(March 21, 2012) An interesting story on the Knoxville News Sentinel web site, entitled “KTSC, Sports Management Inc. grappling with Hall of Fame options,” caught my eye last week. I think it speaks about the need for a Hall of Fame board to be sure to take its role of oversight seriously. In this case many questions have arisen regarding the previous management and the relationships among the groups that support the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

It seems that the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation (KTSC) and Sports Management Inc. (SMI) had joint roles to play in managing the Hall of Fame, but how those organizations interrelated was the purview of the former executive who led both. Now that the executive has resigned due to concerns about an outsized salary, new executives for both organizations, along with the city and the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, are “untangling a web,” one of the principals said. And, of course, in all this is the question of funding. Knox County has been contributing $150,000 to the operation along with providing expense relief for another $50,000 to close an operating deficit, it is reported. In today’s financial environment one cannot see that continuing.

Another element to the cautionary tale for those thinking of creating a Hall of Fame and Museum appears in the final paragraph – optimistic visitor projections resulting in lower revenue than anticipated. Can you say NASCAR Hall of Fame?

This entire muddle emphasizes the need for transparency in business of Halls of Fame and the need for civic officials, non-profit leaders, and their Boards of Directors to make sure operations and finances are well ordered and open to inspection. Particularly where multiple entities are involved, the chance for confusion or worse is endemic. A proactive stance to put the roles and responsibilities of organizations and individuals up front is imperative.

It is a word to the wise for all to digest this cautionary tale and not be the subject of the next one!

Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. Jack served the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum as Director of Museum and Archives for 9-1/2 years after more than 10 years as a volunteer. More information is available at the firm’s web site. He can be reached at or 518/852-3033.

Jack is a member of the International Sports Heritage Association, who’s 2012 Annual Conference will take place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, RI from October 24 to 26. He is also a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Board of Directors’ Executive Committee. He will become president of the NSCAA in January of 2013.

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