Between Patriarchy and Western Secularism: Islamic Feminism a new approach in Sport Management

By Umer Hussain

Umer Hussain recently defended his Ph.D. dissertation at Texas A&M University. Hussain research focuses upon understanding the intersection of race, religion, and gender in the sporting context. 

One of my Ph.D. colleagues, while arguing how religion is the cause of suppressing women’s rights in sport, underscored, “In the Western popular press, when the word ‘Muslim’ is used, one picture comes into my mind: oppressed women.” These remarks are pervasive to hear for any Muslim residing in Western society. However, as a practicing Muslim from my childhood, I have been told stories of how religion Islam liberated Arab women and gave them equal rights compared to Arab men. During my Ph.D. in sport management, I have also gone through a plethora of literature about Muslim culture. I found some fascinating studies focusing upon decolonizing the current scholarship; however, I have come across numerous studies trying to depict the two billion Muslim population as violent, retrograde, and bizarre. I found that in numerous studies, Western scholars make a wrong implied assumption that two billion Muslims are irrational; that is why they do not question various Islamic traditions. Indeed, Muslim men and women both have challenged various thoughts and transformed religious teachings per modern needs. However, the scholarship detailing Muslim world issues is highly tilted towards a Western ideology or, in other words, in imperialist and colonial views.

Likewise, the realm of sport management has primarily been established in North America. Thereby, scholars of Western origin have broadly researched the Muslim world and Muslim women. Hussain and Cunningham (2020) have underscored that Western sport management scholars investigate Muslim women living within and outside the Muslim world via a Western ocular. Scholars of Western origin homogenize Muslim women as weak and dominated subjects. Hussain and Cunningham (2020) also argued that the Western researchers’ primary thesis to understand Muslim women’s issues is grounded in White feminism. The White feminists advocate for global sisterhood; thus, they try to homogenize women as one singular entity. Hussain and Cunningham (2020) claimed that using White feminism as a theoretical approach delimits understanding of Muslim culture and further perpetuates systematic marginalization. For example, while researching Pakistani Muslim women, Hussain and Cunningham (2020) found that Pakistani Muslim women athletes had a strong anathema against the Western sporting paradigm and Western women participating in sport. Thus, the White feminism basic thesis is flawed and does not resonate with women’s heterogeneous experiences worldwide. Therefore, a new theoretical approach is warranted, especially to understand Muslim women’s issues in sport.

Some sociologists have advocated using Islamic feminism as a theoretical approach to understanding Muslim women’s issues (Badran, 2009, 2017; Bahlul, 2000). For example, Badran (2009, 2017) argued that Islamic feminism originated from feminist discourse within the Quran (Holy Book of Muslims) can offer a new means to explore Muslim culture. Islamic feminism calls for gender equality for women and men in the totality of their existence in the light of the Quran (Badran 2009, 2017). Islamic feminists defy both the patriarchal system inside the Muslim world and Western secularism (Bahlul, 2000). Islamic feminists reject the notion of being either religious or secular but argue for women empowerment per Quranic teachings (Badran, 2009, 2017)

In sport management scholarship, researchers have employed various theoretical frameworks to understand Muslim women’s issues. However, there remains a paucity of research using Islamic feminism as a theoretical perspective to empower Muslim women. Following the Islamic feminism approach, researchers can explore how gender segregation can enhance Muslim women’s sport participation and empower them. Islamic feminism can help scholars move beyond focusing on Muslim women’s clothing issues and explore other means through which Muslim women’s sport inclusion can be enhanced. For instance, the Islamic feminism approach can help researchers explore how Muslim women’s sport consumption and fandom could increase. Hence, Islamic feminism can be a new theoretical approach to enhance Muslim women’s sport inclusion. 

References

Badran, M. (2009). Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences (Original ed.). Oneworld Publications.

Badran, M. (2017, August 8). Islam’s other half. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2008/nov/09/islam-women

Bahlul, R. (2009). On the Idea of Islamic Feminism. Journal for Islamic Studies20(1), 33–62. https://doi.org/10.4314/jis.v20i1.48391

Hussain, U. & Cunningham, G. B. (2020). “These are ‘Our’ sports”: Kabaddi and Kho-Kho women athletes from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. International Review for the Sociology of Sport (IRSS). Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690220968111

Teaching During a Pandemic: Tips And Tricks

By Ashley Ryder (Doctoral Candidate), Shea Brgoch (Doctoral Candidate), Evan Davis (Doctoral Candidate), and Derek Walton (Doctoral Student). All authors are from The Ohio State University Sport Management Program. Any questions can be directed toward Ashley Ryder on Twitter @AshleyNRyder

Teaching is a challenge. Teaching effectively is an art. Teaching during COVID-19 is… interesting, and we are all learning on the fly. Dealing with the loss of routine, a shift to online learning, and larger workloads has been tricky not only for us, but for students as well (Akyildiz, 2020). As instructors, we must empathize with students and help them succeed withinside the classroom. One way to help students is to make classrooms more inviting by utilizing online resources.

In the era of COVID-19, online learning has become the norm. Instructors can use online resources to promote student learning and engagement and help reduce stress. Whether teaching in-person, a mixture of in-person and online, or completely and especially online, there are several tools and strategies that can be implemented in your classroom to assist with student learning. We discuss some of them below. 

Learning Management System

One common online resource that is overlooked and underutilized is the learning management system (LMS). Faculty should embrace the movement towards maximizing their use of communication through online software and technology such as Canvas by Infrastructure or Blackboard, to ensure consistency and ease of access. This can be as simple as using an LMS’s “homepage” as the focal point of communication that serves as a one-stop shop for accessing course information for a given week, for example, including a to-do list (see the images below). Individuals are spending increased time on smartphones and future trends are leaning towards mobile devices to guide learning (Docebo, 2018).  Utilizing LMS platforms is advantageous because they are mobile accessible and allow students to quickly check course information without wireless internetat their own convenience (Bouchrika, 2020). 

Additional Online Learning Tools

Beyond the provided LMS system from your university, Padlet is an interactive digital board that can be accessed by instructors and students. Its features include the ability to post images, links, videos, and documents. All responses can be anonymous or require a name. Additional features include likes, comments, and thumbs up/down.  

Another digital tool option is Nearpod, a digital platform that allows instructors, in-person or virtual, to make their presentations interactive by incorporating features such as quizzes, polls, videos, and collaborate boards. The software is web-based and contains two modes: live mode (compatible with Zoom) or self-paced mode.  

Document Sharing

A discussion technique facilitated through the rotation of stations with guiding statements or questions with a collective dialogue to follow

Gallery Walk

With the shift to virtual learning, many discussion-based activities that are traditionally used in in-person classes can be modified for the online environment. For example, a gallery walk (i.e., discussion technique facilitated through the rotation of stations with guiding statements or questions with a collective dialogue to follow) or jigsaw (i.e., team-based; each member becomes a subject matter expert in one of 4 areas selected from current course material and teaches it to others) can be done by directing students to complete their sections in OneNote or a Google Doc (Serc, 2018; Van Amburgh et al., 2007).

Time Management

Outside of online resources, it is important to be empathetic and flexible with students as they learn to manage their time better. For example, allowing students to select their own assignment due dates and/or extending assignment due dates can give students greater flexibility in managing their overall course workload. Another way to help students is to check-in with them and inquire about their wellbeing throughout the semester. These check-ins can help identify areas students are struggling with, so they may be provided with the necessary support to adjust and adapt as needed.  

At the end of the day, nothing in COVID-19 is easy. Instructors and students are learning on the go and trying their best to simulate an in-person learning environment in a virtual world. During these challenging times, online resources can provide flexibility, and help ease the burden of teaching and learning in the COVID-19 environment.  

References

Akyildiz, S. T. (2020) College students’ views on the pandemic distance education: A focus group discussion. International Journal of Technology in Education and Science, 4(4), 322-334.

Bouchrika, I. (2020). List of learning management systems for schools and universities. Retrieved from https://www.guide2research.com/research/list-of-learning-management-systems-for-schools-and-universities

Docebo. (2018). E-Learning Trends 2019. Retrieved from 

https://kometa.edu.pl/uploads/publication/634/550a_A_Docebo-E-Learning-Trends-2019.pdf?v2.8.

Serc. (2018). What is gallery walk? Retrieved from https://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/what.html

Van Amburgh, J.A.V., Devlin, J.W., Kirwin, J.L., & Qualters, D.M., (2007). A tool for measuring active learning in the classroom. American Journal of Pharmaceutical  Education, 71(5), 1–8.


A Foreign Territory of Opportunities: Experiences of a Sport Management International Student

Nina is a second-year PhD student at the University of Louisville. Her research focuses on establishing and maintaining sport partnerships in parasports and developing successful adaptive sports programs. A German Native, Nina is a Fulbright alumnus and has lived, studied, and worked in four countries.

November 14, 2017 – the day my life changed forever, and my biggest dream came true. I was in Arnhem, Netherlands, a senior in the International Business and Management Studies program at the Arnhem Business School. I was delighted to see an email informing me that I had been awarded the 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholarship. I opened the email and read it over and over again because I simply could not believe it. A few sleepless nights later (because I was so excited), I received another email from Fulbright Germany informing me that I had been chosen to pursue a master’s degree in Sport Administration at the University of Louisville (UofL). My journey of studying in the U.S. began here and continues to this day.

On my first day at UofL, I realized I was the only foreign student in the program. As a German who  completed my undergraduate degree with students from various regions of the world in both the Netherlands and Hong Kong, this was foreign territory to me. Classes were incredibly challenging in the beginning because I was unfamiliar with most of the sport examples discussed. I spoke with my professors and classmates and informed them that I could not relate to the class content with these foreign (to me) examples. That turned the tide and my professors and peers took extra time to expand and explain the examples used in class. Soon I was learning about sport in the U.S. and sharing my experiences of sport and life in other countries. Embracing the American sports world outside the classroom, I found myself on the court at United Centre, home of Michael Jordan and the famed Chicago Bulls, volunteering at the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament! I was one of 72,000 people in the stadium and made lifelong friends through this experience.

At the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament in Minneapolis

To immerse myself in the American sport culture and make the most of my time in the U.S., I decided to pursue an internship with the development department (Cardinal Athletic Fund) of Louisville Athletics. This internship gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the best development directors in the nation. I was able to work during football games and men’s basketball games, which provided me with a once in a lifetime experience and incredibly valuable connections. If I can give one advice to foreign students, it is to network. And guess what, turns out an accent is always going to be a conversation starter!

While my Fulbright scholarship fulfilled my lifelong dream of studying in the U.S. and pursuing a degree in Sport Administration (a goal from 5th grade), it was not the end of my journey in America. My professors opened doors for me that I did not think existed for a first-generation college student. Thanks to Dr. Mary Hums, I was able to stay at UofL, and am now pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, specializing in Sport Administration. My doctoral degree is funded by a University Fellowship.

Dr. Mary Hums and I during my master’s graduation ceremony, May 2019. She is my advisor and will be my dissertation chair

It is said that the U.S. is the country of opportunities, and I can confirm, that for me, it has been. Since starting my doctoral program, I have gained opportunities to teach and be involved in research projects. I have taught classes in Sport Finance, International Sport, and Issues and Ethics in Sport. This has given me valuable experience in lecturing, designing and grading assignments, and learning from student feedback. I have been involved in several research activities, such as preparing a grant proposal for International Sport Programming, and a study with my peers in the doctoral program examining college adaptive sport sponsorship and the role of cause-related marketing. Being involved with these projects has given me new skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods, grants and report writing, and working as part of a team. I have attended and presented at a variety of academic conferences, which has improved my ability to present in front of an audience and answer questions on the spot. Additionally, I have had the privilege of speaking with middle and high school students in various cities in Kentucky about the importance of intercultural and international exchange.

Speaking to High School students during International Education Week 2018 on behalf of Reach the World and Fulbright

If you are an international student thinking about studying or are currently studying in North America, I urge you to seek opportunities, dream bigger, and work harder because you will be rewarded with an experience unlike any other. To U.S.-based students, educators, and administrators, embrace the knowledge and nurture the talent of your international students. It will not only be valuable to them, but also to you.

Do you have any questions about studying in the U.S., my experiences, and or working with international students? Do not hesitate to reach out to me: nina.siegfried@louisville.edu 

Has sport had its #MeToo moment? Women’s experiences of sexism and sexual harassment in the sport industry

By: Lauren Hindman lhindman@umass.edu | @laurenhindman

Lauren is a doctoral candidate at the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst, where she studies gender and other diversity-related topics in sport organizations. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., she spent nine seasons working in professional sports.

Following both the January 2021 firing of New York Mets general manager Jared Porter over sexually explicit text messages he sent to a woman reporter and the July 2020 reporting of the sexism and sexual harassment experienced by women working with the Washington Football Team, women working in sport organizations took to social media to share their own stories. Moments such as this highlight how common sexism and harassment are for women in the industry, yet their stories quickly fade to the background until the next big scoop arrives, exposing a singular sport organization and attributing the problem to internal issues of organizational culture and leadership (see also: The Dallas Mavericks circa 2018). 

The issue of sexism in and around the sport industry is widespread—“commonly overt yet simultaneously unnoticed,” as Dr. Janet Fink said in her acceptance address for Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award at the 2015 NASSM conference (Fink, 2016, p. 2). Recent research in sport management reveals how women managers, athletes, coaches, journalists, and educators experience sexism and harassment. Some highlights from these studies include: 

Administration: Women sport managers working for men’s professional sport organizations face both intellectual diminishment and physical objectification, causing emotional and professional consequences. Women adopt several strategies, such a minimization and reframing of their experiences, in order to continue working in the industry (Hindman & Walker, 2020).

Athletes: An analysis of media coverage and academic literature demonstrated how these sources subject women athletes in the United States to gendered microaggressions, a subtle form of bias, through assuming that they are inferior to men, objectifying their bodies, and restricting them to certain roles based on their gender (Kaskan & Ho, 2016). Another study deemed media coverage of women’s sports “gender-bland” sexism, avoiding overt sexism while still presenting women’s sports as “lackluster” compared to men’s (Musto et al., 2017).

Coaches: A recent study found that women swimming coaches in the NCAA face sexism that limits their career mobility, creates job dissatisfaction, and contributes to women’s underrepresentation by pushing them to leave the field (Siegele et al., 2020). In addition, research reveals how women of color coaches must navigate multiple barriers created by the intersectional issues of racism and sexism (Carter-Francique & Olushola, 2016).

Journalists:  Research has shown that sexist views lead people to judge women sport journalists as less credible (Mudrick et al., 2017). Meanwhile, women journalists are pressured by their employers to wear revealing clothing to appeal to male audiences, but then face “slut-shaming” for dressing too provocatively (Harrison, 2019).

Academics: Women faculty members in sport management programs too report sexism and sexual harassment from both men and women colleagues, ranging from subtle discrimination to hostile harassment (Taylor et al., 2018). Women faculty members also experience “contrapower” harassment (harassment from individuals in positions of less power), facing comments about their appearance and assumptions that they don’t know anything about sports (Taylor et al., 2017).

Studies such as these and others demonstrate the wide-reaching effects of sexism and sexual harassment across sport. Industry leaders should be proactive in addressing this issue, as our recent Journal of Sport Management study revealed that women often do not report sexism to supervisors or human resources personnel (Hindman & Walker, 2020). Instead, leaders should be cognizant of watching for such issues and focus on promoting inclusive organizational cultures, rather that simply striving to increase gender diversity and waiting to respond when crises emerge. While women in our study reframed their experiences with sexism as a demonstration of their personal strength, they also reported leaving jobs—and considering leaving the industry—due to sexism. In order for the sport industry to achieve sustained gender diversity, then, leaders must confront the need to eliminate sexism and sexual harassment from their organizations.

References/Further Reading:

Carter-Francique, A. R., & Olushola, J. (2016). Women coaches of color: Examining the effects of intersectionality. In Women in sports coaching (pp. 81-94). Routledge.

Fink, J. S. (2016). Hiding in plain sight: The embedded nature of sexism in sport. Journal of Sport Management30(1), 1-7.

Harrison, G. (2019). “We want to see you sex it up and be slutty:” post-feminism and sports media’s appearance double standard. Critical Studies in Media Communication36(2), 140-155.

Hindman, L. C., & Walker, N. A. (2020). Sexism in professional sports: How women managers experience and survive sport organizational culture. Journal of Sport Management34(1), 64-76.

Kaskan, E. R., & Ho, I. K. (2016). Microaggressions and female athletes. Sex Roles74(7-8), 275-287.

Mudrick, M., Burton, L., & Lin, C. A. (2017). Pervasively offside: An examination of sexism, stereotypes, and sportscaster credibility. Communication & Sport5(6), 669-688.

Musto, M., Cooky, C., & Messner, M. A. (2017). “From Fizzle to Sizzle!” Televised sports news and the production of gender-bland sexism. Gender & Society31(5), 573-596.

Siegele, J. L., Hardin, R., Taylor, E. A., & Smith, A. B. (2020). ” She is the Best Female Coach”: NCAA Division I Swimming Coaches’ Experiences of Sexism. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport13(1).

Taylor, E. A., Smith, A. B., Rode, C. R., & Hardin, R. (2017). Women don’t know anything about sports: Contrapower harassment in the sport management classroom. Sport management education journal11(2), 61-71.

Taylor, E. A., Smith, A. B., Welch, N. M., & Hardin, R. (2018). “You should be flattered!”: Female sport management faculty experiences of sexual harassment and sexism. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal26(1), 43-53.

New to NASSM Conference: Guide to Maximizing Your Time

By Natalie L. Smith (East Tennessee State University) & Kerri Bodin (University of Ottawa)

Great choice! You are headed to NASSM’s Annual Conference for the first time, and we’re sure you’re excited to learn new things and meet new people. But we’re guessing this is also somewhat intimidating. As one of the largest and oldest conferences in our field, the NASSM Annual Conference can be somewhat overwhelming for first time attendees. Here is a friendly guide to the conference itself:

First thing first, read the program schedule ahead of time. Pre-plan what presentations you want to go to. Make sure to build in breaks to let your mind process all the information. You do not have to try to go to every session available. When you do go to sessions, ask questions during the sessions, this is an opportunity for researchers to hear suggestions or new ideas that may improve or build on their current research. If you want to speak to the presenter afterward, make sure to go outside the room to do so, as the presentation timeline is tight.

Reach Out Early: If a topic or a person really sparks your interest from the program schedule, reach out to them and ask for a meeting or simply say you look forward to seeing them at the conference. Those scheduled break times are a great time to chat for 20 minutes in a centrally located area. Be flexible about it, some of these more senior NASSM members have dozens of old friends to reconnect with as well as committee or leadership responsibilities.

Add the app. Be sure to download the Attendify app then search NASSM for the official 2019 NASSM conference app (sponsored by Sports Travel Academy. Event Code: nassm19) or click here.

Practical Tip: If you are presenting, bring a flash drive and presentation remote (via @DocJamesWeiner)

What Are All These Events? (This only covers events with a social component or opportunities to learn more about NASSM)

Past-President’s Workshop (Wed 4:00-6:00pm, Nottoway, 4th Floor) – Every year, the past-president hosts a workshop on a different topic.

Opening Reception (Wed 7:00-9:00pm, Armstrong Room) – The first event of the evening, this is the time to chat with someone new. You see your colleagues and friends all year long, now is the time to engage with peers elsewhere in the field. Use the drink line as an excuse to chat with the person behind you. Meet new people in groups of 2 if you’re too shy to go on your own. This is a very unstructured time, so use it to have new conversations. Dress code: Business casual usually.

NASSM 101 (Thurs 8:30-9:15am, Napolean A1) – A great way to learn about NASSM itself and  how to get involved.

NASSM Annual General Meeting (Fri 4:00-5:00pm, Napoleon BC) – Learn about the state of NASSM, keep informed of changes, updates, and general concerns. Become more familiar with NASSM’s Executive Council. Every member is welcome to attend!

WIN (Women in NASSM) Meeting (Fri 5:30-7:00pm, location TBD) – An unofficial but long-standing event that brings together any woman in NASSM interested. A great way to meet new people.

Diversity Breakfast (Sat 7:00-8:00am, Napoleon B1) – Hosted by the Diversity Committee, an informal breakfast to network and chat with those interested in diversity topics. Everyone is welcome, even if you don’t do diversity research. Again, another great way to meet new people.

Founders’ Awards Night (Sat, Cocktail Reception 6:15-7:00pm, Dinner 7:00-9:00pm, Napoleon Foyer & Ballroom) – A more formal affair that includes a cocktail reception beforehand. The cocktail hour is another great opportunity to meet people (seeing a trend?).

What are all these committee meetings on the schedule?  Sounding a bit too much like a mafia boss, “eh, don’t worry about it.” Maybe you’ve noticed on the event schedule a few meetings such as “Executive Council Hand over” or the “SMEJ Editorial Board Meeting.” They are for folks on those boards or committees. Go ahead and ignore those parts of the schedule (unless you are on that board or committee!), but also take note of any committee that sparks your interest. Reach out to the chair and ask about opportunities to get involved. You can find standing committee chairs’ contact information here and the Executive Council here.

What do I wear? This for me, is always the toughest. Maybe as a former sports business professional or maybe as a woman, I always stress about dress code. I’ve found NASSM attendees dress in a range from full business to, what I call, outdoor recreation business casual (outdoor shirt short-sleeved button down). The Founders’ Awards Night tends to be more formal, the opening reception not as much. Everyone has a different opinion on this, but I will say, wear things that make you feel confident and comfortable, so you can focus on the exchange of ideas.

What is happening for students? That student board works hard for you, so take advantage of their efforts. I found student events is where I met future collaborators, new friends, and I’ve heard for some, future colleagues. Check out the student events here.

One last piece of advice: Not every conversation leads to a collaboration or a job offer, but every conversation at NASSM is worth having. Your To-Do list will always be there and your presentation will never be perfect. Instead, use this time to be curious, to engage, and to be inspired. The combined intellect, passion for research, teaching and/or service, makes for an invigorating several days.

Authors: Natalie is an Assistant Professor of Sport & Recreation Management at ETSU in Johnson City, TN. She attended her first NASSM conference as a PhD student in Austin in 2013. Kerri is a PhD student at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario. She attended her first NASSM conference as a Master’s student in Denver in 2017.

Thank you to @Matt_Huml, @markaslavich, @morrsport, @ChadMcEvoy, @TimDeSchriver for your assistance in providing advice to first-timers!

Student Corner: Student learning and participation

What is WWE World Heavyweight Champion of Jeopardy Review? Creating a sport-oriented approach to student learning and participation

Written by: Farah J. Ishaq, Doctoral student, University of Kansas

As a 2nd year Ph.D. student and graduate teaching assistant (TA) at the University of Kansas, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a full instructor in two sections of sport finance and economics. While this was my first semester teaching, the opportunity was there to create and craft a unique, fun, and engaging course, especially on a topic like finance and economics. This blog post will specifically address my experience teaching, while also illustrating specific initiatives that have worked well to increase overall participation and engagement in my classes.

Overall, as a first-year graduate TA, I was nervous about the thought of teaching two sections of over 80 students in the sport management undergraduate program. While I have never taught a class before, I was prepared with the resources to succeed, including weekly advisor meetings, past course materials, and a supportive cohort. Initially, my biggest struggle was finding a balance between a class size of just 13 students, who meet three times a week, and a class of 70 students, who meet twice a week. However, as the class progressed, I learned that there was an opportunity to provide the same course material while establishing a positive classroom environment through discussion, complimentary audio-visual materials, and participation initiatives.

Ishaq blog 1The single greatest help to me was using my own personal undergraduate experiences to develop positive learning initiatives through resources that I found helpful and engaging during my time. As I am not much older than the students I am teaching, I appreciated the opportunity to apply my own undergraduate experiences to my class. One specific undergraduate experience that stood out to me was the use of participation “certificates” that were handed out during class and allowed for extra credit opportunity at the end of the semester. I decided to adopt a similar strategy by applying a sport-oriented twist to this approach by utilizing baseball cards as an incentive for participation.Baseball cards are handed out during participation opportunities for students who positively contribute to the discussion. The baseball cards are then kept by the student throughout the semester and handed to the instructor during the last week of classes in an envelope with their name on it and ultimately returned for the student to keep. Collecting 20 total baseball cards results in 10 points of extra credit added to their final grade. Needless to say, the students have loved it so far and it has created a way to be more involved in sport finance, which is a class that typically does not have a reputation of being the most interesting to students. The baseball cards only cost six dollars for 500 cards from Amazon and were each signed by me on a little removable sticker in order to control that the cards returned to me were indeed the ones I had handed out.

Ishaq blog 2Furthermore, in an attempt to create motivation to do well and create a sense of competition for my students for an exam review session, I surprised them with an opportunity to win a WWE World Heavyweight Champion belt. Jeopardy review has never been this fun! While the Jeopardy-style review offers a classic way for students to be engaged in friendly group competition, adding a sport-oriented prize created a greater sense of competition among the groups as well as willingness to learn and participate. Although my past experiences in my undergraduate did not play a role in the implementation of this initiative, teaching this course has allowed me to exhibit my own teaching style and play a role in the overall positive classroom environment for my students. While at first, I struggled to find a balance between my classes and was nervous to be responsible for more than 80 students my first semester teaching, this opportunity has allowed me to be creative, while contributing to the overall enjoyment and learning of sport finance and economics.

Student Corner: An international student experience

From London to London: My experience as an international student in Canada

Written by: Swarali Patil, MA Candidate, Western University

My journey as a graduate student is unlike my peers. I was born in India. I grew up near Mumbai (Bombay) before moving to New York. This was followed by a move to the United Kingdom for my undergraduate degree, and a year each in Malaysia and the Philippines. Presently I’m a second-year master’s student in Canada. Here are some of my tidbits as I navigate my journey in graduate school as an international student.

Choosing a School – Graduate school can be daunting, and with the incredible choices available, how can you choose the school that’s right for you? Research! I spent almost a year researching schools online, spoke to my lecturers at Coventry University, and contacted various schools before making my choice. It is a time consuming task but if you plan to spend two or more years taking on rigorous academic work, you should be well prepared to do it. The NASSM website is a great source of sport management programs available in North America. Identify the schools and programs that appeal to you, make a list of potential supervisors and read some of their work, contact the department for additional information about funding and other pertinent details before making your choice.

Choosing Classes – Your classes are meant to help you gain a deeper understanding of concepts you’ve previously learned, and introduce you to some new ones. Your classes can be a fantastic means to meet your fellow graduates, learn about interesting research happening in your department or faculty, participate in an exchange of ideas with your peers, and work on projects that can help you hone your presentation and writing skills. Classes are also a great medium to explore your interests that may lead to a potential thesis topic. Choose wisely but don’t overburden yourself.

sebc-photo.jpg

Professional Development – Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, whether it is volunteering, attending conferences, presenting at symposiums, or being a teaching or research assistant. I have volunteered at conferences on campus, presented at symposiums run by different faculties, participated in 2-minute and 5-minute presentation contests, and more. I have also been a teaching and research assistant, which has helped me add to my repertoire of skills and experiences for my CV.

Teaching and Learning – If your school has a Teaching and Learning Resource Centre, utilize their workshops to add to your knowledge base. Most programs will also provide a certificate of completion. Grab every opportunity you can to augment your CV. I’ve found several workshops to be incredibly helpful, particularly when I was a first-time TA. Several workshops provide video recordings of your presentations, which can be a great tool to showcase yourself to a potential employer.

Swarali at SCRINetwork – If you attend conferences or volunteer at social events on campus, take the time to meet faculty and students from different universities. This can lead to interesting contacts, friends in new cities, collaborations and other opportunities. Conferences are also a great way to discuss your research interests with experts in the field. Register early, utilize the student rate, and plan your schedule with ample time to socialize.

Appreciate and Have Fun – Take the time to appreciate where you are. Appreciate different perspectives, new experiences, new friends, new food, and new places. Graduate school provides unique opportunities, which can not only help you identify your future avenues but also provide a sense of accomplishment. Yes, time management is key, and work-life balance needs to be achieved but there is a feel-good factor in accomplishing what you have set out to do.

Graduate school is incredibly daunting and time consuming but it can also be very satisfying. As an international student, whether you plan to stay in your new city for a long while or move back home, you can enjoy the journey and the discovery. I have found my first year to be quite different from my expectations but I’m happier for it. I’m moving full steam ahead in year 2 but deciding if I want to sign up for 4 more!

Paying it Back: The McCormack Octagon Bowl

By Elizabeth Delia, Ph.D.

As current or former students, we all have classes we look back on with fond memories: the class that eloquently combined classroom and experiential learning; the class that challenged us to think outside the box; the class that ignited our competitive spirit; the class that makes us proud to call ourselves alums. For graduate students enrolled in the Masters program in the McCormack Department of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), one such class is Sport Marketing and the Octagon Bowl.

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Each fall semester for the past decade, the graduate Sport Marketing class at UMass has partnered with the global sports and entertainment agency Octagon for what has been termed the Octagon Bowl. Students in the class work in groups on a semester long project with Octagon to create an integrated marketing campaign for a real-world Octagon client. Following the Octagon Bowl, Octagon incorporates ideas from the student groups into the actual campaign, illustrating the value Octagon places on the work of the students.

This year’s project is with Mastercard, in conjunction with the company’s sponsorship of the British Open, and will conclude with the 2016 Octagon Bowl on December 16. During the Octagon Bowl, students present their proposed campaigns to a panel of judges comprised of representatives from Octagon and Mastercard, who question each group of presenters and then vote on a winner. The presentations test the knowledge, preparedness, and professionalism of the students. As Dr. Matt Katz, the instructor of the course, commented, “The judges are tough. They come to campus and expect professional presentations with professional insight. Their questions are challenging, and their expectations are high. We have mock presentations, ‘dress rehearsals’ of sorts where we record a practice presentation and force the students to evaluate themselves, and we try and simulate the types of questions the judges will ask. It makes for a great learning experience because our students know the level of excellence expected from them – and they prepare accordingly.”

This year’s panel of judges is relatively unique, as it includes Michael Goldstein and Noah Kolodny, both graduates of the UMass MBA/MS Sport Management program. Goldstein graduated from the program in 2007 and is now Vice President of Global Sponsorships at Mastercard. Kolodny graduated from the program in 2006 and is now Vice President at Octagon Marketing. In addition to their participation in the Octagon Bowl as professionals, both Goldstein and Kolodny participated in the Octagon Bowl as UMass graduate students.

“The Octagon-UMass relationship has been a win-win partnership,” Kolodny commented in reflecting on the Octagon Bowl. “Octagon has provided the UMass students an opportunity to gain real world experience in developing 360-degree marketing programs for leading corporate sponsors including Mastercard. Throughout our decade-long partnership, students have been given the opportunity to demonstrate research abilities, creative thinking, and written communication and presentation skills. Our agency has been able to leverage the students’ strategic thinking to enhance our clients’ initiatives and generate innovative solutions.”

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2015 Octagon Bowl winners with representatives from Octagon and UMass

Providing students with experiential learning opportunities prepares them to enter into the sport industry as professionals, but the case of the McCormack Octagon Bowl shows us how such learning opportunities do more than just that. As Kolodny noted, “The benefits [of the partnership] are not limited to specific projects. The partnership has helped Octagon and our clients to identify and foster the next generation of marketers and strategists.”

The Octagon Bowl illustrates how experiential learning can allow students to realize the value of their educational experiences, such that as they progress upward in their professional careers, they remain connected to their alma mater, allowing alumni networks to thrive. These networks are not only advantageous in the industry, but also back “home” at the university as well. These networks motivate our former students to periodically turn to their alma mater and pay it back.

Student Election Nominations Call

Dear NASSM Student Members, leadership

Important notice, this year’s NASSM student elections will be held online with winners announced at the NASSM Student Luncheon. The NASSM Student Initiatives Committee is now accepting nominations for the following positions for the 2016-2017 term:

  • Student Initiatives Committee President
  • Student Initiatives Committee Representative (3)
  • Diversity Committee Student Representative
  • Publicity and Promotions Committee Student Representative
  • International Relations Committee Student Representative
  • Conference Committee Student Representative

Serving as a student representative provides valuable opportunities to contribute to the advancement of NASSM, and learn from and network with experienced faculty. Please find the Operating Codes for these positions on pages 49-51 of the NASSM Operating Codes.

Please send your completed nomination forms to Natalie Smith by May 1st, 2016. You may nominate yourself for more than one position, but must complete a nomination form for each. You can download the form here: NASSM Student Officer Nomination Form_2016

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thank you,

Natalie

If you Build it, Will They Come?

 

Developing Strategic Marketing Initiatives for a New Arena in Virginia Beach

By Stephen Shapiro, Old Dominion University

In the Summer of 2015, the Old Dominion University Sport Management program partnered with developer United States Management (USM) in Virginia Beach on a once in a generation experiential learning opportunity. The city of Virginia Beach was proposing an 18,000 seat, $210 million arena located at the Oceanfront. So the developers posed the question to ODU graduate Sport Management students: what would you do with this new arena?

ODU Sport Marketing Dec 2015When this opportunity presented itself, I was extremely excited and worried at the same time. I believe experiential learning is a powerful tool. Many times we present cases to students in class that are focused on situations that occurred in the past or fictional scenarios. This situation provided us a unique opportunity to tell students this initiative is actually happening. The work you do will not just be for a grade…if it’s good enough, it will be implemented. At the same time, how do you go about marketing an arena that does not exist? This was the opportunity and challenge presented to students in the graduate sport marketing course during the Fall of 2015.

The city of Virginia Beach was going through the lengthy process of approving and financing a state of the art sport and entertainment venue that would fill a void in the inventory of facilities within the Hampton Roads region. We sat down with USM, facility designer Clark-Nexsen, representatives from SMG Venue Management, and the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to discuss marketing a new arena. Six strategic initiatives were highlighted: local sponsorships, marketing premium seating, arena/convention center collaboration, marketing non-traditional events, bidding for sporting events, and strategic analysis of comparable facilities without a major sports tenant.

Students were divided into groups to cover each initiative. Over the course of the semester, we had regular meetings with various arena constituents discussing facility design, economic impact, social issues related to arena development, financing, and general management. This was an excellent opportunity for students to see how a project this extensive consists of a multitude of individuals with differing goals and perspectives. Students had to use this information along with conducting an environmental scan, SWOT analysis, and investigation of comparable facilities across the United States to develop strategic plans.

Group 1Students presented their initiatives to all the individuals involved, including representatives from Virginian Beach City Council and the local media on December 9.  Amazingly, this was one day after the city council approved the development of the arena. Student groups focused on assessing bid requirements for potential events like the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Championships, X-Games, and US Figure Skating, which could be hosted at the arena and other facilities in the region. Collaborative and complimentary events between the arena and convention center were suggested, such as a skateboard competitions or a youth wrestling tournament at the convention center paired with a UFC event at the arena. One group focused on the popularity of e-gaming and the connection between these events and our regional demographics.

This was a tremendous experience for our students that has real-world implications.  Although the opportunity to help market a new arena does not happen often, this experience motivated me to search for more opportunities in the local community that allow our students to tackle real-world complex issues in the sport industry. There are so many opportunities for partnerships between sport management programs and sport organizations, which allow students to gain the skills necessary to be competitive in the job market upon graduation.