Once again, this April, the NCAA Final Four had a fifth team—Lynn University.
For the 11th consecutive year, a select group of Lynn University students enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work and learn at the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four, one of the largest and most-popular sporting events in the world.
For six days in Phoenix, the eight men and six women worked with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Final Four Host Committee, official sponsors CapitalOne and Coca-Cola, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and many other organizations.
The group was overseen by Lynn professors Theodore Curtis, Charles Barr and David Schapiro. From activating NCAA corporate partners’ sponsorships to shepherding VIPs around town, the students earned first-hand experience about what it takes to conduct the massive college basketball event.
“Working on site at the Fan Fest, the open practices and the Salute Celebration really opened my eyes,” says sophomore Lourdes Rubero. “It was a lot of work and we really learned how it is all run.”
For sports management students, the experience served as an extension of their classroom educations.
“I was able to enhance my personal connection with my professors,” says senior Donald Gordon, “as well as receive constructive tips while working events and sitting in on interviews with players and coaches.”
For students in other majors, the experience was just as valuable.
“I want to work in sports psychology and so it was interesting to see, up-close, all the anxiety the players had,” says Rubero. “We had media credentials and so I watched the press interview with Gonzaga University’s head coach, Mark Few. His discussion of the mental work he has to do with his players was fascinating to me.”
Of course, the students had the chance to have a little fun as well, from shooting hoops on the actual Final Four floor in the heart of the massive 75,000 stadium to playing knockout with University of North Carolina student-athletes to, of course, attending the national semifinals and national championship game.
“Choosing Lynn, I knew that they offered great trips like this to students,” says Gordon. “I will never forget the hands-on experience I had working at the Final Four. It really was amazing.”
This story originally appeared in iPulse on .