A winning combo: Rice sports management students win trophy and get real-world experience | Rice News | News and Media Relations

A team of four sports management students from Rice University won the inaugural Commission for Accreditation in Sports Management (COSMA) Case Studies Cup, as part of the organization’s annual conference last month by the University of Houston.

Senior Devin Amodio and juniors Thomas Avalos, Christa Westheimer and JoVoni Johnson-McCray beat 10 other teams to take the win.

Student teams were given a case study asking them to analyze the philanthropic efforts of three Houston professional sports teams: Major League Soccer’s Dynamo, NBA’s Rockets and Major League Baseball’s Astros. Students were expected to determine best practices and identify industry leaders while recommending programs teams could undertake to elevate their efforts.

Chosen based on their interest in sports philanthropy, Rice’s students created a 20-minute presentation and answered questions posed by the judges, who were executives from all three Houston teams.

“It was a really cool experience to showcase all of our findings that we had researched individually and as a team,” Westheimer said. “We knew (the judges) weren’t just anybody, they were the people who would implement our ideas.”

Westheimer was thrilled to know that her team’s work could influence organizations’ philanthropic efforts.

“I think (the judges) were very impressed that the team was able to come up with new ideas for projects that the teams were already working on,” she said.

Diane Crossey, a professor of sports management practice, oversaw the team’s preparation for the competition. She said the Houston Dynamo leadership group was so impressed that they were going to involve the students in future projects.

“This level of excellence is what we expect of our students, and we are very proud of this team,” Crossey said.

More information about the Department of Sports Management is available online at https://sport.rice.edu .

Photo of the COSMA Cup won by Rice Sports Management students.

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