Sports business degree paying off

Northern Kentucky University will offer a minor in sports business starting in the fall of 2012 adding onto the program. The major for sports business has been offered since the fall of 2002, and some students have taken advantage of it in its early years.
Matthew Wagner, a 2006 NKU graduate, is now the finance coordinator for the community fund of the Cincinnati Reds. He started at NKU in 2001 as a math and a science major but wanted to pursue a different path. According to Wagner, sports business adviser Tom Gamble mentored him when the program was in its infancy.
The Reds Community Fund reaches out to the local area to complete projects, such as building a ballpark for youth baseball and working with Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, a youth outreach program designed to increase interest in baseball and softball. The Reds Community Fund can be supported by fans purchasing their “Split the Pot” tickets at home games during the season.
Another NKU sports business major works with the Cincinnati Bengals. Jamie DeLong, a 2007 graduate, is the client services manager for the Bengals, which entails managing accounts with companies to make sure they are satisfied with their investments.
One factor that will keep the local customers pleased is that the Bengals will move training camp from Georgetown College to Paul Brown Stadium.
“I think it’s going to be awesome for local folks, for people who might not have had the time to head down to Georgetown,” DeLong said.
DeLong is currently in her fifth season with the Bengals. She said she saw a sign on the wall while at NKU for a marketing club meeting and noticed that the speaker was a female from the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I was intrigued and made sure I stopped by, and instantly said I need to meet her,” DeLong said.
She then did an internship with the Bengals. At the end of her internship, a position opened up, and she applied. DeLong is looking forward to implementing some marketing ideas when training camp arrives.
Another NKU alumna works in college athletics. Becky Jackson, a 2003 graduate, is the director of athletic development at Xavier University. She is responsible for programs that grow annual philanthropic support emphasizing on the All For One Fund that provides financial support to Xavier athletic programs. Her role is to make sure all the sports are balanced and supported the same amount.
Jackson likes the social aspect of her job.
“You really get to know people a little bit more,” Jackson said. “I see them all the time at games and we get to go out to lunch. It’s the relationship building that I like the best.”
She recently has received her master’s degree in sports administration from Xavier University and travels with the team.
Katie Pavel, a 2009 graduate, is the assistant director of athletics development at the University of Cincinnati. According to Pavel, one of her most important days of the year is National Signing Day, which includes football players to sign a letter of intent to play football for a certain collegiate program. The event was Feb. 1, and according to Pavel, there was a dinner for 250 people at the Kingsgate Marriott to get a behind-the-scenes look at all of the recruits.
Pavel is currently enjoying her career and is transitioning into a new role. She would like to work more with fundraising to sports donors.