Competition for jobs in the athletic industry is relentlessly high, but students in Idaho State University’s sports management and athletic administration programs were recently given a unique opportunity to gain industry connections and assist in the inner workings of the Big Sky Conference basketball tournaments.
Dr. Caroline Faure, Master of Physical Education in Athletic Administration Program Director and Professor for the ISU Human Performance and Sports Department, said the opportunity not only gave her students valuable real-world experience, but also to network with industry leaders.
“By the end of the week, our students are on a first name basis with many of the most powerful people in the region’s sports industry. That’s a huge deal,” Faure said. “Plus, it’s an eye-opening experience for all of the students to see what all goes into making a tournament like this happen.”
Sixteen students in the undergraduate sport management and graduate sport management were targeted for the opportunity. The students worked 10 to 16 hour days for seven consecutive days at the Big Sky Conference. They were tasked with a wide variety of tournament operations, assisting with tournament marketing, in-game promotions, media relations, and team relations. Students also acted as team liaisons, the primary point of contact for coaches and players from each of the Big Sky’s 11 member schools from the time they arrived at the downtown Boise arena to the time they left.
“Throughout the week, they work closely with the Commissioner and senior staff of the Big Sky Conference and with athletic directors, coaches, and staff from each of the schools,” Faure said. “The people from the Big Sky Conference really do a lot to make the event memorable for the students. They work really hard to ensure our students have a great hands-on learning experience [and] go above and beyond to mentor our students, not just at the tournament, but before and after the tournament, as well.”
This is the fourth consecutive year Idaho State has partnered with the Big Sky Conference for this opportunity, and Faure is looking forward to continuing the relationship.
“NCAA Championship events are really special, and the amount of work that goes into them is tremendous,” Faure said. “To be able to give our students an opportunity to be a part of something like that is really unique, and it’s not an opportunity that is super easy to find here in Pocatello.”