For any student seeking to work in the sports industry, it is important to gain experience that goes beyond the classroom. This page highlights some of the opportunities that exist for students in the MSU Sport Administration and Sport Studies programs to gain practical experience in the management of sport. These opportunities include professional road trips, a guest speaker series, and work with events such as the TEAMS Conference, True South Classic, and Special Olympics. For additional information about program news and events, check us out on Facebook or Twitter. Also, you can find alumni updates and other program information in our latest newsletter.
Professional Road Trips
Professional road trips provide students with a unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about the operations of a professional sport franchise by meeting with key figures in the industry. Recent professional road trips include the following:
- The trip to Memphis, TN included a tour of the FedEx Forum and meetings with personnel from the Grizzlies organization, capped off by attending the Grizzlies' game against the Dallas Mavericks.
- The trip to Birmingham, AL allowed students to visit with executives from the Birmingham Barons (AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox), as well as SEC and ESPN Regional executives.
- The trip to Atlanta provided students with the opportunity to speak with executives from the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech Athletic Association, International Sports Properties, Georgia Dome, Collegiate Licensing Company, the PGA Tour's Tour Championship, the Atlanta Sports Council, Atlanta Braves, and the Atlanta Spirit, which owns the Atlanta Thrashers, Atlanta Hawks and operate Philips Arena.
College Speaker Series
With the College Speaker Series, we seek to bring in leading figures from the sports industry to speak with undergraduate and graduate students. Such events provide an invaluable opportunity for students to hear perspectives and advice from experienced leaders who have achieved success in the industry. Recent speakers include:
- Mark May, ESPN
Mark May -- a former Outland Trophy winning offensive lineman, 13-year NFL veteran, and current college football analyst for ESPN -- paid a visit to the MSU campus for the annual Lamar Conerly Honors Lecture. After his public lecture, May participated in a Q & A session with Sport Studies & Administration students about sport broadcasting, college football, and the sport media industry.
- Phil Savage, Former NFL General Manager
Former NFL general manager Phil Savage spoke to students in the Sport Studies Society about working in the business of professional football. Savage, currently a radio commentator for Alabama football, served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Cleveland Browns from 2005-2008.
- Todd Blackledge, ESPN
Todd Blackledge of ESPN took time to speak with Sport Studies and Sport Administration students about the sport broadcasting industry. Blackledge, a former NFL quarterback, has worked as a college football analyst for more than a decade.
- Mitch Barnhart, University of Kentucky Director of Athletics
The second event of the Fall 2008 semester featured Mitch Barnhart, Director of Athletics at the University of Kentucky. Barnhart, who is currently in his seventh year as AD at Kentucky, spoke to students on a range of topics related to the business of college sport. Prior to joining Kentucky, Barnhart served as athletics director at Oregon State University from 1998-2002 and as senior associate AD at the University of Tennessee from 1994-1998.
TEAMS Conference Partnership
A partnership between MSU Sport Studies & Administration provides free conference registration and lodging for several students to attend the annual Travel, Events, and Management in Sports Conference & Expo. While assisting with the operational side of the event, students also have the opportunity to participate in a conference featuring exhibitors and speakers from organizations such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Fox Sports, ESPN, and more. For more information on the event, visit: www.teamsconference.com.
True South Classic PGA Tour Event
A partnership with MSU Sport Studies & Administration allows a group of students to travel as event operations interns to work at the True South Classic PGA Tour event in Madison, MS. Working directly with tournament operations staff, the students gain a first-hand look behind the scenes of a large-scale, professional sporting event, including experience in such areas as volunteer operations, communication and media, hospitality, event management, and more. For more information on the event, visit: http://www.truesouthclassic.com/.
Each fall and spring, a group of MSU Sport Studies & Administration students are involved in coordinating the Special Olympics Area 6 events held on the Mississippi State University Campus. The fall event includes sports such as basketball and volleyball, and is held in the Sanderson Center on campus. The spring event, meanwhile, includes a variety of track & field activities, and is held at Carl Maddox Track. In addition to providing a rewarding volunteer experience, the Special Olympics provides students the opportunity to be involved first-hand in a variety of roles related to event management as well as fundraising.