That’s right ladies and gentleman, as part of an MBA class, I was able to attend the Ohio State vs Illinois basketball game a few nights ago. Yeah, I know, there are thousands of students that attend Buckeye games every week. However, there are not thousands of students that get to sit with the athletic director, Gene Smith, in his suite!
This past term I was luck enough to take a class from Gene and Sheila Smith. The Business of College Athletics was taught by the Smiths as well as various managers and directors from within the Ohio State athletic department. This class truly was one of my favorites and full of excellent learning opportunities. We learned about the NIKE and IMG contracts, coaches compensation, game day security operations, pricing of tickets, fundraising, issuing of scholarships, student development, licensing and trademarks, and much, much more!
As a gift to the class, Gene and Sheila invited the students to attend one basketball game with them in their suite. The suite was a neat experience and it was a fun way to celebrate the ending of a great class. Lots of food, drinks, and fun conversation with one of the best athletic directors in the nation. I was very impressed with the humility, kindness, and professionalism of Gene and Sheila. It didn’t surprise me to hear on the radio this morning that Ohio State just barely extended Gene’s contract through 2020. He is a class act and a great professor. His class was great and the game was an excellent way to kick-back, relax, and enjoy some buckeye basketball with a lot of great people.