Drexel’s sports management program has a heavy hand during a busy sports weekend
As the NFL Draft roars through town this weekend, blocking traffic and catching the attention of the league’s devoted fans, Drexel University’s sports management department will play its usual role: hustling in the behind the scenes of the sports industry.
Senior graduate Emily Tome, who currently works with the Philadelphia Eagles and will continue there after graduation, will be on hand to assist with event operations. Additionally, eight members of the program’s freshman class will serve as volunteers for the three-day event, which begins April 27. After making it through a competitive application process, students will handle event management, analytics, marketing, and public relations during the project, among other responsibilities.
Just two miles from Benjamin Franklin Drive, where the draft is taking place, the 123rd Penn Relays will be underway at Franklin Field — unsurprisingly, with a helping hand from the program. Three sports management students – Carter Caplan, Jake Moss and Margaret Stetson – are currently in cooperation with the University of Pennsylvania’s athletics department, using the sports marketing and business analysis skills learned in the program to help with social media, produce graphics, make recommendations for future events and analyze event performance.
The busy weekend comes as the sports management program redefines its role in the sports industry. Earlier this month, Drexel received the 2017 MVP Award at the Northeast Atlantic Sport Psychology Conference, an honor given to the person or program that has had the most significant impact on the psychology of sport, exercise and performance in the Delaware Valley.
The NASP MVP Award recognized the contributions of two professors from Drexel’s Department of Sports Management and their support of Temple doctoral students, research in areas important to the sports industry, and programming that is national in scope .
Such recognition signals the significant progress the department has made in recent years as it overhauls its curriculum with a view to establishing itself as a destination for those looking to break into the sports world. The change has focused the program more narrowly on modern sports business, where billion-dollar valuations are the norm and what happens in the C-suite gets as much attention as what happens between the lines of hit.
“To be a player in the sports industry, you can be a fan, but you really have to have your eye on the ball in terms of the business world,” said Ellen J. Staurowsky, EdD, a professor in the department. . “In our program, students receive a core curriculum in business that includes law, accounting, economics, governance and regulatory systems, management, marketing, media and social issues, as well as courses specialists focused on the sports industry itself. Our program truly reflects the high stakes nature and complexity of this industry.
The program has grown in prominence lately through a series of remarkable events. Just a few weeks ago, the department partnered with CSN Philly to host a women’s sports forum that drew 18,000 viewers to an online stream. Last year’s College Athletes’ Rights & Empowerment conference featured speakers from industry and academia. In the fall, program lead Joel Maxcy, PhD, spoke on the economics of college sports at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Public Policy Forum. Last month, Drexel participated in the Pennsylvania DECA Conference, a conference that prepares high school students to excel in business, with assistant professor Larry Cohen, JD, lecturing on sports marketing and senior Chris Hampton serving as reviewer for the case study competition. . This month, Staurowsky received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Research from the College Sport Research Institute at the University of South Carolina.
Cohen, who spent 25 years working as an executive with the Anaheim Angels, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and hometown Philadelphia 76ers, led the department’s development of an advisory board. The Board of Directors includes senior executives from each of Philadelphia’s major sports teams, national major league offices and more. The advisory board helps guide the department, but all of these connections also serve students directly.
Staurowsky said key in the classroom is the program’s emphasis on case-based educational experience. Every day, classes interpret the biggest sports industry news within the confines of their academic disciplines and discuss how they look from executive offices.
“It’s meant to show our students that if you’re working in this industry, that’s the level of commitment you need,” Staurowsky said. “You can’t wait weeks or months or years to think about these things. You have to do it in a synchronized way and in real time.
Combining this hands-on, hands-on approach with what Maxcy described as “the up-to-date rigor and nature of the courses,” the sports management program is enjoying a moment – and the future is bright.
“Our mission is to be recognized as one of the best programs, if not one of the top two or three in the country,” Maxcy said. “Sports management is young and it’s a place where programs can build their reputation quite quickly. We haven’t been around for very long, about 10 years, but as we progress we will become part of the elite group.