Sports Business Organization offers unique opportunity to students

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor

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Among the numerous clubs offered at UNC Wilmington, several athletic sports teams checker the field. Students have been free to engage in sports ranging from crew to soccer to fencing and many more.

What campus lacked to offer before this year began was a club focusing on the business side of sports, and an avenue for students interested in this other side of athletics a chance to get their names out to future employers.

That has all changed with UNCW’s newest club on campus, the Sports Business Organization. The idea for the club began in summer of 2014 when Professor Brian Kinard proposed the idea of starting a sports business club to his sports marketing class.

Kinard was able to gauge the interest of starting the club and began the necessary paperwork to start it with its founding members during the summer. This semester is the club’s first active semester on campus, however, with it taking time for the paperwork to process and all of the founding members to understand the rules and regulations of clubs on campus.

With it only being their inaugural semester on campus, beginning the club has been a process, but the early results of interest have been positive.

“The first active semester has met my expectations,” said junior Chris Collins, one of the founders of the club. “We have had multiple guest speakers, meetings, new members joining, began an event with the March Madness Bracket Challenge, and are currently working on making t-shirts along with our first school social event. We have had great help from new members and our advisor, Dr. Kinard, that without, we would not have been able to do what we have done thus far.”

The Sports Business Organization has already had a handful of guest speakers from different branches of the sports field come and talk to members of the club, including experienced workers within NASCAR.

Additionally, the club is currently in the middle of holding its inaugural “SBO Bracket Challenge” event, something they are hopeful will become a tradition in future years.

The bracket challenge simply consists of students completing an NCAA bracket on, with the winner of the group of participants receiving a prize package.

The club’s first semester has proved to be trying at times, but the club has been able to follow its goals in creating awareness about themselves.

“We wanted to provide students who had a passion in sports as well as a passion in a career in the business world an opportunity to unite these passions,” said senior Malcolm Bradford, another founder. “We want to ultimately achieve our goal to promote the field of sports marketing, provide opportunities for students to develop their interest, and provide potential employers access to student talent in the area.”

As with any club’s first semester, there have already been learning lessons for members of the club, and ideas they want to take on next year have already been tossed around. But overall, the club is hopeful that its uniqueness will be able to draw interest from many students in the future, and that, in turn, the club will be able to provide those students with opportunities in the sports business field down the road.

“For new student organizations, creating awareness and providing value to participants is crucial to long term success,” Kinard said. “While building a strong student support system is important, I hope that SBO is able to build strong connections with local and regional sports organizations. These connections provide avenues for further value added activities, such as speaking engagements from business leaders in the sports industry, sports business conference participation, sports business internships, and job placement opportunities. Eventually I would like to see more students securing internships and jobs with professional sports organizations around the country. 

“Hopefully the programs and activities provided by the SBO will bolster students’ resumes such that they are more competitive applicants on the job market. This can only be achieved through organizational opportunities that compliment and add value to the sports business knowledge and skills students acquire through their coursework.”