Cuban afterward.
“I’ve had the privilege to be a part of some very cool things since becoming IU athletic director,” Glass said. “This may be the coolest.”