E-Minor Sports Track Taking Sports Off the Field and Into the Classroom
Blake Lessard is in love with sports. He doesn’t just love them, but he is in love with them. He can quote all of Michael Jordan’s stats, name you every single player and their favorite color for the Dallas Cowboys and dedicated his last blog to analyzing the UNC basketball team. When he isn’t watching sports, he is playing them.
Lessard sits next to Hunter Motte every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in EXSS 328. Motte is a fellow sports nut who plays rugby at UNC. He and Lessard click because they can talk sports before the start of every class and when they run into each other around campus.
What does any of this have to do with entrepreneurship, you might ask. EXSS 328 is the Sports Track for the Entrepreneurship Minor. Dr. Stroman, a professor of Exercise and Sports Science, teaches the class and explains in her syllabus that, “This course will provide students an introduction to the practical entrepreneurial business tools for starting a new business (or for use in an existing organization) in the sport industry.”
Lessard had a class last semester with Stroman and wanted to take another class with her this semester. “I have always had ideas about new things I can bring to the sports world and wanted to learn more about how I can act,” Lessard said.
The class’s largely discussion-based format allows students to brainstorm new ideas for the sports world. Stroman provides students with the necessary tools that every entrepreneur should have in their tool kit. Assignments for the class consist of blogging about controversial and relevant topics related to the future of the sports industry, interviews and reflection papers.
Lessard said that he had never really considered making a career out of pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, but since enrolling in the class he now views this as a possibility. He said the class has really opened his eyes to all of the things he could do as a sports business entrepreneur.
When asked what valuable pieces of information he has gained from the class so far, Lessard explained, “Taking an idea and turning it into an opportunity doesn’t happen overnight, but these things among others can help make it happen.”
Another commonality between Lessard and Motte is their shared admiration of Stroman. Motte explained that he picked the class because he enjoyed his class last semester with Stroman.
“I also needed to choose a track for the [entrepreneurship] minor. I know I want to work in the sport industry and learning about how to break into it in innovative ways seemed exciting,” Motte said.
Lessard and Motte’s friendship one image of the lessons Stroman stresses, the importance of making connections with people in the business and sport industry some of whom may be the people sitting next to you in class. She says this habit is important because you never know when or where you might run into your former classmates in the pursuit of a career.
Motte said one of the most important things he has learned from the class is maintaining relationships in college. This is crucial if you want to build a diverse and effective entrepreneurial team in the future.
This isn't the first time Motte has dipped his foot into the entrepreneurial pool. Motte has dabbled in other entrepreneurial ventures in the past, but never ventures that were related strictly to sports. He said he has learned quite a few things from the class that he can use in the future with sports ventures.
“The main thing is to look for discrepancies between what consumers of sport want and what they are currently getting,” Motte said.
Identifying a disconnect in order to drive meaningful change is a unifying theme in the e-minor, and with the addition of a sports track, students are more equipped than ever to pair passion with progress to create, innovate and learn.
Apply to the Minor in Entrepreneurship here!