MSSM students Isaac Wonderlin and Robyn Griffin outside the “Locker Room,” where they worked as part of the Street Teams committee for the 2022 College Football Playoffs National Championship.
The experience of 100,000 college football fans from Georgia and Alabama who descended on Indianapolis for the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship in early January 2022 hinged, in part, on the efforts of three UIndy Master of Science in Sport Management students.
UIndy master’s students Robyn Griffin, Shelby Solomon, and Isaac Wonderlin served on the CFP 2022 Street Teams committee. UIndy Sport Management program director Dr. Jennifer VanSickle was a chair of the committee, which was charged with training and managing more than 200 volunteers to provide answers to tourists’ questions about the city and the football spectacle.
The bulk of the students’ work began in September 2021 and was completed before it was even determined that the University of Georgia would take on the University of Alabama in the national championship game.
“We worked with the leadership of the Street Teams committee to create a volunteer handbook, training guide, and Frequently Asked Questions sheets to make sure our volunteers were prepared for the fans,” said Solomon. “It was our job to connect with and lead our volunteers for a successful CFP 2022.”
In keeping with the theme, the Street Teams committee members, including Griffin, Solomon, Wonderlin, and VanSickle were termed “Offensive Coordinators.” Each Offensive Coordinator led one or more pods of volunteers. Each pod was led by a “Quarterback,” who communicated with their “Running Backs” to make sure the fan experience at CFP 2022 was successful.
“Our role during the CFP 2022 event was to provide briefings to the QBs and RBs about anticipated questions for the day, assign teams to groups and locations around the city, and to answer questions that Street Team members received from the public but could not answer,” Dr. VanSickle said. “We spent three days in the Locker Room (our dedicated work room) carrying out these duties.”
Through her role as an Offensive Coordinator, Griffin said this experiential learning opportunity showed her how much time and effort goes into planning a sporting event of this magnitude.
“We worked with multiple different parts and, in the end, brought it all together for a great experience for not only us UIndy grad students, but also for the CFP 2022 fans.”
In addition to hands-on learning, Solomon and Griffin both acknowledged the great networking opportunities that came with their time on the Street Teams committee.
“Sports is a close-knit community and it’s easier to network from the inside,” Griffin said.
Solomon agreed, “A career in the sports industry blooms with deep connections and those connections are made by exercising opportunities like these. If you are looking for experiential learning out of your graduate degree program to build your knowledge and experience, UIndy’s Master of Science in Sport Management program is the number one choice. The opportunities are endless in this city and the university is well connected.”