UI students partake in sports panels in Indianapolis

BY BEN ROSS | FEBRUARY 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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Forty-nine University of Iowa students took advantage of an opportunity this past weekend to attend a sports-business field trip to Indianapolis to meet a range of people who hold high-ranking positions in careers they may wish to pursue one day.

The trip’s itinerary included lecture sessions by NCAA and U.S. Track&Field officials, professional sports agents and attorneys, executives from the Indiana Pacers and LiveNation, and a panel on communications issues and strategy with the ESPN Director of College Sports public relations and the NCAA Director of Image Management.

The expedition was put together and chaperoned by UI lecturer and Iowa City native Dan Matheson, who spent nine years working for the NCAA as an investigator before returning to Iowa City. Matheson teaches three courses in recreation and sports business in the university’s leisure-studies program.

“I designed a trip to expose students to a variety of sport-business professionals,” Matheson said. “The NCAA offices were a home base for the field trip, even though I had speakers there outside the NCAA. I wanted expose them to different careers in the sport industry that they may not have heard or thought about before.”

This was the second year in a row that Matheson has coordinated such a trip, an event he said he plans to continue.

Indianapolis serves as the headquarters for the NCAA offices and is the host to many other sporting events, such as NASCAR’s Indy 500 race.

“We had panelists involved in motorsports marketing and met with execs from the Pacers,” Matheson said. “Indianapolis is the home to national governing bodies for many sports.”

The trip also served as an opportunity for the students to network with people and perhaps get their foot in the door of a career they may be interested in upon graduation.

And while it was technically a field trip, one student who participated in the journey said that there was little free time, because the days were filled with meetings and discussion panels.

“We were busy the whole day — most of the time you’re up and busy networking,” senior health studies and recreation and sports business major Nick Inzerillo said. “I think a lot of people had a good time. I talked to a lot of different people. I’d go on it again, and I recommend it to everyone. It’s one of those experiences you’re not going to get again.”

For more information on the program, people may visit the UI Recreation and Sport Business Facebook page or follow Dan Matheson on Twitter @DanMatheson.

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