Sports Business Professionals Association (SBPA) is a Registered Student Organization at the University of Indianapolis where students can network, volunteer and gain hands-on experience in the sports industry, according to UIndy’s student organizations website.
According to Assistant Professor of Sports Management and SBPA’s advisor Isabell Mills, the organization was founded last semester. She said that the Kinesiology department decided to diffuse what was originally known as the Kinesiology Club, which previously encompassed all majors in the department. This was due in part that way each program has its own student organizations, she said.
“We [the Kinesiology Department] started there and we did this because we felt like it would be a better way to engage students in our program and improve overall effectiveness,” Mills said.
Mills said the group tries to meet once or twice a month. According to Mills, the meetings involve professional development workshop opportunities for members to network.
“We want this and the meetings to be available to help create a community amongst people who are interested in the sports industry,” Mills said.
Senior sports management major and SBPA’s Director of Public Relations Landon Owens, said he was presented the opportunity to start the organization with senior sports management major and SBPA President Brody Watson. According to Owens, he wanted to join the organization to help others break into the sports industry.
“I wanted to join because one, it’s a great thing for my resume, but also I wanted to help others, in the sport management major, to really just get connected with industry professionals and network … to help them have a real shot at getting a job in the future,” Owens said.
As public relations director, Owens said his responsibilities include managing SBPA’s LinkedIn account and keeping members informed about events and meetings. Owen said each board member’s overall goal is to ensure they are providing leadership to the other members.
“There are people that are going to have to take my spot,” Owens said. “I want to really make sure I hone in on that leadership aspect, and leave the organization in good standing, for others to take my place eventually.”
SBPA has a pretty full month of events in October, according to Mills. She said the organization is hosting a UIndy Women Sports Night on Oct.13. The event will be targeted towards female sports management majors, as well as other women at the university who are in the sports field. She said the event will provide them advice on how to be confident and succeed as a woman in the sports industry. The panel will include UIndy faculty, coaches and athletics administrators. According to Mills, SBPA will conduct an Indianapolis athletic director panel at the end of the month.
Mills said anyone interested in joining should email firstname.lastname@example.org to be on the email list so they can stay informed about upcoming events and meetings. She said students who are interested in working in the sports field should join to develop industry connections.
“I like to think of this organization as an opportunity to build a community within the university, and also to build connections,” Mills said. “… One of our main goals is to help students understand the sports industry and have put themselves in positions to get jobs.”