By Kevin Greer
Lakeside Communications Manager

Clark Kellogg is one of sports’ most recognizable analysts. He has been covering college basketball with CBS Sports since 1993 and has been part of 26 Men’s NCAA Tournament “Selection Shows.” He was also a game analyst for five Final Fours and championship games. Kellogg makes his first visit to Lakeside and brings his motivating and uplifting style as the Keynote Speaker in Hoover Auditorium on Tuesday, June 13 at 8 p.m.

At Ohio State University, Kellogg was All-Big Ten and the Conference’s Most Valuable Player in 1982 and earned All-American honors. He was drafted in the first round by the Indiana Pacers, where he played for five seasons, was a broadcaster on both radio and television for 23 years and spent four years in the front office working in player relations before leaving the franchise in 2014. He was inducted as part of the charter class of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Kellogg took time out of his busy schedule doing voiceovers for the popular “NBA 2K” video game to talk with The Lakesider about his career, the state of college basketball and how his first visit to Lakeside likely won’t be his last.

Have you ever been to Lakeside?
Clark Kellogg: I have not. I’ve been to Chautauqua New York. I’m very much looking forward to my maiden voyage to Lakeside, if you will.

Do you have any plans when you get to Lakeside?
Kellogg: It’s going to be a quick trip for me because of the nature of my schedule. I’ll have an opportunity to explore a little bit and perhaps make a return visit with my wife. I’ve heard really wonderful things about Lakeside and this visit will set the groundwork for a future visit. It seems like there’s an awful lot of value that takes place there.

What are you going to talk about in your keynote?
Kellogg: I tend to marinate on a few things and usually don’t get crystallization on exactly what I’ll share until the day before or the morning of an evening presentation. I’m thinking about gratitude, engagement and self-care. Those are the themes that are rolling around in my head. Gratitude to me is a foundational theme for life, and it certainly will be part of what I share. Three G’s: gratitude, generosity and doing good. I’ll also share a bit of my journey. Sports and basketball have been a huge theme in my life and continue to be in my role as a broadcaster. I have a pretty good place in the history of Ohio basketball from high school and college. I’ll touch on some of my personal story, which is hard to do without including basketball.

How often do you do speaking engagements?
Kellogg: I typically do anywhere from 6-15 a year. I’m involved with Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two sports ministries. I’ll do some corporate motivational speaking and speak more informally to small groups of aspiring athletes, leadership teams and companies. I’m always visiting with folks off the record to be mutually edifying to receive fuel from them and to give fuel back to them in a positive way.

What are you doing in the offseason?
Kellogg: I stay comfortably occupied. I serve on a corporate bank board and I’m the Chair of the Columbus Foundation Governing Committee, which is a huge community foundation in Columbus. We have three adult children and a fourth grandchild on the way, perhaps by the time I get to Lakeside. I’m an avid golfer. I like to travel with my wife, and we try to do a family vacation each year. We enjoy the offseason, but I’m not idle. I’ve been a big part of the NBA 2K video game franchise since 2009. (CBS and Turner broadcaster) Kevin Harlan and I are the longest-tenured announcers of the game. I usually do anywhere from 30-60 hours of recording, from May-July. There’s a full generation that knows me first from that game. Our kids are in their 30s and they know me more as their dad first and foremost, but in terms of basketball, just as an announcer and then hearing stories about my playing exploits from other people. A lot of the folks who love playing the video game connect me to that before they do playing or at CBS.

How are college and pro basketball different now from when you played?
Kellogg: The game has evolved with the 3-point line. That’s been a huge game-changer between the lines. The athleticism of the players universally is much greater. There were always great athletes who played, but now the athleticism of most players is really on a scale of 1-10 in that 9-10 area. I mean, you’ve got small guys dunking with ease, big guys handling the ball and shooting from deep. The strength and training that athletes are able to embrace over the last 25-30 years has really changed the physicality. Then you factor in social media, the technology age, the internet age, the scrutiny, the 24/7 nonstop unrelenting news cycle and exposure cycle, which cuts both ways and makes us aware of more. Some of it is quite bad in terms of influence, impact and distraction. You can’t get away from the business component of it. The money at the collegiate and pro levels is just ridiculously astronomical. It’s driven by the uniqueness of the property. It’s live drama, unpredictable and a culture and world where sports competition is highly esteemed. Therefore, networks and others value that monetarily and the players and coaches and others in the arena of sports benefit greatly from that.

What are your thoughts about the transfer portal and name, image and likeness (NIL)?
Kellogg: The ability to transfer without penalty is something that I endorse. There are a number of legitimate reasons to transfer, but I find that in many cases, kids are transferring for reasons that aren’t ideal. Freewill and choices are human rights, so how you come to your decisions and choices are personal. I do know that there’s a general lack of resilience in our culture, particularly as it relates to young athletes. When the headwinds get tough, let’s go somewhere else. I don’t like that mindset. You should be allowed, maybe not endlessly, but at least once in your career to transfer without penalty of sitting out. It could be modified, I think, and that would be good for all involved.

Then you’ve got the other element around NIL and that not being what it was intended to be. NIL was intended to not penalize student-athletes for being on scholarship. Other students not on scholarship could monetize their unique skills and abilities or their name, image and likeness for their good financially. There was really no reason that student-athletes shouldn’t be allowed to do that as well. It was long overdue. It’s off the rails and running amok now because there aren’t any real universal standards and regulations about it. It can create an environment where in many cases it feels and looks like pay-to-play. Kids and their parents sometimes are thinking about not only the grass being greener somewhere else, but real green being greener.

But we also know education is one of the surest, most proven ways to elevate one’s life because there are multiple dimensions to education. We should be thinking about every way we can make that available, meaningful and purposeful in the lives of our student-athletes. From the time they get on campus to whenever it is that they leave, how are we educating them and preparing them for citizenship? We should use everything available to do that, and NIL can be part of that equation. To me, that is the sweet spot where we need to be striving to get to. I know there are all kinds of currents working against that, but that’s short-sighted and lazy. With this opportunity, we’ve got to be more vigilant and diligent as leaders, institutions or as broadcast partners. How do we educate these young people through sports in a holistic, meaningful and life-changing way? Because that’s the opportunity we’ve always had, and it’s gotten a bit off the tracks over the decades.

Now that college players are being paid, does that change how you do your job?
Kellogg: No. There’s a difference between college and pro athletes. I have three children who were all Division I athletes, my daughter in volleyball and our boys in basketball. All benefited greatly from the experiences they’ve had as student-athletes. I’ve never lost sight of there being a significant difference. Now there is a business component, and we’re a part of it as CBS and Turner. We are 85-90% of the NCAA budget, based on what we paid for the rights to the Men’s Basketball Tournament. That’s real. We don’t hide from that, but what are we doing to enhance education? There are some things that we’re doing in attempting to do that. So, I don’t approach my work any differently. They’re kids, they’re in their stage of developing. They’re 18-25 years old and are still developing young people. You can be a little harder in your criticism of pros, but there’s still the human component that you have to always keep in mind, and I’m mindful of that whenever I’m talking about college athletes. I always try to do my job with a balanced lens because of where these young people are in their stage of development despite the big business element that’s clearly part of the equation.

Do you have a preference on covering college or pro basketball?
Kellogg: I love where I am right now being part of college basketball. I had a great run with a terrific franchise in the Pacers and particularly in my broadcasting career. I actually am conflicted when I’m not able to watch the women’s tournament as much as I’d like to because I’m so buried in the men’s tournament. I like the WNBA and NBA, but I like where I’m positioned now in terms of my work in the game.

What’s it like doing the Men’s Tournament “Selection Show?”
Kellogg: It’s a special day for all of us, those on air and those behind the scenes. There’s an energy, excitement and anticipation to it that you can’t manufacture. It’s almost the same every year because you just don’t know which teams are going to be where, which games are going to end up being the most memorable, which players are going to emerge and what storylines are going to happen. But that day to reveal that bracket to the sporting world is quite fun. We expanded from 64 to 68 back in 2011, so there’s very little controversy around teams not making the field over the last dozen years. What always is intriguing is what the matchups look like and then ultimately how the performances play out. We get the brackets anywhere from 15-30 minutes before we go on the air, and I don’t usually look at the bracket when we get it. I try to stay away from it until we actually start revealing it on air just as a way to be in sync with the viewers. I tend to react as we go, because I’ve been watching hundreds of games all year and I know a little bit about every team.

Do you keep from looking at the bracket to have the “wow factor” on air rather than before the show?
Kellogg: That’s part of it. It’s a lot of pressure and scrambling around trying to lock into who’s where and which teams got left out in that short time. My energy is better served just relaxing and getting ready to respond to what we see. The other part is it gives me an opportunity not to have any preconceived thoughts and to really trust the homework I’ve done all year, and being able to have something meaningful to say about various teams and different matchups.

What makes the tournament so great?
Kellogg: I think there are a couple of things that make up the secret sauce. It is college, so there is an allegiance and loyalty to alma maters that are amplified come tournament time. If you’ve gone to a school that makes the tournament, whether it’s the 20th time or the first time, you’re excited because it’s your school on the grandest stage in the sport with a chance to make one shining moment. Upsets are guaranteed to happen, you just don’t know where. All that goes on with the fun of the brackets, whether it’s informal pools or online contests, that captivates people that maybe haven’t watched the sport or don’t follow it. There’s competition, drama, unpredictability, tremendous skill and seeing the very best at that particular level. There are human interest stories of people who have emerged by virtue of being exposed through the tournament. There are multiple touch points that are part of March Madness every year and that makes it unique.

You get excited and passionate when broadcasting, but you don’t go over the annoyance line. How do you do that?
Kellogg: Well, I’m just going to trust it as a gift from God. I’ve had people share that with me. I love what I get to do and who I do it with. The game has given me more than I can ever give it, and it’s a way to be connected to people and the game and to glorify God through it. My enthusiasm, passion and love for the game are genuine. I also know my role is minimal. I’ve established a level of credibility, but I’m not indispensable. At some point, somebody else is going to be in that seat, but I want to serve the game and its people and honor God in the process of doing that. I asked that He helped me do that in my unique way and personality. That’s how I approach it and I’ll do it that way as long as I have the opportunity to be in that seat.

What does the future college basketball look like?
Kellogg: We’re in changing times with NIL, the transfer portal and the pressure on coaches. All of that stuff has to be dealt with, but I think the game at its core is in a good place. How games are officiated continues to be modified. Rule changes that are instituted and being considered have helped the game. We’ve got to try to reel in some of these peripheral elements that are part of it, continue to keep the student-athlete total experience in view with education being the driver of that, and I think we can do it. I’m hopeful that those in leadership that are part of the game, part of its ecosystem, can be committed to keeping it elevated and trying to improve it in every way.

Is there anything that can be done to make college basketball better?
Kellogg: I think the game would be better if we reduced the schedule by three or four games and had a uniform starting date. The conference realignment is a problem because now some of the schools are so spread out that travel is a real challenge. Trying to keep education in the middle of that is challenging. Starting the season around Thanksgiving would be ideal and could be healthy. I like where the tournament is as far as the number of teams that qualify. But I do know we’re probably going to see some more conference realignment, and we may end up with five or six super conferences, but the NCAA Tournament still provides the opportunity for non-power conference teams to emerge and be successful.