By Peter SpottsPeterS@thereminder.com
SPRINGFIELD – Springfield resident Justin Doyle and three of his classmates from Dudley’s Nichols College brought a fourth place finish back to Massachusetts from South Carolina at the annual College Sports Research Institute Case Study Competition
The competition, hosted by the University of South Carolina, is a way for students to acquire practical experience with issues in college sports, which this year focused on if college athletes should unionize.
“We chose Arkansas because as of 2012, they have the largest profit margin of any school in the SEC [Southeastern Conference]. We compared Arkansas to South Carolina and it was cool to see how Arkansas uses their resources to make a larger profit than South Carolina,” Doyle said.
“We were given a few sources. The Knight Commission compares the athletic and academic spending [and] spending per scholarship athlete,” Doyle continued.
Dr. Leonard Samborowski, an associate professor of sports management at Nichols, coaches the case study team each year.
“This is the second year we’ve competed,” Samborowski said. “Last year we finished fifth, but were last in the paper presentation. This year we finished fourth and were fourth in the paper presentation. The quality is better this year than last [and] it all starts with the students we select.”
Doyle’s three teammates included Kevin Legendre, Guy DePlacido, and Austin Robert-Weber. The four students were picked out of 100 members of the sports management major. After the field had been whittled down to 20, the students were tested.
“We did a mini case study on a school near Nichols, Shepherd Hill Regional High School,” Doyle said. “To see if we were ready for larger cases.”
Samborowski used the trial run to find the best students to represent the college.
“The four we selected were the best in terms of presence, academic ability, as evidenced by grades in class, and reaction to the pressure of presentation,” Samborowski explained.
After guiding them through the research process, Samborowski was relegated to a spectator during the competition.
“Professor [Samborowski] was allowed to tape our presentation, but it was against the rules for him to say anything to us,” Doyle explained. “We presented to four different judges who were different professors from Division I universities. We were in a room by ourselves with the judges and had 10 minutes to present and five minutes for questions.”
The presentations were judged based on the quality of the students’ solution content, presentation content and delivery, and quality of responses to proposed questions.
Samborowski is excited for next year and hopes to see Doyle return to the team.
“[Justin’s] a really good young man. He’s interested in going next year and I’m hoping to have two seasoned veterans to pair with two newbies,” Samborowski said.