UConn Hosts New Sports Analytics Symposium

The UConn Sport Management Program co-sponsored a sport symposium this fall, which was covered by UConn Today.

“Our faculty has expertise directly applicable to sports analytics,” says Yan. “In the future, as our impact grows, the conference will also provide a platform for the sports industry to recruit our students.”

McGarry Receives Highest Honor in Academic Field of Sport Management

“This past summer, the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) formally recognized Neag School Professor Jennifer McGarry as the 2019 recipient of its most prestigious honor: the Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award. The Zeigler Award, the highest distinction one can earn in the academic field of sport management, acknowledges significant contributions to the field in terms of scholarship, research, leadership, and peer recognition.” Read the full Neag School of Education article here.  Also available from UConn Today.

Staying in Storrs: SPM Alumnus on Networking and NCAA Rules

The University of Connecticut’s Department of Educational Leadership is fortunate to have well-connected alumni who continue to work with the university post-graduation or who have returned after years of work in diverse professional settings. The “Staying in Storrs” series highlights our talented EDLR program alumni and the work they are currently doing with UConn. This feature focuses on the Sport Management Program.

Eric Schneider headshotEric Schneider, the current Assistant Athletic Director for the University of Connecticut’s Athletic Compliance Department, is a proud UConn Sport Management alumnus. Schneider, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management returned to Storrs in November of 2017 to work at his alma mater. 

During his time as an undergraduate student at UConn, Schneider took full advantage of the Sport Management Program, both inside and outside of the classroom, which broadened his perspective on sports. His interest in NCAA rules and interpretations grew tremendously during this time. In the sport world, it’s important to look at the whole picture and know what goes on behind the scenes – from the individual player experience to the individual fan experience. Schneider says,

“Overall the Sport Management Program exposed me to all different levels of sports.” 

Schneider believes that it is important to work with experts in all different levels of sports. He says that it allows for collaboration and is a way to see how the rules are interpreted differently.

After graduating from UConn, Schneider went on to earn a Master’s degree in Sport Management from Adelphi University, where he continued to gain valuable experience. He took on several coaching jobs, which he says he enjoyed as they gave him the opportunity to learn about sports from an NCAA and legal angle. He then completed a variety of impressive internships, and worked for the NCAA in its Academic and Membership Affairs division.

In the fall of 2017, Schneider returned to UConn because of the impactful role he felt the Sport Management Program had on his success. He credits the program for providing exposure and preparation for the professional world which helped him identify the trajectory of his career path.

In his position, he is responsible for answering questions when it comes to rule interpretations, so having an idea of the possible ways the rules can be (mis)interpreted allows him to not only give better answers, but to also improve the educational materials he provides to the athletic staff. Schneider expresses that he loves his job because of the many roles he has which include: ensuring that staff, coaches, and athletes are following NCAA rules and integrity, verifying eligibility standards for student-athletes, and creating educational materials to inform the athletic community about University rules and regulations. 

Schneider’s advice to aspiring sport professionals is to focus on networking. Networking in the sport industry is crucial to being successful, he says, because it is the best way to expose yourself to new opportunities. Forming connections and building relationships with a broad network of people in the field is something that Schneider did as a student and is something he credits to where he is today.

Courses and Curriculum: EDLR 3345

UConn’s Department of Educational Leadership (EDLR) offers a rich and diverse curriculum that prepares both undergraduate and graduate students to be educational leaders in our ever-changing world. The “Courses and Curriculum” series highlights innovative courses within EDLR’s catalog that are changing the education game for the better.

In EDLR 3345: Financial Management in the Sport Industry, taught by Professor Laura Burton, Ph.D., is an undergraduate course which provides Sport Management majors with an understanding of the financial principles relevant to the sport industry. The course examines basic financial concepts and issues related to sport, and offers an overview of ownership, taxation, financial analysis, feasibility and economic impact studies within the sport industry.

Dr. Laura Burton in the front of a classroom during SPM meeting
One of the biggest challenges Burton says especially with a course that is math-related is helping students get over the “math-hating mentality.” - Dr. Laura Burton

Burton identified a need for this content and added the course to the curriculum, five years ago.  While Burton’s research is centered around leadership in sport organizations and gender issues in sport, EDLR 3345 pushed her outside of her traditional area of expertise, offering a great opportunity and challenge. Having an applied math-based course helps to answer real-world questions within the sport industry, one that the students are benefiting from.

As sport organizations attempt to create a more inclusive space, in regards to social and gender identity, people in higher level positions are faced with some important questions. In what ways can professional sport organizations maximize revenue? And who benefits? What communities are disadvantaged? Burton explains how not only do students consider the financial impact of budget cuts within the sport industry, for example, but the social impact as well. Such a fundamental course provides students with the tools to build on their understanding of budgets and further develop these ideas in other related and unrelated fields.

By using practical applications and case studies, Burton is able to create real-life scenarios depicting real-life budgeting dilemmas. In one such budgeting case, Burton presents a $40,000 budget cut and challenges her students to make the cut in the most effective manner. The experiment suggests that such a cut would leave athletes without scholarships, slash salaries, and limit job availability.  

One of the biggest challenges Burton says especially with a course that is math-related is helping students get over the “math-hating mentality.” Burton admits that there was a lot that she had to learn and continues to learn alongside her students. Within education, it’s easy to experience feelings of frustration and anxiety when learning something new, but she continues to push herself and her students and says,

“Sometimes we forget what it feels like to be the student and sit in the seat.”

Joseph Cooper Releases New Book: From Exploitation Back to Empowerment

The Neag School of Education covers Sport Management’s Dr. Joseph Cooper, who recently released a new book, From Exploitation Back to Empowerment: Black Male Holistic (Under)Development Through Sport and (Mis)Education which was inspired by his research on the intersection between sport, education, race, and culture and the impact of sport involvement on the holistic development of Black male athletes.  Read the full story here.