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ESPN Football Experts Kick Off 2014 Speaker Series on January 21

Release Date:  Thursday, December 19, 2013

Charleston, W.Va. – ESPN analysts Merril Hoge and Mark Schlereth will tackle some of the many issues facing the sport of football when the University of Charleston Speaker Series hosts “Under Review: the Future of Football and the NFL” on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in Riggleman Hall’s Geary Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Dow Chemical Company Foundation and is free and open to the public.

UC will host a free autograph session with Hoge and Schlereth prior to the Speaker Series from 4:30-6 p.m. in Riggleman Hall’s Rotunda. Attendees are asked to limit autograph items to one per person.

The discussion, moderated by UC President Ed Welch, will cover an array of topics, including: concussions and the rule changes they have caused; whether college football budgets and coaching salaries out of control; football ticket prices and television’s effect on fan attendance; Super Bowl predictions and more.

Hoge was a four-year starter at Idaho State University, where he set 44 school and conference records and two NCAA records. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1987 and led the team in rushing and receiving four of his first five seasons. Hoge’s career ended while playing for the Chicago Bears in 1993 due to post-concussion syndrome. He has served as an ESPN analyst since 1995, where he currently works with Ron Jaworski on the highly acclaimed NFL Matchup. His first book, Find a Way, was published in 2010 and covers his challenges through life including a battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Schlereth was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1989 from the University of Idaho. The offensive lineman played 12 NFL seasons with the Redskins and Broncos, earning All-Pro distinction in 1997 and winning three Super Bowls (1992, 1998 and 1999). He retired after his 29th knee surgery and 156 games played. Schlereth can be seen across ESPN programming, including NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, and heard on his weeknight national radio show Sedano and Stink. His book, Ready, Set, Play! was released in 2010 and recounts stories by famous athletes, coaches and public personalities and the impact their parents had on them as children.

Each year, the UC Speaker Series brings distinguished speakers and thought-provoking events to Charleston, West Virginia.  Speakers have included astronaut Sally Ride, crusader Erin Brokovich, comedian Dave Barry, White House chef Walter Scheib, Time Magazine editor Nancy Gibbs, and many others.  The Forum on the Future of Energy in 2010 pitted environmentalist Bobby Kennedy against coal magnate Don Blankenship in a debate watched around the world.


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