The United States Sports Academy is sending a team, led by Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich, to conduct a comprehensive study of Gabon’s sports programs and facilities in its cities and rural areas.

Under its agreement with Gabon, the Academy will assess the current state of facilities, equipment, programs and staff qualifications, as well as other associated aspects of the West Africa country’s national sports effort. Academy representatives will develop appropriate recommendations based on their research and findings.

Academy's Dr. Fred Cromartie (left), Dr. T.J. Rosandich (center) and Betsy Smith (right) prepare for a 10-day field study to assess Gabon's sports program and facilities.

Besides Dr. Rosandich, the team includes Dr. Fred Cromartie, the Academy’s Director of Doctoral Studies, and Ms. Betsy Smith, the Academy’s Director of Continuing Education. They are being joined March 19-27 for field work and data collection by two educators from Gabon.

“Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba understands the importance of developing and engaging the country’s youth and that one of those vehicles is through its national sports programs,” Dr. Rosandich says. “One of the things we look forward to is helping the nation develop meaningful youth sports programs.”

For nearly three years, the Academy and Gabon have planned to undertake the comprehensive study, as well as starting up the institution’s sport education programs there. Those sports efforts were launched in 2010 with the progressive nation that is seen as a promoter of peace and stability in that region of the world. President Bongo, in fact, has served as the United Nation’s Security Council chairman.

A delegation of seven Gabon officials led by the Minister of Education Seraphin Moundounga and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport René Ndémézo’o Obiang visited the Academy in Daphne, Ala., to formalize the agreement in September 2010.

The partnership came about after Dr. Rosandich had a detailed discussion with President Bongo about his vision for sports during an initial visit in March 2010 to Libreville, Gabon’s capital city. In addition, Joe Szlavik, the Academy’s Board of Visitors chairman, has served as the university’s liaison to Gabon and has helped keep the project moving forward.

Already, Dr. Rosandich has undertaken a legacy study on Gabon’s new 40,000-seat Friendship Stadium in Libreville. The stadium was a site of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, which crowned that continent’s soccer champion, Zambia, last year. Dr. Rosandich has done other major sport studies in Africa, including the entire sport complex in Kenya.

Gabon, which has a population of about 1.5 million, has participated in the Olympics since 1972 with its largest delegation being sent to the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games in 1996.

For nearly four decades, the Academy has provided sport education programs to more than 65 countries throughout the world. From the beginning, the Academy’s general mission has been to serve the world as a sport education resource, upgrading sport through programs of instruction, research and service.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit the Academy’s website