MSA Blog Post by: Tristan Musser
I still don’t think it’s sunk in that I’ve officially graduated with my Master’s in Sport Administration from Canisius College. Two short years ago I remember pondering what my experience in Buffalo would be like. Now two years later with my Master’s degree behind me, both Canisius College and Buffalo have exceeded all of my expectations. It’s funny to think back about how nervous I was not knowing where my decision would lead me. But in the end my decision was rooted in passion, a passion for sports and more specifically, hockey. With my love for the game guiding the way, the environment at Canisius and the MSA program gave me the opportunity to succeed. This is where the MSA program at Canisius is ahead of curve; each student is allowed the flexibility to study at night and on the weekends while gaining valuable working experience during the day. I was able to apply concepts I learned in classes like Leadership in Sport, NCAA Compliance, and Facility Management, while working full time with the Canisius College Men’s Hockey team, and part time at the newly built HARBORCENTER. To paint a clear picture of my experience at Canisius, I’ll refer to the below equation:
relative discussions/assignments + real life experience = unmatched education
This type of learning process helped me to secure a job with the Academy of Hockey at HARBORCENTER prior to graduation on May 18th. My time working as Director of Hockey Operations with the Griffs gave me the two years of hockey experience and contacts I needed in order to be positioned where I am now. Partnered with a fundamental and informative curriculum that challenged me think about real world issues in sport, my experience at Canisius truly was unmatched. I cannot be anything but grateful for the opportunity the MSA program at Canisius provided me with, and for helping to advance my career in sport.
Each year 16 of the nation’s top Collegiate Hockey Programs square off, all with the same goal to reach the NCAA Frozen Four. This years tournament’s First and Second rounds of the East Region were held at the Times Union Center, in Albany New York. Quinnipiac, the top overall seed in the tournament, was first tested by Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale saw UMass-Lowell as well in the first round. Both Quinnipiac and UMass-Lowell came out victorious on Saturday, which set up a one seed vs. a two seed with the winner heading Tampa for the Frozen Four. Quinnipiac was too fast and too strong and out-performed UMass-Lowell by a score of 4-0, which clinched their ticket to the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four.
I was honored to be given the opportunity to volunteer for this year’s tournament. To represent a organization like the NCAA is always good, as you gain experience and the possibility of meeting the “right” person or contact. Although Canisius was not a member of this year’s tournament, I still represented the College with integrity and professionalism. Whenever someone asked where I was from, I proudly stated that I was happy to be a Golden Griffin, My initial duties for the tournament were to distribute credentials for the Media, as well as be a mic-runner during the post-game press conferences. Because of the national attention this tournament receives, organizations like ESPN, Fox Sports, and NBC Sports all were there to cover the tournament. Professional Scouts from the NHL all wanted to catch a glimpse of the talent these four teams produced on the ice, as one day maybe a student-athlete would represent their team. I did not want to limit my responsibilities to just the stated above, I wanted to gain as much experience as I could. I started to ask Edward Krajewski, Assistant Commissioner of the ECAC Hockey League, and Eric McDowell, Union College’s Sports Information Director, if there was any other assignments that I could assist with. They directed me to the Media Room, where I assisted individuals as they typed up game notes, box scores, and interview quotes.
This experience was amazing in many ways. Not many people get to help the “Behind the Scenes” functions of what it takes to make everything that is part of the game run so smoothly. Everyone sees the action on the ice, but they do see what it took to get the game set up. This all would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the Canisius’ Sports Administration program. I was asked to volunteer for this tournament because Canisius selected me to represent them at the MAAC Championships earlier this month. I was asked to come back and work this tournament and did not hesitate to say yes. The NCAA is an organization that I hope, one day, I will be able to represent every day.
Canisius College Master of Sport Administration program will be putting on its 13th annual Bowl N’ Blast fundraiser this April, with all benefits going to the Special Olympics of Western New York. A class of eight students is putting on the event with the help of their professor, and MSA alumni Andrea Gregory. The Bowl N’ Blast will be taking place on April 24th at 1pm at the AMF Airport lanes in Cheektowaga.
Special Events in Sports is an elective as part of the MSA program. The class is offered every spring to help educate students, and give hands on experience, in the ins and outs of running an event. It only took one class to learn that my brief experience of volunteering for fundraisers was only the surface of what it really takes to run an event. The class is laid out so that you can apply the information you learn in class to the Bowl N’ Blast fundraiser the following week. We go over in class budgets, sponsorship, and marketing just to name a few topics.
The class is however more than just Bowl N’ Blast fundraiser, because special events aren’t always fundraisers in a bowling alley. So we set up tours with other MSA alumni in the area to see what kind of events they help to put on. This led us to have tours of places like the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, the First Niagara Center, and the Buffalo Niagara Court Center. Getting to see the behind the scene action showed us how different sporting events, concerts, fundraisers are put on from venues big to small.
We hope you will join all those attending the 13th annual Bowl N’ Blast on April 24th at 1pm. Come out enjoy a few hours of bowling, food, raffles and prizes and see the hard work of eight MSA students as they donate all their profits to the Special Olympics of Western New York.
The month of March marks the biggest tournament for NCAA basketball and each season teams from different conferences compete in hopes to advance to this annual March Madness tournament. Since Canisius is in the MAAC conference, every year they battle for the final spot against ten other teams: Marist, Quinnipiac, Siena, Rider, Monmouth, St. Peters, Niagara, Fairfield, Iona, and Manhattan in order to make it to the NCAA tournament. This year the 36th annual MAAC Basketball Championships were held in Albany, NY at the Times Union Center, March 3rd through March 7th, and I had the privilege to volunteer as a Canisius MSA graduate student throughout the course of the tournament.
I attended the tournament with another graduate assistant in the MSA program, James Donovan. As student volunteers, our main responsibility was to conduct the Economic Impact Study for the MAAC. In order to obtain the data for the direct financial impact of the MAAC tournament on the city of Albany, surveys with economic questions were developed with input from the MAAC administration to analyze the expenditures of several groups of people associated with the MAAC Basketball Championships. The survey contained 20 questions, which asked demographics, affiliation, method of transportation, travel distance, attending habits, and spending behavior. All of the surveys were conducted before the start of the games, during halftime, and after the games. In order to entice fans to fill out a survey, Canisius sport administration gear, MAAC gear, and each school’s marketing signs were given out. James and I spent three full days collecting surveys, attending 14 games total, focusing on not only getting as many surveys as possible, but getting a range in the variety of local fans to out of town fans.
This experience was extremely interesting being a participant in business side of sports in order to learn how large tournaments economically impact the city in which they are being held. After meeting with Rich Ensor, the MAAC commissioner, and conducting the surveys over 3 days, I learned how significant economic statistics are when dealing with large sporting tournaments. The sports industry is a billion dollar business and if a city is holding a sporting event, they want to know if the event is financially benefiting the city. Conducting surveys such as the MAAC economic impact survey are crucial for providing an accurate sample size of money spent throughout a specific event, and in turn, discovering the direct financial impact on the city in which the event is being held. James and I are in the process of reviewing the results and analyzing the data from the survey before we send our results directly to the commissioner.
Post by Nick Cuomo, Junior, Sports Management major:
Sure, the class name may be a mouthful to say, but Sport Management Professional Development Seminar is a course that has already had an impact on my career path just weeks into the semester. Meeting professionals in the field and researching opportunities are both aspects of the class that have helped me continue the process of earning my degree while determining what I want to do after I graduate.
We have had the opportunity to hear from guest speakers, both involved in sport, and in business in general. One thing I can say for sure is that I’ve taken something positive away from each speaker no matter what their background is. Whether it is a tip for your future cover letters, resume or interview process, there is always something helpful you can take away from the speakers. Some even expressed current opportunities they have that we might be interested in. That sort of information may not apply to everyone, but to someone looking for a chance to gain experience and prove his or her worth, it is huge.
Building off the opportunities that speakers shared with us, we also have researched possible internship and entry-level job opportunities that interest us. This helps us narrow down what it is exactly that we want to do and informs us of what opportunities there are out there and how we can find them. This course has shown me the importance of websites like Handshake and LinkedIn, both of which I was relatively unfamiliar with before this semester. These sites are really important when it comes to networking and building connections and I’m glad I have more knowledge of them now.
Looking forward, there is a lot to be optimistic about in the course. Just this past week we began on the topic of resumes. They are such an integral part of the application process for internships and jobs, along with your cover letter. That is another topic that we will address later in the semester. I am excited to further work on my resume and to learn the do’s and don’ts of a cover letter. Having more knowledge on both resumes and cover letters will make applying for positions much easier in the future and I look forward to learning more about them this semester.
I was recently afforded the best opportunity of my young career in sports. A few weeks ago I traveled to San Francisco to work Super Bowl 50 as part of the NFL Public Relations Staff. I was offered one of the positions after working the NFL season as a graduate assistant in the media relations department for the Buffalo Bills. Being able to go to a Super Bowl was something I believed was a long shot a few years ago, but to be able to work at a Super Bowl was only a dream. Thankfully Canisius guided me in the right direction to put in a position to succeed, and achieve those dreams.
Shortly after arriving in California we were taken on a tour of the Media Center that was set up in San Francisco, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. It only took that one-day to start to realize the enormity of the event, and how many people it truly takes to make the largest event in North America go off without a hitch. The Super Bowl is more than just a Sunday a February now, it is a weeklong event that takes over a city. Fans and media from all over the world traveled to San Francisco to try and take in part of the Super Bowl experience.
My main assignment for the week leading up to the game was to the Denver Broncos quote team. This led me to attend all of the Broncos media sessions throughout the week. My job was to record and transcribe various player interviews, while less than what some would consider glamorous is still a very important part of the week for the Public Relations Staff. The PR staff is not only responsible for the quotes of the players and coaches, but also other responsibilities such as Radio Row, credentials, and other media assistance.
The days quickly flew by and after one more tour of the stadium it was game day. The morning of the game had a few meetings and then the PR staff was enroute to the stadium. With the most media ever attending a Super Bowl there was still jobs that needed to be taken care of before the media arrived to make sure that everything was in order when they arrived. I was able to sit in one of the auxiliary press boxes for the game to help assist the media with any problems during the game. Luckily my assignment for after the game remained the same as it was earlier in the week and I remained on the Denver Broncos quote team. With the Broncos win I was able to be on the field for the celebration and the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy. My assignment was to find inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and after he was done celebrating escort him to his post-game interview, record and transcribe. When I was done I returned to the press box to make sure the media members had everything they needed until their stories were written and they were ready to leave.
After a MVP and head coach press conference the next day I was able to finally reflect and soak in the experience I had just been apart of. A truly once in a lifetime experience I was ever so grateful to apart of. The NFL Public Relations Staff were amazing people to work with and truly wonderful at their jobs.
Canisius set me on a path to be afforded such an amazing opportunity while still in school. My experience also created a desire to make sure that this was not the last Super Bowl I was apart of.