Monthly Archives: February 2019

Super Bowl LIII Recap

By David Dietrich

February 22, 2019

For the second year in a row, I was fortunate enough to be selected to work at the Super Bowl Experience as a member of the BGSU Sport Management Alliance. Last year’s trip was one of the best experiences of my life, and I had very high expectations for this trip. I wanted to take advantage of everything that Atlanta offered and genuinely soak in the experience. For much of last year’s trip, I was shell-shocked by the enormity of the entire spectacle, so I did not take much time to step back and think about how lucky I was. We had a slightly more relaxed schedule this year, so I had some time to literally sit down and soak it in.

I worked at the fan experience on Wednesday and Thursday, helping the guests at some of the attractions. My shifts included the NFL Draft Simulation, Champions Ring Display, and Punt Return Simulation. Each one offered different opportunities for different fans, so I was able to talk to and interact with fans of all ages. Many fans were proudly dressed in Falcons gear, with some Patriots and Rams fans spread throughout. Other popular teams included the Steelers, Panthers, and Saints.

On game day, my official title was “On Location Experience Wayfinder.” I was stationed directly outside of the pre-game party entrance, directing guests to their parties. There were three separate parties, so I had to inform the guests which direction their specific party would be. Unlike last year, this did not occur in the stadium, so we did not get to stay for the game. While this was a letdown, we knew in advance it was unlikely we would work inside the stadium. Fortunately, our credentials allowed us to enter the stadium on Saturday, which was our day off.

SB4

The main entrance to Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is truly breathtaking, especially when it is prepared to host the biggest event in American sports. We were not allowed on the field, but we could get as close as the first row in the corner of the end zone. After taking a few pictures there, I decided I had enough time to trek to the top row and get the best view of the stadium. I spent about 20 minutes sitting in the top row, soaking in the view. I thought about how blessed I was to be able to be on this trip, sit in the stadium, and be a part of another Super Bowl.

SB2

My panoramic view from the top row of Mercedez-Benz Stadium

There are countless aspects that go into the planning and execution of the Super Bowl, but I particularly wanted to observe the media’s presence throughout the week. Media Day occurred on Monday, which was before we began traveling. I saw some of the highlights online, but they appeared to be the typical question and answer interviews that happen every year. During the week’s festivities, I witnessed several media members actively creating content.

One thing that stood out to me at the Fan Experience was the massive number of reporters. They often walked around with a camera and microphone, looking for interactive events and passionate fans. Some fans were interviewed, others were filmed while they participated in events. A handful of reporters participated in the events themselves, microphone and all. On gameday, I noticed a separate entrance for those with media passes. Security was extremely tight, so I assumed the area was reserved to screen the equipment being brought in by reporters, journalists, or photographers.

My biggest takeaway from the week was how important it is to pay attention to every detail, no matter how big or small. It could be making sure the case surrounding the rings is secure or making sure a local news reporter is able to get a clear shot of the Lombardi Trophy. It could also be taking a picture of a Falcons fan next to a replica jersey or directing a fan to the NFL shop. Our goal was to provide a unique and memorable experience for each fan, so maintaining enthusiasm and positivity were incredibly important during our long shifts.

My personal highlight occurred at Super Bowl Live, an outdoor event that was free to the public. Among the attractions was an interview stage, and I stood in the fourth row while Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was interviewed by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.

SB5

Browns QB Baker Mayfield answering questions from Jay Glazer

I was in awe of the presence of both men, one being my favorite athlete and the other being one of my favorite NFL media members. Witnessing a live media event from a close distance was remarkable, especially considering the people who were involved. This singular event was my favorite part of the week, but the entire experience is something I will never forget.

I would like to thank BGSU and the Sport Management faculty for preparing our group for the trip, we could not have done it without your expertise and support! I would also like to thank Cory Radebaugh and the rest of the Sport Management Alliance for organizing everything, their hard work and dedication made the trip a success! Finally, I would like to thank friends, family, and the community of Bowling Green for supporting me and my classmates, we are grateful for everything you do for us!

Media Spreads the Word about Jazz Matthews

By Dr. Nancy E. Spencer

February 19, 2019

The entries that we post on Maxwell Media Watch typically focus on critiques of the media with suggestions for how they could do better. This post will be different since it recognizes the outstanding work of several area media outlets that have shared the story of a former BGSU student and basketball stand-out. Thanks to a story that appeared in the Toledo Blade (Briggs, 2019) and another that was broadcast on WTOL (Paley, 2019), tens of thousands of dollars have been raised in support of a woman who needs a miracle.

If you follow BGSU Women’s Basketball, you may be familiar with Jasmine Matthews (Jazz), who played on the team from 2011-2015. The Toledo Blade writer David Briggs (2019) described her as “the picture of athletic grace, a sweet-shooting guard for the Bowling Green women’s basketball team” (para. 1).

Jazz was a Sport Management major as an undergraduate and decided to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Sport Administration. I was fortunate to have Jasmine in my classes as both an undergraduate student and as her graduate adviser.

I vividly remember the day that Jazz told me what she decided to do for her Master’s Project. She had been talking to her godfather (Gerald) who was the head coach at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. Gerald knew that Jazz had been contemplating a career in coaching after she finished her master’s program.

But he had a better idea.

“Officiating.”

At first, Jazz was skeptical about the suggestion. But as Gerald talked to her more, he began to convince her that her training and knowledge of the game, plus her fitness made her a prime candidate to succeed as a basketball official. She could get experience at an entry level, and if she did well, she could eventually advance to Division I women’s basketball.

Once she was convinced, Jasmine pursued the idea with all the vigor of a motivated athlete who suddenly sees the big picture and trains hard to prepare for the biggest game of her life. Better yet, her godfather’s suggestion gave her an idea for what she could do for her Master’s Project.

As Jazz filled me in on what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, she explained how it related to her idea for a final project. She wanted to write about her experiences in becoming an official. We discussed the idea of doing an autoethnography, which would enable her to integrate her personal experiences with literature about her potential career path. She even found an autoethnography by another woman who had played basketball in college – Claire Schaeperkoetter (2016), whose article on “Basketball officiating as a gendered arena” became the template for her to examine and reflect upon her own experiences.

In December 2016, Jasmine completed her project and received her Master’s degree.

A year later, she was diagnosed with MS, “multiple sclerosis… the insidious disease with no cure that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord” (Briggs, 2019, para. 6). Within three weeks, she had lost everything, and was completely disabled (Paley, 2019).

Jazz has made progress in fighting the disease, but she needs support to take the next step in her journey. Thanks to a doctor who lives near her home, Dr. Richard Burt, she is a candidate for “the use of stem cell transplants to treat” her (Briggs, 2019, para. 15). But the treatment is expensive and her insurance does not cover it. Therefore, Jazz set up a GoFundMe page on Facebook to raise the $125,000 needed for the treatment. Nearly $60,000 in donations have already been contributed by 790 people, as of this writing.

Jasmine’s dream to become a basketball official is still alive. She concluded her interview on WTOL by saying, “Once I get my life back I plan on being a Division I official, referee” (Paley, 2019, para. 14).

Jazz has only begun to write her story, and I cannot wait to read the next chapter!

Briggs, D. (2019, February 12). As a former BG player hopes for a ‘miracle,’ a basketball community rallies. The Toledo Blade. Retrieved from https://www.toledoblade.com/sports/bgsu/2019/02/12/former-bowling-green-falcons-player-jasmine-matthews-battles-multiple-sclerosis/stories/20190212137

Paley, T. (2019, February 12). Community donated thousands to former BGSU basketball player with MS. WTOL.com. Retrieved from http://www.wtol.com/2019/02/12/community-donates-thousands-former-bgsu-basketball-player-with-ms/

Schaeperkoetter, C. (2016). Basketball officiating as a gendered arena: An autoethnography. Sport Management Review, 128-141.

BGSU Sport Management Students Experience Super Bowl LIII First-hand

By Dr. Nancy Spencer, Professor in Sport Management, BGSU

February 3, 2019

Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people standing

About ten days before Super Bowl 2006 was played in Detroit, BGSU Distinguished Alum Dick Maxwell (recently inducted into BGSU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni)  organized a Super Bowl panel of experts who spoke to BGSU’s Sport Management students and faculty. Through his position in the NFL Commissioner’s Office as Senior Director of NFL Broadcasting for 36 years, one of Maxwell’s responsibilities was to coordinate the annual Super Bowl broadcasts. Among those who appeared on the 2006 panel were NFL representatives in public relations/communications, broadcasting, international media, game security, and the Vice President in charge of the Super Bowl. Before the panel began, ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman introduced then Sport Management Association (SMA) President Stephanie Serda via a taped message.

In addition to hearing from the distinguished panel of experts, Maxwell explained that the company that the NFL hired to put on the NFL Experience and the NFL Tailgate Party interviewed BGSU Sport Management students who volunteered to work at the 2006 Super Bowl. Dr. Jacquelyn Cuneen, Professor Emeritus in the Sport Management Program, said that, “We sent 20 kids to Detroit for the week to help with the festivities and 20 more on game day.” As a result of their work at Super Bowl XL, SMA students from BGSU volunteered the following year in Tampa Bay. Thanks to rave reviews about the performances of those first SMA student volunteers, BGSU students have been able to volunteer for subsequent Super Bowls.

Fast forward to 2019 and Super Bowl LIII is being held in Atlanta, GA. This year, 24 SMA students from BGSU are volunteering in preparation for game day (see photo above). The students left for Atlanta this past Tuesday and have been working “at the Super Bowl Experience at Georgia World Congress Center” (Piotrowicz, 2019, para. 10). Among the activities of student volunteers was to “guide visitors through exhibits and help them get photographs with the Lombardi Trophy that the winning team will hoist after Sunday’s game” (Dupont, 2019, para. 8). On game day, the “BGSU students will assist the 1,700 fans who bought $20,000 Super Bowl packages” by helping them “find their way around Mercedes-Benz Stadium” (Dupont, 2019, para. 11).

SMA Adviser, Dr. Amanda Paule-Koba explained that by “going to the Super Bowl they can see what they learned about in the classroom enacted in the real world” (Dupont, 2019, para. 13). Several students who volunteered at last year’s Super Bowl echoed the value of their NFL experience. As current SMA President Kyle Edmond said, “being part of the experience shows how much planning goes into the Super Bowl, a worthwhile trip for a group of students who are interested in working in the sports industry after college” (Piotrowicz, 2019, para. 14). Cory Radebaugh, another student who volunteered last year, said that unlike previous years when students were able to see the game, “no volunteers will be allowed on the concourse after kick-off” in this year’s game (Dupont, 2019, para. 26).

Regardless of which team wins Super Bowl LIII, the 24 SMA students who volunteered in Atlanta will bring back the memories of a lifetime. I look forward to some of them sharing about their experiences on the Maxwell Media Watch. BGSU faculty members and students are grateful to Mr. Maxwell for affording our students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

References

Dupont, D. (2019, January 31). BGSU sports management team headed to Super Bowl. BG Independent Media. Retrieved from http://bgindependentmedia.org/bgsu-sports-management-team-headed-to-super-bowl/

Piotrowicz, N. (2019, January 28). BGSU students fundraise way to Super Bowl LIII. Toledo Blade. Retrieved from https://www.toledoblade.com/sports/bgsu/2019/01/28/bowling-green-bgsu-students-fundraise-super-bowl-LIII/stories/20190128136