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BU group responds to growth of sports careers

Feb. 7, 2001

Organization aids students in getting contacts, work

By ANDY JACOBS

Reporter

The fastest growing fields in sports are not on playing fields, but the fields of sports marketing and media relations, and Baylor students are taking advantage of these career opportunities.

Last fall, a group of students chartered the Baylor Career Sports Network, a campus-wide organization to help Baylor students find work in sports and make contacts with prominent figures in the behind-the-scenes world of sports.

The organization has grown to about 50 members and normally meets twice a month with a featured sports-related guest speaker. The group also takes periodic trips to professional sports games in Texas and meets with executives of the franchises to learn about the sports business.

Tiffany Wilson, a Dumas senior and club officer, said students with any major are encouraged to join the group. She said with more teams and newer leagues such as the XFL, there are many jobs available right now.

'It's more open now than ever,' Wilson said.

Jeff Brown, Baylor's assistant athletic media relations director and Internet coordinator, graduated from Baylor in May 2000 and now works full-time for the athletic department. He worked as a student and took a full-time offer after he graduated. He said even though there are more jobs out there, they are still tough to get because of the high number of people who apply.

He attributes his success at landing a sports job to dedication and making important contacts. Even though most entry-level sports jobs are low paying, he said getting a foot in the door is more important initially than salary.

'Take the job they offer and work hard at it,' he said.

Heather Newsome, professor of economics in Hankamer School of Business, teaches a sports business class and said internships are also important in the highly competitive market of sports. Most sports internships are unpaid, Newsome said, but many can lead to higher paying jobs in the future when some solid contacts are made.

Brown and Newsome both stressed that sports, at the entry level, is a high-turnover industry because of low pay and long hours. However, Newsome said a devoted worker can take advantage of job openings and eventually find a rewarding career with many benefits.

Newsome also said most people in the upper levels of sports management actually started out in other fields, and switched to sports after making contacts and gaining experience elsewhere.

The Baylor Career Sports Network meets next at 8 p.m. Feb. 19 in 116 of the Draper Academic Building.