RMU students network with professionals at the annual Sports Management Student Summit

Malyk Johnson

The Sports Management Student Summit has taken place for the past 14 years. Students in the sports management and the sports communication programs attend the event to network with RMU alumni and other people in the sports management field.

The summit took place at the Sheraton Hotel on Oct. 13. The event was not restricted to students who attend RMU, but open to students nationally. The conference held 160 students who represented 19 different universities including Ohio University, Northern Kentucky and Slippery Rock University.

“Whenever I graduated from Slippery Rock, I participated in a lot of conferences like this,” said Calvin Jackson, a graduate student at Robert Morris University. “So firsthand I realized the importance of networking not only with professionals but other students. Because four to five years from now, you and other students are going to be placed at all of these different sports industries.”

Students had the opportunity to sit down with professionals in a roundtable discussion in which students met with professionals and had 10 minutes to ask questions and have a discussion as they pleased. After 10 minutes, students would switch tables to meet with a new professional.

“It gives me a great sense of pride to be able to help others, to give back as Robert Morris University has helped me so much, and I’ve already met 10 to 15 people today … I’m guaranteed I can place in the sports industry,” said Murray Cohn, president at MC Sports Sales Training & Consulting. “I just talked to a student, told him I would help him and literally he started tearing up.”

The night before, a pre-conference was held for Robert Morris students. Some of the professionals who were available at the conference were available to go over resumes and talk with students to form a mentoring relationship.

“It is very awarding intrinsically to be able to give back because every single professional was in the shoes of the students,” said Jackson. “It helps them look for entry-level talent. When I was participating in these conferences as a lawyer, I found a lot of great talent, a lot of great interns by going to these conferences.”

Some of the sessions students were able to attend discussed topics such as an introduction to Esports and the difference between intercollegiate athletics and professional athletics.

“Any company that gets players involved, in other words, the demographic is doing it the right way,” said Don Marinelli, director of innovation, Inven Global. “What I think they are doing wrong is they want it to look like the traditional sports model. You can take a look at Turner Broadcasting. They want it to look like traditional sports. I would like it to look like the way it grew.”

At the end of the night, three people were inducted into the RMU Sports Management Hall of Fame. Bradley Downs, the vice president of marketing for the Baltimore Ravens, Jeffrey Garner, assistant athletic director of ticketing sales and services and Christopher King, director of athletics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“You just kind of focus on your job and do your work and when you start to get recognized for that is cool,” said Downs. “It’s just further a way for me to give back to the students as much as I can. It’s truly an honor to be included with a great group of people for the Robert Morris University Hall of Fame.”