Collegiate Consulting is a team-based consulting firm committed to the student-athlete experience and the overall health of athletic departments.
With a proven track record using our extensive database of conference and divisional historical knowledge, our team closely follows current and potential movements and their subsequent effects on all college athletics.
Collegiate Consulting’s priority of strengthening institutional sports programs is at the forefront of our company’s goals, including provided services such as feasibility and benchmarking reports and coaching and administrative searches.
Russell c. Wright
Founder and Managing Director
Russell Wright founded Collegiate Consulting in 2005, following his tenure at FANSonly (now CBS College Sports Online), as collaborative venture with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA); The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) and Strategic Marketing Affiliates (now part of CLC).
Since its founding, Collegiate Consulting has worked with more than 750 institutions, conferences and associations across the NCAA, NAIA, NCCA, NJCAA and CIS and is recognized as one of the leading consulting firms within intercollegiate athletics. In 2012, Collegiate Consulting entered the ticket rights marketplace. When the ticket business was purchased by Learfield in 2015, Collegiate Consulting Ticketing had boasted 20 University clients, including Illinois, Purdue, Wichita State and Rice, generating more than $7.5 million annually in new ticket revenue for its partners.
Within its consulting business, Collegiate Consulting has become a leader in institutional reclassification, assisting 18 institutions with their move to Division II and 20 institutions who reclassified to Division I since our founding. In the past two years, Collegiate Consulting has completed more than 100 projects, ranging from strategic planning, operational reviews, feasibility studies, conference membership, executive search/placement and Title IX/gender equity studies.
During his tenure at online pioneer FANSonly, which during his tenure, was the leading provider of web solutions for intercollegiate athletic departments with more than 250 partners, Wright and his staff were responsible for client acquisition, account management, local corporate advertising, e-commerce and business development. During his tenure, the company grew from 6 to 250 partners.
Mr. Wright earned his B.S. in Management from Clemson University in 1991 and M.S. in Sports Administration from Georgia State University in 1996.
Vice President of Operations & Client Success
Sydney Bina joined the Collegiate Consulting team in August of 2020. During this time, she has worked more than 150 projects. Of these, Sydney has been the project lead on more than half. Projects worked on include Feasibility Studies (Division I, Division II and Sport Expansion), Benchmarking Studies, Executive Searches, and Conference Membership. Projects have included stakeholder interviews at all levels, pro formas and conference analysis.
Prior to her time at Collegiate Consulting, Sydney attended Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and was a member of the Honors Program and softball team. During her time at SIUE, she appeared in 91 games and started 68% of the games behind the plate during her last three years. She is ranked in the SIUE career record books and is one of five athletes to go error free during 100+ defensive chances. She is also ranked in 2018 NCAA record books.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication with minors in Business and Psychology.
Bailley Concatto started with Collegiate Consulting in the Fall of 2022. During her time, she has worked on six Feasibility Studies, one Strategic Plan and one Executive Search. All Feasibility Studies have included conference analyses and data review.
Prior to Collegiate Consulting, Bailley attended Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and was a member of the softball team for five years. As a member of the SIUE Softball Team, Bailley was four-year captain and three-year Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative. She was VP of SAAC for one year and served on the Ohio Valley Conference Championships Cabinet in 2021. In addition, Bailley earned Ohio Valley Conference honors throughout her playing career including All- Newcomer Team in 2018 and Second Team All-Conference in 2022.
She graduated Cum Laude in 2022 and is currently completing her M.S in Marketing Communications at SIUE.
Ben Steinberg joined Collegiate Consulting in November of 2021 while completing his Masters in Sports Administration at Georgia State University. A key component of the Georgia State Sports Administration curriculum is a sports industry internship to coincide with a capstone project. Ben was recommended to join Collegiate Consulting by Dr. Beth Cianfrone for his internship.
After joining the team in 2021 as an intern, Ben worked his way to becoming full-time in March 2022. Within this period, Ben has collaborated and worked on more than 10 different projects, including his capstone; entitled Reclassifying Divisions in College Athletics: The Transition Effects on the University. His study explored the after-effects of Division I transitions for eight different institutions. The data gathered by the study serves as a base for Collegiate Consulting projects concerning Division I transitions.
Ben graduated from Georgia State in the Spring of 2022 with Summa Cum Laude honors. He joins Collegiate Consulting Founder/Managing Director Russell Wright as a graduate of the Georgia State Sports Administration Master’s Program. Post- graduation, Ben has collaborated on more than 30 different projects.
Ben is originally from Decatur, Ga., and attended Georgia College & State University for his B.B.A. in Marketing. An avid trivia player, Ben enjoys quizzing the office on various sports trivia, especially about his favorite teams, The Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, Braves and Atlanta United.
A third-generation Jayhawk, Jenny Silver (nee Oakson) attended the University of Kansas as a recipient of myriad academic scholarships. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism in 2000, she began her career in Chicago at U-WIRE, a CBS College Sports company, as Assistant Editor then News Editor and then ultimately ascending to Managing Editor when she was transferred to California. U-WIRE was a college newswire which featured college news, opinion, entertainment and sports articles as a collective feed, aggregating articles from more than 500 college campuses, including the United State and Canada.
In full, Silver has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and editor. She worked in public relations at CCS/PR which represented Kodak, Hewlitt-Packard and Puma brands. Moving into the political realm, she made a name for herself as a Speech Writer for city and regional candidates. Before joining the cadre at Collegiate Consulting, she was on the editorial team at Tule Publishing, a digital romance novel publisher based in San Clemente, California.
The Overland Park, Kan., native competed in softball for 15 years, both on the amateur and recreational levels. She now lives with her husband in Carlsbad, Calif., where she received a Recognition of Honor as a volunteer for the Foundation of Women Warriors and was selected to be a member of the National Association of Professional Women.
Elliott Charles has worked with Collegiate Consulting for the past three years as a senior consultant, assisting on multiple projects. Charles is currently the Executive Associate Athletic Director at Valparaiso University.
Charles oversees all aspects of Valpo’s external operations and leads the department’s development, donor cultivation and revenue generation efforts. He brings with him a wide range of experiences in intercollegiate athletics, including time as a Division-I Director of Athletics at Chicago State University from December 2019 to April 2022.
Charles has over 16 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics. Prior to his time at Chicago State, he spent two and a half years as an athletics administrator at Clemson University.
Before arriving at Clemson, Charles served as Deputy Director of Athletics at Florida A&M University. He also worked in athletics administration at the University of South Florida, the University of Alabama, Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University and the Mid-American Conference.
A 2013 graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute, Charles holds an MBA from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in sports management from Illinois State University after earning his bachelor’s in business management from the University of South Florida. He also completed a certificate from USF Muma College of Business for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Charles moved to Chicagoland in 2005, has worked at three Division I schools in the Chicagoland area and worked for the Chicago Cubs during the 2008 season. Charles’ wife Stormie is from Calumet City, Ill. and competed in track & field at Thornwood High School (Ill.) and Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill. Charles has three children – daughters Lillian (11) and Ellington (1) and son Langston (7).
Under Charles’ guidance, Chicago State created the Cougar Pride Fund and entered into partnerships with Nike/BSN, BandwagonFanClub, Weiss Hospital and Teamworks/INFLCR. He also brought men’s soccer back to campus and enhanced student-athlete development programming.
Charles oversaw enhancements to Chicago State’s facilities including the installation of the Convocation Center basketball court, creation of an athletics equipment room, renovation of the weight room and Jacoby Dickens Center basketball court. SeatGeek Stadium was established as the home for the Chicago State men’s and women’s soccer teams during his tenure as well.
Scott Farmer led the University of Louisiana at Lafayette athletics program through its finest era. He guided the Ragin’ Cajuns through a transformation that resulted in unparalleled success in the areas of athletics competition, academics, fundraising and increased exposure on the state and national level. In 2013-14, the Ragin’ Cajuns were rated (by CBSSports.com) as the 34th-best athletic program in the country, finishing as the top non-BCS school in the rankings.
During his tenure, football won four consecutive bowl games; women’s basketball claimed consecutive WBI titles; Men’s Basketball participated in the Big Dance; Baseball won three consecutive Conference Championships; and softball participated in the NCAA Tournament advancing to the Super Regionals six
The Federal Graduation Rate for Student-athletes led the Sun Belt Conference and the public institutions in the state of Louisiana for three consecutive years. Farmer played an integral role in establishing the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation. The RCAF raised almost $10 million in 2015. He also helped develop the $115 million Athletic Facilities Master Plan. Farmer has increased (almost tripled) football season tickets from 4,800 to 13,755. For the 15th consecutive season, both baseball and softball led the Sun Belt in attendance.
Farmer completed a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Softball Committee, serving as the chair in 2011 and 2012. From 2012-14, Farmer served on the NCAA Leadership Council. Farmer came to UL Lafayette after eight years at Troy where he served as Senior Associate AD. Farmer was a four-year letterman in swimming at Georgia Southern. He received his BS in 1986 and MS in 1987. Farmer began his career as head women’s swimming coach at Georgia Southern.
Barry Blizzard has over 40 plus years of college athletic experience both on campus and as a conference commissioner in the NCAA and in the NAIA. Prior to joining the WVIAC, Blizzard served as assistant athletic director and sports information director at Bluefield State College for two years and then athletic director at that school for fourteen years before taking over as the fourth commissioner of the WVIAC in 1987, a position he held until the WVIAC ceased operations in 2013.
For the past 26 years, Blizzard has been tournament director of the WVIAC Basketball Championship Tournament which has been held in Charleston, West Virginia since 1960 and is one of the truly outstanding small college championship event in the country. In his years at athletic director at Bluefield State, Blizzard chaired the WVIAC athletic director’s committee on three occasions and served as president of the NAIA national athletic director’s association in 1986-87. Also during his time as athletics director, he served on a special task force to re write the mission and purpose statements of the NAIA.
After moving into the commissioner’s seat at the WVIAC, Blizzard served as president of the NAIA Commissioner Association from 1992-94 and was selected as the NAIA National Athletics Administrator of the Year in 1992. Also while serving as commissioner in the NAIA years of the WVIAC, Blizzard served as NAIA District Eligibility Chair.
Blizzard conducted an intensive research project from 1992-94 to give guidance to the WVIAC Board of Directors on a possible move from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. The result of that
research lead to a move by the WVIAC to NCAA Division II in 1995.
Blizzard is currently the Administrative Coordinator of the NCAA Division II Commissioner’s Association and has joined the staff of Collegiate Consulting based in Atlanta, Georgia. Blizzard received his bachelor's degree from Bluefield State College WV (1974) and continued his studies as a master’s level student at Radford University (VA) where he received his Master of Science degree in 1976. Blizzard has also completed all four levels of the NACDA management institute.