Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business students, led by Director of Sport Management and Chair of the Management Science Division Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D., and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Sport Management Fritz G. Polite, Ph.D., recently traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, to attend the 2017 College Sport Research Institute (CSRI) National Conference. Dr. Polite is a founding executive board member and has served on the board for 10 years.
The six students included master of business administration student and Sport Business Club (SBC) Co-President Casey Edsall ’16, ’17; senior business administration major and SBC Director of Administration Matthew Laird ’17; senior sport management major and SBC Co-Director of Development & Finance Jacob Shaffer ’17; senior sport management major and SBC Co-Director of Development & Finance Lance Ratliff ’17; sophomore sport management major Kit Gould ’18; and freshman communications/sport management major Mariah Graves ’20.
Over the course of the three-day conference in South Carolina, the students attended several panel discussions and lectures that focused on the current issues facing college sport. They were able to meet and learn from sport industry icons such as former Nike, Reebok, and Adidas executive Sonny Vaccaro, former WNBA star and Olympic Gold Medalist Chamique Holdsclaw, and Washington Post columnist and ESPN commentator Kevin Blackstone. In addition to the panel discussions and lectures, the students also attended an educational networking event where they were able to build their professional networking and communication skills. “The conference was an amazing experience. I was able to network with many current and future leaders in the world of sport management and it was great to see our students compete and win at a high level against students from much larger universities,” said Shaffer.
The conference was a learning experience for the students and an opportunity to compete on several different levels. Edsall and Shaffer completed a poster presentation,“Who’s In: Division I and Division III Championship Access Ratios,” that was a culmination of several months of research. Gould, Graves, Laird, and Ratliff competed in the 2017 CSRI Case Study Competition. The team spent a month researching the optimal governance structure for collegiate e-Sports and prepared a research paper and presentation. They presented their findings at the conference in front of several judges, and were named the 2017 CSRI Case Study Competition Undergraduate Division Champions!
“I am very proud of all the hard work these students put into their research. It was encouraging to see them take advantage of this opportunity and win against several much larger schools on the biggest stage in collegiate sport research. I think they had a better presentation than the winners of the graduate division, and I am looking forward to defending our title next year with our returning team members,” said Dr. Gawrysiak.