BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With support from an all-star roster of top executives from the NBA, NFL, NCAA and NHL, related ventures and sports agents, the Indiana University Kelley School of Business has launched a unique, immersive experience for undergraduate students pursuing a career in the sports industry.
In addition to rigorous coursework, students in Kelley's Sports Industry Workshop will benefit from frequent professional development and networking opportunities, including industry guest speakers and site visits to various professional sports organizations after the pandemic.
For example, among the speakers for the fall semester class is Kim Miale, one of a growing number of female sports agents, who represents NFL stars such as Juju Smith-Schuster and Saquon Barkley for Roc Nation Sports, the agency established by Jay-Z.
"Off the baseball diamond, basketball court or football field, the business of sports has become increasingly complex in recent years, and many organizations have come to appreciate how important a business degree can be to their success on and off the field," said Nathaniel Grow, the Sports Industry Workshop's director and professor of business law and ethics. "Our students, who already are receiving a top-quality Kelley degree, will be ready to deal with issues facing the sports industry, whether they are media rights, ticketing trends or other challenges.
"As with other industries, Kelley's alumni network in sports and entertainment ventures will help place our students in internships and full-time employment, although we also teach students how to initiate and develop strong relationships in the industry."
Grow is a nationally recognized expert in the field of sports law and frequently is quoted by national media outlets such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and ESPN regarding current legal issues in the sports industry. His research interests include both the application of federal antitrust and labor law to the professional sports industry, along with the field of U.S. intellectual property law.
One of the workshop's supporters and advisory board members is IU alumnus Brett Yormark, Roc Nation's president of business operations and strategy and co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified. His extensive experience in sports business includes roles as CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and its operating company, BSE Global, and leading sponsorship sales at NASCAR. He graduated from IU in 1988.
"I am thrilled to be on the advisory board for the Kelley School's Sports Industry Workshop, a field I have been passionate about for more than 30 years," Yormark said. "As an IU alum, it is especially rewarding for me to pass along some of the lessons I've learned to the next generation and help ensure they have the educational tools required to be successful in the ever-changing sports business landscape."
"What Brett has started with the Kelly School of Business is exciting and exactly the kind of opportunity that IU gave to me," added Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of Fox Sports and an advisor to the workshop. "It's great to see alumni get together to pay it forward and create the next generation of leaders out of this world-class school."
In addition to Yormark and Shanks, about two dozen sports industry executives are advising the workshop, many of whom are Kelley alumni. They include:
- Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers, an NBA coaching veteran and a four-season student manager for legendary IU basketball coach Bob Knight.
- Rick Fuson, president and chief operating officer of the Indiana Pacers.
- Marcia A. Dall, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Churchill Downs Inc.
- Buffy Filippell, president and founder of the sports executive search firm TeamWork Consulting and a former IU tennis player.
- Rob Laycock, vice president of marketing for the Atlanta Hawks.
- Kathleen McNeely, senior vice president of administration for the NCAA.
- Matt Kobe, vice president of business strategy and analytics for the Chicago Bulls.
- Theo Hodges, senior vice president of sales and service for the Dallas Mavericks.
- Eli Kumekpor, vice president and chief financial officer of the Jordan Brand at Nike.
- Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck.
- Mike Schwartz, senior vice president for corporate partnerships of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Arena.
- John Rowady, president and founder of the integrated sports marketing firm rEvolution.
Others associated with the workshop include those in key positions with the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Sports Corp., Minor League Baseball, Warner Media and AT&T.
An inaugural class of Kelley juniors and seniors was selected to participate after a competitive application process. In addition to having a strong academic record, each student must have a demonstrated interest in working in the sports industry, such as an internship or work experience.
This fall, students will learn about various segments of the sports industry, including ticketing, arena management and analytics, with regular visits from industry guest speakers. In the spring, students will continue to benefit from frequent interaction with guest speakers while also learning through experiential opportunities such as attending a national industry conference and working on in-class projects that will develop their skills and provide tangible work products to discuss during future job interviews.