Wednesday, August 27, 2014

College athletics are perfect for breaking into sports

Well, it's that time of the year again. The time when students make their way to college campuses across the nation and begin their studies. However, it's also time for fall sports seasons to begin. For students looking to break into the sports industry, they needn't look further than their school's own athletic department to find the foot-in-the-door opportunity they're seeking.

Finding the perfect opportunity to break into sports is difficult no matter what your transcript or extracurricular activities say. It's a place where everyone wants to work but has a finite number of jobs. But college athletic departments are almost always looking for volunteers, specifically for game-day duties.

These jobs can vary on a pretty wide spectrum. You could simply be running stats and notes to accommodate media members. You could transcribe post-game interviews. You could man the copy machine or help with live stats. And that's all just within the media related jobs.

As a whole, there is almost always a presence from the major offices within an athletic department at any given game, and they all need help. Students could help with the aforementioned media needs. Or with operations. Or facilities. Or business/marketing.

Feeling a little stuck up about the sports you want to work with? Instead of me preaching about why that's really a terrible attitude to have when looking to break into the sports industry, I'll just present you the options. Because there really is something for everybody.

Looking just at Drexel Athletics' fall schedule, they have soccer on the men's side and soccer and field hockey on the women's side that have this sort of help at games. And don't forget that Drexel hosts the U.S. Open of Squash at the end of September, which requires extensive volunteer help and still introduces you to the sports industry and key people. (In the spring, Drexel will be hosting the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four, so there's another big chance.)

Being in Philadelphia (or any other large city) opens up a whole new world of opportunities beyond a student's home university. Philly offers five NCAA Division I universities within just a short public transportation ride from Drexel. Want to help out with Temple football? More of a fan of Villanova's soccer program? Those kinds of opportunities are just a short ride away.

I understand there may be some hesitation to help with a college athletic department because you want to work in professional sports or you want to work with a specific team or you want to work with a specific sport or whatever. Set those hesitations aside and never underestimate the small, intimate nature of the sports world. Somebody will know somebody connected to where you want to go, and if that don't, they will know somebody else who is.

Breaking into the sports industry can be stressful. But don't over-complicate the process. And don't overlook the opportunities presented by your own athletic department. You may be surprised where it takes you.


Kevin Rossi is a senior Drexel Sport Management major with minors in Communications and Business Administration. Since joining the SMTSU, Kevin has worked his way up the ladder to President. Currently, Kevin is serving as the Sports Information Assistant for Drexel Athletics and  intern at Comcast SportsNet in web production. Kevin has writing experience with, The Triangle, Temple University, and various outlets in a freelance capacity. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Connect with Kevin Rossi on LinkedIn.

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