Graduate students ace athletics case contest

Baylor graduate sport management students Leeann Lower (left), Lane Wakefield, Kyle Lintelman and Meron Tamrat captured the championship in the Graduate Division Case Competition sponsored by the College Sport Research Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Courtesy Photo

By Sara Tirrito
Staff Writer

A team of Baylor graduate students won a national case study competition centered on athletics last week. The competition was part of the Scholarly Conference on College Sport, which took place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The team was composed of Leeann Lower, Meron Tamrat, Kyle Lintelman and Lane Wakefield, students in the graduate sport management program.

They were charged with the task of delving into an approximately 25-page case dealing with the issue of reclassification of athletic programs, and writing a 1,000-word position paper concerning the case in 10 days. The students also had to give a presentation analyzing the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s move to Division I classification.

Wakefield said the team was reasonably confident after the presentation but did not know what outcome to expect because only Lower had previously competed in the competition. Winning the competition was a nice reward for the team’s work, Wakefield said.

“It was exciting,” Wakefield said. “You put time into something, so it’s nice to see success in that.”

Lower said the background knowledge she gained by competing last year helped her know what the judges would want to see. She said she was pleased with the team’s work and results, and said their presentation’s stance against the reclassification of UNO stood out against the other teams’ stances for reclassification.

“I was very pleased. Our paper was very thorough and detailed and research-driven,” Lower said. “Our presentation came together very well. Our position was unique.”

Winning fifth place was a second team of graduate students: Christopher Buford, Lindsey Short, Matt Rodgers and Ryan Kota.

The teams’ faculty sponsor was Dr. Jeffrey C. Petersen, assistant professor of health, human performance and recreation and sport management graduate program director at the School of Education.

Petersen said the students’ success away from campus was encouraging.

“I think it was an exciting outcome for Baylor to just be in their second opportunity to compete in that kind of study and competition and to actually outperform the other institutions,” Petersen said. “I think the students learn a tremendous amount by being competitive in academics outside your own institution.”

The judges’ feedback also reflected well on both teams’ position papers, Petersen said.

“Both Baylor teams were basically rated No. 1 and No. 2 on the paper portion,” Petersen said. “Both were able to put together, I think, outstanding written projects. … There was really a solid outcome for everybody that was a part of it.”