February 28, 2021

ADU Case Study: Decision Making During A Pandemic

AthleticDirectorU Case Study: Decision Making During a Pandemic

We collaborated with ADU to create a hypothetical case study that accurately describes the uncertainty and difficult decision-making that confronted the majority of athletic directors during the summer of 2020. Developed by former UC Davis AD Kevin Blue, the study’s information is also supplemented with interviews of athletic directors Shawn Heilbron of Stony Brook University and Dan Radakovich of Clemson University. The interviews serve to provide case participants with real-world perspective on how each navigated the same challenges and questions presented in the case while leading their own departments.

Please download and read the case watch the leadership interviews, and consider what you would do if you were in the shoes of Newfound State’s athletics director. If you are interested in additional details and exercises, please download the accompanying teaching notes.



Director of Athletics

In order to keep student-athletes and their parents informed of decisions regarding return to play, AD Radakovich says Teamworks allowed them to update everyone in real-time.

AD Radakovich discusses the importance of working with university staff outside of athletics to drive fiscal and operational decision-making.


Director of Athletics
Stony Brook

While considering financial cuts and staffing shortages required to balance the department’s budget, AD Heilbron prioritized student-athletes to limit the overall impact felt.

AD Heilbron says leaning into technology like Teamworks gave the department a reliable way to communicate updates with specific groups during COVID.

Case studies have become a primary teaching tool in business schools. Students are expected to read and analyze the case before class, and the professor facilitates a discussion about it using an accompanying teaching note which outlines the concepts that the case aims to teach.

Case studies can also be a useful professional development tool for staff in the workplace, and help individuals learn about the problems and decision-making situations that are encountered by people in leadership positions. In addition, case studies are a good opportunity for senior staff to think about how we would handle certain situations that could arise.

AthleticDirectorU advises anyone interested in completing the case study in a group setting to avoid reading the teaching note until instructed by their designated case group leader. If you are completing the case study in a solo setting, then you should read the teaching note after completing the critical thinking exercises presented in the case.

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