The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV sports management class hosts local youth basketball teams

Courtesy | Kendra Stanley-Mills

This past fall semester, Professor Jon Coles piloted a new sports management class that focuses on integrating real life experiences into the curriculum. During the class, SPM 376 – Sport Facility and Event Management, students hosted basketball teams from local charter middle schools as part of a class project. 

Held at Grand Valley State University’s Fieldhouse Arena, teams from Vanguard Charter Academy and Walker Charter Academy came together. The Charter Schools Office and GVSU sports management program collaborated together for the project. 

Students in SPM 376 hosted the event as a class project. The project allowed students to take on different roles during the event so that they could get real-life sports management experience. Each student in the class had a role that varied from helping with the music to running the scoreboard. Zoey Vos, a student in the class, took on the role of director. 

“I loved being given the chance to plan all aspects of a sporting event as we were learning in class,” Vos said. “I loved being able to work with my classmates to create and plan the event while also being able to step back and watch it play out with the teams and the fans.” 

Vos said watching the charter schools’ students out on the court and seeing their hard work come to life was rewarding.

“It was special to be partly responsible for their excitement and enthusiasm, both before the game and after,” Vos said. “With the help of our Charter Schools (Office), we were able to create the experience for the teams, fans and cheerleaders from each school.” 

Coles said the project is important for students because it helps them learn through hands-on methods. 

“In this class, students learn how to manage events and facilities. They learn event conceptualization, marketing, promotions, media relations, risk management, operations, staffing, hospitality, etcetera,” Coles said. 

However, with every event and project comes challenges. The event was originally planned to be a tournament involving various charter high schools, but according to Coles, NCAA rules prohibited the original idea. 

Nonetheless, the class worked together to problem solve with the Charter Schools Program and settled on hosting a game at GVSU. Despite the challenges, students organized the event to give the charter school students a unique game. 

Vos said her biggest takeaway from the event was learning how to adapt and remain calm when last-minute changes and cancellations occurred. She felt those skills could only be learned through real life experiences like this one. 

“Throughout this event, we had a plan and a guideline for the day’s events, but it didn’t always pan out that way. It was imperative that we, as a group, kept our heads and maintained composure throughout the event,” Vos said. 

Like many projects, the students had goals for a successful event. They worked to complete tasks on time and create a memorable event for the high school teams.

“Our goal was to create a unique and exciting event for athletes. I am proud to say that from the reactions and conversations I witnessed, we were successful in our goals,” Vos said. 

Coles said he plans to bring back the project because of the event’s success. Students taking the class in the future can expect to host a similar event.

More to Discover