So many sports major students contact me and ask how to get a foot in the door with teams, marketing agencies, etc. Building relationships is key. Internships are key. But nothing beats attending sports conferences where you can build those relationships firsthand and hear from professionals as to opportunities, suggestions, and career paths.
The surprising thing to me is, why do many colleges actually discourage students from attending? Why do they not incorporate conferences into their curriculum? Why, when they won’t provide for the students to go, do they refuse to let the students go even if they pay for it themselves?
As educators, our goal should be to provide students with as many opportunities for success as we can. One area is preparing them for conferences…how to meet people, build relationships, interview, be prepared, etc. Think about it….we are turning out thousands of sports marketing students every year, and yet there are only a finite number of positions available. What will make your students stand out? The fact that they attended all the classes or the fact that they started building relationships, learning about opportunities, talked with experts in their field, and started preparing for their future?
On the flip side, students selecting a college should ask these important questions. How do you help prepare me for a future position? How do you help me get in front of people? How do you help me learn more about the industry and areas in which I could work? How prepared am I both in education and relationship building am I by my senior year?
There are some colleges out there that are stellar in this approach, taking students to amazing opportunities, encouraging them to attend on their own, and these are students that are getting the positions they had wanted. If you are graduating students with a low placement in sports rate, perhaps it’s time to reconsider how we are preparing them. Junior year and Senior year, if not all 4, students should be attending conferences and building relationships. Let’s start getting our students noticed. Give them the opportunity to learn, grow, and build their future in sports.
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating