A winning combo: Rice sport management students win trophy, score real-world experience

Sport management students compete in COSMA competition.

A team of four Rice University sport management students won the inaugural Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) Case Study Cup, part of the organization’s annual conference hosted last month by the University of Houston.

Rice sport management students compete in COSMA competition.

Senior Devin Amodio and juniors Thomas Avalos, Christa Westheimer and JoVoni Johnson-McCray bested 10 other teams to claim victory.

The student teams were given a case study that asked them to analyze the philanthropic efforts of three Houston professional sports teams: Major League Soccer’s Dynamo, the NBA’s Rockets and Major League Baseball’s Astros. The students were required to determine best practices and identify industry leaders while recommending programs the teams could undertake to elevate their efforts.

Chosen based on their interest in sports philanthropy, the Rice students created a 20-minute presentation and answered questions posed by the judges, who were executives from the three Houston teams.

“It was a really cool experience to present all of our findings that we had researched individually and as a team,” Westheimer said. “We knew (the judges) weren’t just anyone, they were the people who would be implementing our ideas.”

Westheimer was excited to know her team’s work could influence the organizations’ philanthropic efforts.

“I think (the judges) were very impressed that the team was able to come up with some new ideas for projects the teams had already been working on,” she said.

Diane Crossey, a professor in the practice of sport management, oversaw the team’s preparation for the competition. She said the leadership group of the Houston Dynamo was so impressed, they’re going to involve the students in future projects.

“This level of excellence is what we’ve come to expect from our students, and we’re so very proud of this team,” Crossey said.

More information about the Department of Sport Management is available online at https://sport.rice.edu .

Photo of COSMA cup won by Rice sport management students.