29 March 2007

Final Four For School Credit? I'm In!

Many people attend the Final Four each year, and millions more watch on TV. But imagine attending the Final Four for school credit? A dozen lucky students from South Florida's Lynn University will be doing just that this weekend.

The students are all majoring in sports management, and the trip is part of a course titled: "The Final Four Experience.'' The students will earn three credits for their hard work. Is this just a big vacation? Perhaps:

The trip cost $3,250 per student. It may seem pricey but the total covered the cost of the class, a hotel room for six nights, food, round trip airline tickets, two rental minivans, a Georgia Tech baseball game and Thrashers hockey game, along with the Final Four and championship games at the Georgia Dome.

But, alas no. Those three credits will have to be earned! And not just by keeping score at the games...
Before and after the trip, students take examinations on the NCAA's complex revenue distribution plan, complete papers on stadium design, conduct in-class debates on intercollegiate athletics' amateurism status and prepare multi-media presentations on major sports facility and event operations.

They'll also have to keep a journal and take notes. Does buying the program count?

Putting jealousy aside, this seems like a win-win for everyone involved (except the parents dolling out the cash for the trip). The students get some first-hand experience in the field they wish to enter. Lynn University, on the other hand, gets some attention they wouldn't be getting otherwise. It might be said this course is there just for the publicity. If you don't believe me, go to their website - a banner ad for the trip and press release is just a click away. With only 2,373 applicants last year, and an admissions rate of 80%, Lynn must be hoping applications go up, and admissions go down as a result of this. I guess if you can't get your team into the big dance, you have to make waves in a different manner.

Perhaps one of the students going on the trip sums it up best:
"This trip is a stepping stool for us,'' said senior Joaquin Smits from New York, who has never visited Atlanta. "That's why I don't mind doing any extra work.''

That's right Joaquin! Don't cheer too hard this weekend!