A new element of the MAAC Championship week will be the addition of the MAAC Honor Roll Dinner on Friday, March 2 at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The Honor Roll Dinner is a cultivation event built around the MAAC’s presence in the Hall of Fame for the next three years. It also helps to leverage the Hall of Fame brand and its national visibility with the MAAC championships. The purpose of the Honor Roll Dinner is to recognize past MAAC student athletes on their success in life after MAAC basketball. Each school will be honoring one male and one female basketball alumni (coach or player) that evening. (Click here to view entire honorees list)
The honorees will receive a special recognition from a Hall of Fame legend at the dinner and each honoree will be added to the MAAC exhibit at the Hall of Fame. Jack Powers, Director of the NIT, will speak on behalf of the entire induction class. John Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will also give remarks along with Hall of Famer Gale Goodrich. The honorees profile and photo will be added to the video display at the MAAC experience as well. Honorees will be recognized in between the men’s first round games this Friday and be interviewed in a broadcast during the tournament. There will also be a four page profile on each honoree in the basketball championship program.
The 2012 MAAC Honor Roll Dinner will allow the MAAC to recognize individuals that have made a difference on each MAAC campus. This will be an unforgettable night for all the honorees.
Beyond the actual basketball games, the MAAC basketball championships in Springfield, Massachusetts include numerous community outreach programs designed to engage fans and non-fans alike. The MAAC Championships allow the MAAC to give back to the community in different ways. The league has programs that give elementary school students the opportunity to get to know what college sports are all about and give students the chance to experience MAAC basketball. Two programs that are intertwined with our MAAC Basketball Championships are MAAC Gives Back and Bus Brigade.
MAAC Gives Back is a community outreach program in its 17th season. This program allows MAAC student athletes to become pen pals with grade school students in Springfield, Mass, where this year’s championship is being held. Through the correspondence, the students receive the opportunity to personally know the MAAC student athletes on a personal level. The MAAC schools also send team gear, schedules, and posters to the elementary school for the classroom. This livens up the discussion held in the classroom.
Another component to the MAAC Gives Back program is the essay contest. The contest asked the participating students in the program to explain why sports and fitness are important to everyday life. The league received dozens of letters from participants and a committee chose the best written essay. This year’s winner, from Center School in Springfield, will be honored at the post season award show on March 1. Teachers are encouraged to use this program to educate the students about stats (as used in basketball) the location of schools (relative to geology discussions), and other related topics.
Another program is Bus Brigade which is a community outreach program that gives elementary school students a ticket to our Women’s basketball championship game and transportation to the game. The MAAC subsidizes the cost of the buses which allows elementary students to attend the game. The league funds this program because it believes that the MAAC student athletes are great examples of players who excelled on the playing court and in the classroom. As such, they serve as good role models for the students attending the game.
The league also provides students with goodie bags (items donated from our sponsors). The MAAC will also usually have a speaker come in and talk to the kids, and this year’s speaker is WWE wrestler David Otunga, who will speak to the kids about issues related to bullying. It is anticipated that over 1040 students will be participating in the program this year.
Community outreach programs are crucial because they show the commitment from the MAAC to the community that hosts the championships. These experiences will leave lasting impressions on students that hopefully have a positive impact on them for the rest of their lives. As a former student-athlete myself at Saint Peter’s College, I participated in these programs while playing basketball. I’ve witnessed young students hanging onto every word spoken as MAAC athletes or coaches would speak to them in the classroom. I also recall in my own life when Tammy Sutton Brown, a former Rutgers University standout, coming to my summer camp and talking to us about basketball the summer going into 5th grade. Her speech inspired me to be just like her, a 6’2 dominating force in the paint. Unfortunately that never happened because I was a point guard, but Tammy’s speech did motivate me to work harder on the court, in the classroom, and in everyday life. These programs have encouraged students in the past and I’m certain students attending this year’s programs will continue to be encouraged.
One valuable element to the 2012 MAAC Men’s and Women’s basketball championships is the local community in Springfield, Massachusetts. As marketers, we have to find different ways to inform the local community about the championship and provide them with the opportunity to experience all the events we have to offer. In the last few blogs I’ve discussed the marketing efforts that are being done on each campus, through our ESPN3 broadcasts, and online at maacsports.com, but I haven’t discussed the things we are working on with the local community.
In engaging the community, the first step is to educate the local audience about the MAAC, its schools, its student athletes, and its coaches. Because Springfield is a very diverse city, with a large Hispanic and African American population, we are looking to feature different Hispanic and African American student athletes and coaches. A local Hispanic newspaper is working on having interviews with different athletes that are of Hispanic descent. Damika Martinez, a half Puerto Rican half African American freshman women’s basketball player from Iona for instance, is having a stellar season, currently second in scoring in the MAAC, averaging 15.4 points a game. We are working on having a feature about her in the local newspaper. We may also do a feature on Sydney Johnson, an African American head coach who is doing a tremendous job with Fairfield’s men team in his first season at the MAAC.
In addition to the above public relations elements, the MAAC is working on promotional elements of the championship to drive more participation like FanFest, Bounce to the Arena, the Cheer & Dance Clinic, and the College Fair, all of which we would like the local community to participate in. The FanFest will be held the Exhibition Hall in the MassMutual Center during the championships. Each MAAC school will have a display at the Fanfest. There will be inflatable displays, interactive games, a full-sized basketball court, and local exhibits. This event is free to the public. FanFest should attract the local audience along with our usual MAAC fans as well. (Click here for more information)
The MAAC’s Bounce to the Arena, will take place on March 4th. This program gives local Springfield youth groups a ticket to a men’s semi-final game, and the opportunity to literally bounce a basketball to the arena. Kids will dribble basketballs from Naismith Hall of Fame to the MassMutual Center arena. This program includes a t-shirt, a ball, and game admission. (Click here for more information)
The Cheer and Dance Clinic will take place on March 3rd in the Fanfest from 10:30am until 1:00pm. This program is geared towards kids interested in cheerleading and dance ages 5-12. They will have the opportunity to practice a routine with MAAC cheer teams, and perform the route on March 4th, at half time during a men’s semi-final game. (Click here for more information)
The College Fair, which is on Friday, March 2 at the MassMutual Center, is an administrative event for the local community. All ten MAAC institutions will have a campus representative present to discuss enrollment, majors, and financial aid at each institution. This is a great opportunity for students interested in attending college to talk to administrators on a one-on- one basis. It is aimed at high school juniors, but all students are welcomed to attend. (Click here for more information)
The Republican and Westfield Evening news will be pitching stories about these events, which will cause the local community to understand what our championship is all about. Our marketing affiliates from the MassMutual Center have been in contact with ABC/FOX, who are looking to capture these events. These marketing components will make a different and reach audiences that we may have missed thus far. These stories and interviews will help the Springfield area relate to the MAAC and the players/coaches that make up the conference.
This article falls into the category of being careful of what you think of when writing a blog story. In my previous blog, I made a note to myself that the MAAC needed to begin a PR campaign on how close Springfield, Massachusetts is to most of our school campuses. This is needed to address any misconceptions like those I heard while traveling on the road with Nate Harris, from the Mass Mutual Center, and the rest of the marketing team when fans question how far Springfield was compared to previous championship sites.
My new task is to develop methods to change fans perception on MassMutual Center’s distance from their institutions by providing them with factoids that individually address this issue on a campus by campus basis. I put together a chart that showed the time it would take to get from each MAAC campuses to the MassMutual Center and the distance between each campus and Springfield. (Click here to view chart)
In the chart, I added a column that showed the distance for each campus to the Times Union Center in Albany, and the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. For instance, in the case of Albany, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, and Saint Peter’s are closer to Springfield than Times Union Center. Loyola and Rider are nearly the same distance away from each location, and Canisius, Niagara, and Marist are a little bit further away than Albany.
Once we had developed the information, the marketing team discussed different ways to distribute this information to the MAAC fans. Nate Harris has developed one-sheeters that will be giving out by the marketing team at our future campus visits. Each one-sheeter will be specific to the game and campus we are visiting. For instance, today we are heading to a men’s basketball game where Fairfield is taking on Manhattan. We will be handing out one-sheeters that will have the Stag’s logo, and specific facts about the time it takes to travel from Fairfield to Springfield. We will also include facts about Massachusetts including the number of restaurants and hotels in the Springfield area.
I also have developed taglines that have information about the distances that the public address announcer will be reading during MAAC basketball games for the remainder of the season. For instance, at a women’s Marist home game you will hear, “Marist fans, did you know the MassMutual Center is only 100 miles away from the McCann Arena. Come support the Marist Red Foxes on the quest to their 7th consecutive MAAC Women’s Basketball Championship title. Individual session tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.com”. These reads are helpful and will get the attention of fans in the arena. Additionally, web ads have been developed to use on site that provide similar messaging on the closeness of Springfield.
Lastly, we put together graphics and text for our ESPN3 and ESPNU broadcasts. The graphics that will be displayed on the screen will have facts about the distance from a specific area (Albany, Poughkeepsie, NYC area, etc.) to Springfield, along with information about the championships including dates and ticketing. The script that the commentator reads will coincide with the graphic. If we continue to educate and provide MAAC fans with information about the MassMutual Center and the city of Springfield, it will increase the championships ability to attract more fans to the event.
6:15 am - BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! I roll over and turn off my alarm as it goes off. I get up, pull back the curtains of my hotel room and look out over Springfield, Massachusetts. The sunlight peeks in and I begin to get ready for the long day ahead of me. I go through a checklist in my head of what is on my agenda for the day: Meeting at 8:30, Luncheon at 12:00, Hospital visit at 2:30, and a basketball quadruple header at the MassMutual Center to follow. At that moment it is clear I will not be returning to my room for quite awhile. I quickly get ready and head down to the hotel lobby on my way to the 8:30 meeting.
8:30 am - I have a planning meeting for the MAAC Basketball Championships that will be coming up in March. It amazes me how a five day event needs a whole year of planning. I get lost in the talk of budgets and ticketing, but I quickly try to get a grasp of what is going on. I find it amazing how much detail goes into promoting the tournament e.g. the layout of different promotional advertisements and where to place them in the arena. I never thought that there was a strategic plan to place them in prominent areas. I figured the tournament would be promoted in the immediate Springfield area, but to plan out what newspapers to target in neighboring states and cities was something I never thought about. Along with the campus initiatives that are carefully planned to boost ticket sales, there are different components that go into a tournament that I did not account for.
10:30 am - The meeting comes to an end and I look for a quick recharge with Panera Bagels and coffee before we take off to the next event at the Basketball Hall of Fame. By noon we are sitting at center court at the HOF . The ‘Service Above Self’ luncheon honored two people who put service above themselves. I am very excited not only to be in the HOF, but because I am only feet away from one of my idols, Rebecca Lobo. I am surprised to see that she is one of the honored guests. When I was in elementary school, the WNBA was in its infancy and she was one of the key players that started the league. I had a jersey with her name on it that I wore at least once a week, until the thing almost fell apart in the wash. To be that close to her, and to see her speak is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and what better stage for it to be set at than the HOF.
12:15 pm - During the luncheon, while some people are talking I find my attention wandering to all the inductees who lined the ceiling of the hall. All the faces and names that have made an impact on one of the most loved games today was a sight to see. There is room for more plaques, making me wonder what great players will be gracing the walls of the HOF in the years to come.
1:30 pm - Off to my next activity, Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Jill, Tania and I load into the van and head off to meet up with the Fairfield men’s team for the hospital visit. I see this van ride as my chance to get in a quick power nap, since I am not sure when I will have a chance for another break. My relaxation time is short lived. Before I know it, I am at the hospital. When we arrive we meet up with the Fairfield men’s basketball team who are taking a tour of the hospital and bringing toys and gifts to the patients. Shiner’s hospital is not just an ordinary children’s hospital. It is a hospital that, amongst other things, corrects deformities and provides prosthesis and cleft palate reconstruction for children of different ages. Usually hospitals smell of antiseptic and have stark white walls. However, at the Shriner’s hospital, I find it to be a very warm and inviting place, no antiseptic smell, and colorful murals on the wall . There is even a play house in the middle of the waiting room for children to climb on. As we toured the facility, it amazes me just how much work the hospital staff does for the children. Usually, on the news or in heroic stories I hear of adults who have lost limbs or suffered injuries, but rarely do I hear about children who experience similar disfigurements. The Fairfield players are out and about interacting with the patients. There is one child who is getting fitted for his wheelchair and I can tell he is going through a rough time. He becomes excited when he sees the basketball team. One of the player’s walks up to him, gives him a t-shirt, and speaks to him in Spanish. The child immediately changes his mood. The little boy is so happy and excited. The small gesture made his day.
3:30 pm - I have already accomplished more than most people do in a day, however, I am just gearing up for the second half of my day. We head to the MassMutual Center to watch the quadruple header that is taking place. While I prepare myself to watch the games, I slowly lose my wind and I see a coffee run in my near future.
7:00 pm - In desperate need of caffeine, I walk the two blocks back to the hotel to refuel with some much needed Dunkin Donuts. I order an extra-large coffee, in hopes that it will keep me awake for the next 5 hours.
7:45 pm - The Siena Saints play the UMass Minutemen. The Saints pull an early lead. However, as the game goes on, the Minutemen slowly chip away at the point spread. The Saints end up losing the game in the last few minutes with a final score of 78-82.
9:15 pm - In between games I talk to Joe Desantis one of the members of the upcoming MAAC Honor Roll Event. He played for Fairfield in the 70’s and will be a member of the first class to be honored at the prestigious MAAC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. I find it interesting as I start to discuss his playing days with him. Being a college athlete myself, I can relate to his stories in many ways. He says a few things that I find very insightful. He notes how very humble and privileged he is to be included in the first induction class. There is one particular thing that strikes me most when I am talking to him and reflecting on his playing career. While he enjoyed his years playing at Fairfield, and he credits Fairfield for giving him an education that has lasted longer than four years, it was his role as an athlete that has helped him become successful. When I ask him what piece of advice he has for current student-athletes he says, “Be selfish, prioritize, and have fun, but don’t forget why you’re here. Academics come first. After you leave the institution you will continue to learn, teach, and grow, in your professional and personal life”.
9:30 pm - The Fairfield Stags play Old Dominion University. It is the last matchup of the quadruple header. The Stags play very well together as a team. Once they take the lead in the second half, they run with it, defeating the Monarch’s with a score of 59-51.
Midnight - Finally I arrive at the hotel for the night. I crawl into my bed, thinking of the day I just experienced. The thought of it all makes me all the more exhausted. As I fall asleep, one thought is left in my head, “If this is a preview, I certainly have my work cut out for me in March.”
The 2011 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classis took place at Mohegan Sun Resort in Connecticut, and I was fortunate enough to be working this event. The tournament took place on Saturday, November 19th and Sunday, November 20th, with the tournament being broken up into two brackets, the Naismith and Springfield bracket. The Naismith bracket featured Kentucky, Old Dominion, Penn State, and University of South Florida, while the Springfield bracket featured Marist, Vermont, Long Island University, and Radford. On Friday my job was to supervise team practices for Penn State, Old Dominion, Radford, and University of South Florida at the brand new practice facility of the Connecticut Sun. The facility was so new that teams couldn’t use anything except the courts. The teams couldn’t use the locker rooms or the showers because these were not completed. This facility is one of the nicest ones I have ever seen to date. Staffing these practices gave me a chance to meet the head coaches of the basketball teams and observe how these teams conduct practices. What a great experience it was, having only seen these teams on TV and now getting to watch them up close and personal.
That night we had a banquet dinner with all the teams, along with some Hall of Famers. Nancy Lieberman, one of the Hall of Famers and an Old Dominion alum, gave a speech about her life and how it feels to be in the Hall of Fame. Other Hall of Fame inductees that were in attendance were CM Newton, a former Kentucky player who coached Transylvania College, University of Alabama and Vanderbilt University; Dan Issel, a two time all American player for Kentucky and former coach of the Denver Nuggets; and Tommy Heinsohn, an eight-time NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics and a six time NBA all-star.
My job throughout the event was to be a team greeter and supervise the back of house. Back of house refers to the part of an arena that is not accessible to the public. To manage this area, you have to learn the flooring plan of the arena and where everything and anything is just in case a team needs it. For example, one question I received was if it was possible to get a projector and a monitor to Radford’s locker room for their late game. I had to get in contact with the facilities manager and see if they had a projector/monitor and if it was possible to have it in a locker room. I also was in charge of making sure the locker rooms were switched over for the next team to come in, and that the rooms were filled with Powerade and fruit for the teams when they arrived. Along with the back of house I was the team greeter, welcoming the teams as they arrived at the arena and showing them to the locker room they would use that day.
Kentucky and Penn State started off the tournament off with a noon time tip on Saturday, with Kentucky fans packing the Mohegan Sun Arena. While Kentucky and Penn State were playing, I was arranging the locker rooms for the next two teams that would arrive and checking on the status of the officials’ locker room. As the game went on, the radio personnel for the second game showed up and I had to show them where they would be stationed and help them set up. After the game was over, I assisted with the press conferences. When someone raised a hand to ask a question, I would walk a microphone over so the question could be heard by the entire room. In my mind that was a cool perk of the job, as I have only seen press conferences on TV and to be part of running one was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. As game two started between Old Dominion and USF, I was busy making sure that the previously used locker rooms were getting cleaned and nothing was left from the past teams. Soon the next two teams were showing up and the second game was over, and I was back to making sure the locker rooms were clean and ready to go for the last teams to come in.
After a long Saturday, Sunday was scheduled for another day filled with basketball. Game 1 was the championship game of the Naismith bracket featuring Kentucky and Old Dominion. My job again for the day was to be a team greeter and to supervise any issues the teams had about their locker rooms or any general questions about the facility. While setting up for game two on Sunday, Rajon Rondo a former Kentucky player and now point guard for the Boston Celtics showed up to support his old team and watch them win the Naismith bracket. As part of working the back of house, I had to make sure the trophy was delivered on time and was nice and shiny. Than I had to again make sure the locker rooms were clean and ready to go for the next two teams to come in. The championship game for the Springfield bracket featured Long Island vs. Vermont. Again my job was to make sure the trophy was delivered on time and make the trophy look like it just came out of the box.
With the tournament over and the champions crowned it was time to break everything down and clean up. On our way out the Radford team manager stopped us to say how great the tournament was run, how they loved the experience, and most of all how they would do this every year if they could. For a team that went 0-2 in the tournament to tell you how successful the tournament was run is a great feeling. It makes you feel that the long weekend was worth it in every way. This tournament was one of the reasons why working in college sports is the right career for me.
Welcome back to MAAC: Behind the Logo. My name is James Ketterer, and I am the Administrative Fellow for Championships. I started working with the MAAC in the beginning of August; so far it has been great. I found out that as part of my job I will be attending almost every championship event. How awesome is it to get paid to watch Division I sports or just sports in general?
As part of my job, I have been on two site visits. One was to Saint Peter’s, and one was to Lake Mercer; each was very different. Saint Peter’s is hosting the MAAC Volleyball Championship. This is the first time Saint Peter’s has hosted a conference championship event in a long time. I think Saint Peter’s is more excited about hosting than any one I have ever seen, but then again I have only been here since August.
While on the site visit to Saint Peter’s, we encountered a couple challenges. At past MAAC volleyball championships, the host has had an auxiliary gym for teams to have their warm-up serve and pass, but Saint Peter’s does not have an auxiliary gym. MAAC staff and Saint Peter’s staff went through several options to find a solution; we talked about closing one side of the gym, but, but feared that this would make the gym look unattractive with a giant curtain covering one side. Also that curtain would be the only thing separating the championship court from the student-athletes practicing. Another option we discussed was to rent a volleyball court floor. Saint Peter’s has a bubble on the roof of the Yanitelli Center that is used for tennis, and a portable floor could be placed on top of the tennis courts. The teams would be able to use the portable court as a warm-up space. The third option was to have the teams travel to an off-site location for their warm-ups and serve and pass. With this option, there is always the possibility of an unforeseen delay due to travel time or traffic. With all these possible solutions floating around, the MAAC staff along with help from the volleyball committee will have to come up with a definitive answer prior to the next site visit to Saint Peter’s.
Site visits are also a great way for an intern to network with athletic administrators around the league. Lake Mercer is the site not only for a MAAC Championship, but also a NCAA Championship. Schools from all over the country will be taking part in this event. As part of this site visit, I drove to Philadelphia to meet Larry Hiser, the Director of Athletics at Marietta College in Ohio. Mr. Hiser is a member of the NCAA Rowing Committee. Picking Mr. Hiser up from the airport was a great way to meet a new contact, and to also learn about Marietta College in Ohio and the work Mr. Hiser does for the athletics program. This trip to the airport was a great way to network myself and learn about a sports program outside of the schools in the MAAC.
The next day was the Lake Mercer official site visit. Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was that the water was extremely high, covering things it probably shouldn’t. Most of the area where people would normally walk, all the seats, and even part of the gazebo were flooded. While sitting in on a meeting with fellow MAAC staff, the NCAA Rowing Committee, and some NCAA staff, we ran into a couple challenges, none of which were serious enough that they couldn’t be solved. For example, one concern was how and where to place the cameras so the wireless relay could cover the race course from start to finish. At this time we decided to take a look at the layout of the race course and where potential cameras could go. After taking a ride out onto the lake we came to a conclusion that it would be best to install floating docks for several cameras, with one moving boat camera to capture all the action of the championship. Working through these obstacles was an easy task when everyone in the room was focused on one thing-running the best possible NCAA Rowing Championship. I think Lake Mercer is the perfect place for the MAAC and the NCAA to work together for a Championship. If you would like a firsthand experience at what the NCAA rowing championship is like, click here.
I am looking forward to working these championships and all of the upcoming MAAC events. My first championship will be the MAAC Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Championships at Van Cortlandt Park, immediately followed by a trip to the MAAC Men’s Soccer Championship at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. I can’t wait for all the excitement of championship season to start and all the things that come with it.
Perhaps one of the most difficult and misunderstood positions in college athletics is that of the compliance coordinator. Essentially the traffic cop of an athletic department, the compliance coordinator is responsible for determining the initial and continuing eligibility of student-athletes, overseeing all recruiting operations, investigating alleged rules violations, monitoring student-athletes amateur status, and educating coaches and players on the NCAA and conference rules. The compliance coordinator is the person in the athletic department who most often utters the words “no” and “not permissible”.
There are many ways that a compliance coordinator can help student-athletes. One way of helping is to support the student-athlete by submitting waivers on his/her behalf. These waivers can be for reasons of medical hardship due to illness or injury or academic difficulties. By collecting and processing the necessary paperwork, the compliance coordinator can help student-athletes maintain progress academically as well as athletically.
The compliance coordinator is the watchdog who ensures that a student-athlete’s name or image is not used for commercial exploitation. The NCAA bylaws prohibit athletes from having their image, or likeness, used in any form of advertising or promotions. Failure to comply with such bylaws will not only place the institution in violation, but could also result in a student-athlete losing amateur status. It is the responsibility of the compliance coordinator to help monitor and track all promotional and charitable activities athletes engage in. The smallest thing could render them ineligible and make them lose their student-athlete status.
While it seems compliance coordinators mostly deal with the student-athletes, they are also responsible for assessing the recruiting activities of the coaches. Coordinators work with coaches to help regulate the recruiting of prospective student-athletes. They track phone calls, official and unofficial visits, text messaging, contacts and evaluations, camps and clinics, offers and inducements, and transfer eligibility. There are specific timelines coaches have to follow when contacting prospects. Compliance coordinators have to make sure that coaches are following the NCAA bylaws and recruiting calendars.
Compliance coordinators help student-athletes by monitoring and enforcing practice time limits during a playing season. Participating on a college sports team is a full time job for student-athletes. In addition to practice times, there are film reviews and strength and conditioning sessions that the student-athletes have to attend. Enforcing the NCAA’s daily and weekly limits on the number of practice hours gives student-athletes ample time to complete their academic responsibilities.
In terms of continuing eligibility, the compliance coordinators must ensure that student-athletes are meeting their academic requirements as outlined by the NCAA. Each semester, compliance coordinators monitor a student-athlete’s credit hours requirements, making sure he or she is eligible to compete the following semester. Student-athletes are required to enroll in at least 12 credit hours per semester and pass a minimum of 6 credits per semester. Compliance coordinators also monitor grade point average and percent of degree completion requirements. If student-athletes do not meet the prescribed guidelines, they will become ineligible and unable to compete in the next academic year.
While it is the student-athletes and coaches that perform on the field, part of their success can be attributed to compliance coordinators. Through their collaborative effort with student-athletes and coaches, compliance coordinators help keep student-athletes successful on the playing fields as well as in the classroom.
When you think of a box office, what is the first thought that comes to mind? You probably think of a small rectangular booth, with a big machine that produces tickets as they are purchased, and one tiny window so there can be an exchange of money for credential. But what if I told you that times have changed, and with the new technologies we have in our everyday lives, that a box office can be as manageable as a laptop, internet connection, and a USB scanner. Even your smartphone and tablet can be used as ticket scanners. Yes, this is the next generation of ticket sales.
The MAAC has taken this next step into ticket sales technology and now uses an online platform for sales. The MAAC has partnered with TicketLeap.com to be the ticket provider for the Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, the Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships, the Volleyball Championship, the Water Polo Championship, Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse, the Softball Championship, and Baseball Championship from the 2009-10 through 2012-13 seasons. TicketLeap.com is designed to make creating events and selling tickets easier. They give the MAAC assistance and opportunities that have never been available in previous years for ticket sales during championships.
One asset that the next generation of ticket sales delivers is the box office and operations set-ups are much more manageable. The box office equipment required are a laptop, internet connection, a USB barcode scanner (for advance tickets purchased), and a USB credit card swipe (for on-site sales). This box office can be easily packed/unpacked and taken to multiple locations for sales and check-in. This creates box office location advantages since it can be set up in almost any location as long as there is power and an internet connection. As stated earlier, even smartphones and tablets can be used as barcode scanners.
The next generation of ticket sales offers reconciliation assistance. When using the online platform, any tickets purchased in advance online or on-site with a credit card, will be tracked and reconciled through the ticket system. This is a great assistance when it comes time to turn in the sales report because all online transactions are in one unified system. This also reduces the amount of cash that has to be handled. The platform breaks down sales by date and ticket type. It then shows all transactions, total revenue, any fees, and total profit made by the MAAC. With this reconciliation assistance, less people are needed to run a box office and reconciliation is more accurately accounted for.
The most important leverage of the next generation of ticket sales is marketing. The platform offers a variety of marketing and promotion tools online. Through the marketing, the event can be published to Facebook and other social media sites just from the click of a button. Events being published to social media outlets have the capability to reach out to a larger audience which can help drive tickets sales. Also offered are event buttons, which are words or phrases related to the event used in search engines that associate your events with a specific word (examples; sports, championships, soccer, etc). Anytime TicketLeap.com is visited, if a buyer searches any words used in your organizations event buttons, they will receive a list of your upcoming events with the word as well as any other events that use the word. The platform offers email marketing (e-blast), which can be sent to previous buyers. The e-blast can be used to notify buyers of upcoming events or to notify buyers of changes to events that they may have purchased tickets for already. A traffic source tool is available for analytics. This tool tracks all traffic of websites associated with your organization as well as search engine traffic (Google, Yahoo, etc). With the traffic source, your organization can monitor and view the number of views, number of visitors, number of orders, tickets purchased, and revenue made from each website. This tool is a great way to know exactly where your organizations buyers are searching to find your events. TicketLeap.com also allows your organization to set up a Google Analytics Tracking Account through them which is a more detailed traffic source.
With all the new technologies in our lives continuing to change, athletic organizations must grow with them. The next generation of ticket sales offers an exciting new phase in marketing operations and event management development.
To purchase tickets for MAAC sporting events, click here.
The MAAC Basketball Championships head to a neutral site at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, for the next three years. The MAAC and the MassMutual Center developed a plan for marketing the championships to fans and alumni. This is just one part of the plan.
In today’s era everyone has their cell phone with them. It is like another appendage and I’m sure a vital one, as many people can’t stand a moment of being out of the loop. Phones today give you access to anything. If you don’t know the definition of austerity*, all you have to do is log onto the internet on your phone – or I’m sure there’s an app for that! Want to know what that square that looks like a confused checkerboard is? Well, read on.
Have you noticed that these weird boxes are popping up everywhere and you just can’t help but wonder what they do and where they will lead you? Well, so has the MAAC and the MassMutual Center, and this element was added to the tournament marketing plan.
These code looking squares are quick-response codes, or QR codes. Now, don’t think that you can hold your phone up to the QR code and it will scan it – you will need to download a QR code reader first. Once you do this, you can scan any code with your smartphone and be directed to the website that it is linked to.
QR codes will be showing up on MAAC campuses in October, right before tournament all-session tickets go on sale to the general public on October 25. All ten MAAC schools will be given t-shirts to distribute to a marketing team. These teams are composed of on-campus students selected by the school to market the MAAC Basketball Championships. The t-shirts will have a school specific design on the front and the back of the shirt will have a QR code. Each school will have its own QR code on the back of its shirts, along with a unique site with information about the tournament as the destination for when the code is scanned. This gives you ten possible QR codes to look out for across the MAAC, with ten different sites of varying information! I hope this has piqued your interest so that you wonder where the QR code leads to on the back of a student’s t-shirt at Niagara or at Saint Peter’s. I won’t tell you where they will take you – that would spoil the fun – but I will give you a hint… the site is the leader in online videos.
The students that pick up the most scans from the QR code on their shirts will win a MAAC Championships prize pack. Having a prize, and the opportunity for the students to win bragging rights at their school will hopefully prompt them to wear the shirt a lot – though we hope they wash their QR code t-shirt a couple of times along the way (in no way does the MAAC promote bad hygiene).
This is one of the many marketing elements for the championships. Each school has a number of other elements they are executing on their campuses, including promotions at their regular season game with prizes for the winners, advertisements on their broadcasts both on TV and radio, and a web ad that links to the MAAC-achusetts website, the number one destination for all information about the MAAC Basketball Championships. No, the QR codes won’t take you here either – I guess I gave you two clues. When you scan your QR code, let us know what you think about the sites!
*Austerity was the most looked up definition in 2010 according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Basketball was my life. It came so naturally to me. I got my first taste of basketball when I was in middle school; I was shorter than everyone else, skinnier then everyone else, and had the most awkward shot. But I didn’t care because I loved being on the court. As I began to take basketball more seriously, I started working out with my Uncle Stanley (we called him Uncle Run because he looked like Run from Run DMC) on a daily basis. Uncle Run was the first person who took my interest in basketball seriously. He showed me different drills and techniques, and helped me understand the value of hard work and dedication. We played one-on-one after every session, but he never let me win. That’s where I get my competitive edge from. As the summer before my 9th grade school year began to wind down, I felt that my uncle prepared me for the next step of my basketball career: high school. Two days into my freshman year, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. My uncle had passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack while playing basketball. How could he be gone? The one person who believed in me was taken away so suddenly. I was devastated and didn’t want to play basketball anymore. I didn’t touch a ball for several weeks. But one day I thought about what my uncle would say if he was here. What would he want me to do? Would he want me to give up on my dreams and aspirations? From that point I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, and use the tools that my uncle instilled in me to be a dominant force on the court. I made the varsity team that season and never looked back. If you had asked me five years ago what my future goals were, I would have said to play professional basketball, most likely in Europe. My dreams were to become an international basketball sensation and a WNBA all-star. Unfortunately these dreams did not come true, but I had a pretty decent college career. I scored over 1000 points for Saint Peter’s College, was a three time All-MAAC performer, and was voted the 2008 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year. My time at Saint Peter’s was the best four years of my life. All too quickly, it was over. It was time for me to graduate. As soon as I walked across the stage to get my diploma, my mind was cluttered with thoughts pertaining to my future. My goal for as long as I could remember was to play professional basketball overseas, but when the time came for me to get an agent I couldn’t imagine living so far away from my family. I knew I wanted to stay close to sports so I considered coaching at Saint Peter’s or working for an athletic department at a college. Just when the pressures of deciding what direction to go in life reached their peak, I learned that there was an open position at the MAAC. I had completed an internship with the MAAC during the summer prior to my senior year that sparked my interest in the administrative side of college athletics. When I heard about the position, I jumped at the opportunity and began full-time work as the Assistant Director for Championships. I’ve been working at the MAAC for the last two years and it has really opened my eyes to what college sports are all about. I thought I understood the ins and outs of college athletics, but I realized my experience as a student-athlete was only part of it. I played basketball at places like Texas A&M and University of South Florida, I watched every bowl game, and followed the NCAA Track and Field Championships. But working in collegiate athletics is completely different than being a student-athlete. As a student-athlete, it was all about preparing for and playing the actual game. In an administrative role, it is about all the components that make it possible for the game to be played (officials, hotel arrangements, ticket sales, etc.) I remember arriving at my first MAAC Basketball Championship with Saint Peter’s; my focus that particular day was on winning the game so that my team wouldn’t be eliminated in the first round of the tournament. As my team walked into the locker room, there were championship shirts neatly folded for us, ice cold waters and Gatorades in the coolers, and game programs available to take home. I wasn’t concerned about the people who made sure the championship shirts were properly counted, or filled the coolers in between games. I never thought about the long hours and months of planning that went on behind the scenes to ensure an excellent experience for me as a student-athlete. But now that’s my job. As an administrator, my focus is on the details behind the scenes so that the student-athletes can focus solely on playing. I did not know how critical every detail is for an administrator. With every championship, a great deal of planning and preparation takes place before hand. That’s one of the things I had to learn quickly. I was used to doing things at the last minute but that is impossible in this role. I want the student-athletes’ experience to be memorable like it was for me. Not everyone can say they love what they do, but I can. I love working with sports, and teams, and athletic administrators on a daily basis. Some might consider it a “9-5” job, but we are constantly traveling to games or site visits. The MAAC staff has been going up to meetings in Springfield, Massachusetts with the MassMutual Center and Basketball Hall of Fame staff to start planning for the 2012 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. I’ve worked with different people from the NCAA and IMG when I helped direct the FanFest at the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. I also attended the men’s basketball Final Four last spring. Being a student-athlete in the MAAC and now working as an administrator for the MAAC helps me appreciate my experience as a student even more. I feel like I’ve come a long way from the beginning of the journey and it is far from over. I know my uncle would be proud of me if he was here today.
Welcome one and welcome all to the greatest blog you’ll ever read about the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. I know, I know, this may be a lot for you to process initially, but we think you can handle it.
Within the confines of the svelte-looking tapestry that overlays our blogosphere, we will be giving you a backstage pass into our world. This behind-the-scenes foray will delve into the minds of the people running the MAAC. We are constantly confronted with queries into our roles pertaining to college athletics. What are some of those questions you say? Well, we’re glad you asked…
Frequently asked questions:
Q: Is this another fansite about Mac’ and Cheese!? I really love Mac’ and Cheese…
A: Sorry to disappoint! We’re big fans of the dish ourselves too, but the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) is actually a Division-I college sports organization. But we could certainly satiate any sporting appetite with a myriad of some of the most competitive college programs out there.
Q: Eh, I guess that’s cool too. What are some of the sports you guys oversee? How many schools are part of the MAAC and cheese?
A: We sponsor 24 sports between both men’s and women’s athletics. With sports ranging from basketball, baseball, soccer, and even water polo, we definitely have a sport for you. Ten member institutions represent the MAAC: Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Loyola (Md.), Manhattan, Marist, Niagara, Rider, Saint Peter’s, and Siena.
We also have associate members that partake in select sports at the MAAC. They are the University of Albany, Boston University, the University of Detroit Mercy, Drake University, the University of Hartford, Jacksonville University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, St. Francis College, and Villanova University.
Q: Hmmm…It sounds like you just get to watch sports all day. Do they at least give you mac’ and cheese while you’re spectating?
A: In most cases that’s the last thing we’re doing during MAAC sporting events. Being a college sports administrator is very involved and requires an extraordinary amount of time and effort. Our job is to ensure that not only you, the spectator, enjoy yourself, but that the student-athletes, coaches, and schools/institutions that participate have a positive experience as well.
MAAC-affiliated events will also sometimes require months, even years of preparation. We are constantly in the background ensuring that the event you see is of the highest caliber and quality. And please, enough with the food references already, you’re making us hungry now…
Q: Alright, fine. Well then, who would win a wrestling match, the MAAC or a bear?
A: How does that pertain to sports or the MAAC?
Q: Bear wrestling is a rapidly growing sport, show some respect.
A: Well if you put it that way, we would win….every time.
Q: Doubtful. Anyways, the Muppet Show or Sesame Street?
A: Ugh. The Muppet Show, without question. Anything else?
Q: Good answer. I’m still very hungry. You guys are the coolest bear wrestling, Muppet loving, comfort food inspired sports organization ever.
A: We know.
…We hope this has helped.
The life of a Sports Administrator is one of constant change and turmoil, as we are always faced with new challenges to overcome due to the field we work in. This blog is designed to give you a look into our work. Firsthand accounts into the dedication, planning, and commitment required to run a successful, entertaining, and forward-thinking sports conference. And of course, the fun we have doing it.