New sports business club is building bridges to big dreams

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Savannah Hopkinson
Thomas Clawson, one of three co-founders of the Sports Business Club, talks about the goals of the new BYUSA club. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Creating something out of nothing is never easy, but someone forgot to tell that to the three co-presidents of the BYU Sports Business Club.

For juniors Kyle Adams, Thomas Clawson and Hunter Romano, the club is much more than a fun side project.

Sports fans on campus who may have accepted that their dreams of making it to the big leagues ended with high school, shouldn’t lose hope just yet, according to the founders.

Adams, Clawson and Romano are serious about making an impact on their fellow students’ careers, not just their own.

“All of us are very passionate about professional athletics… so we wanted a place where students can come to meet the right people to eventually work in sports,” Clawson said.

The gap between the desire to work in the sports business world and actual employment is where they see the club creating valuable opportunities, the co-presidents said.

Reaching out to a mostly untapped alumni network within the corporate sports world was the first step in becoming a viable club, Romano explained.

“They (alumni) were more than willing, super excited to help us out and build up the entire program,” he said.

This help will mostly come in the form of in-person speaking engagements, allowing students to gain wisdom from high-profile individuals within the industry as well as make valuable professional connections.

The club’s bold networking strategy has seemingly paid off. They have made connections with several individuals in high-profile organizations, allowing them to present an impressive list of affiliations with several professional sports teams on their website.

“We’re in the process of getting Danny Ainge to come over and do a Q&A,” Adams said. “He really wants to be placed in front of the students.”

Having the general manager of the Boston Celtics come and speak could easily be the highlight of the year for any organization, but the BYU Sports Business Club leaders don’t plan on stopping there.

“We’d love to, before we’re done, host the premier Sports Business Conference in the state of Utah,” Clawson said when asked what they hope to see their club accomplish by the time they graduate.

While framed as a future hope, the goal of organizing an extended conference headlined by high-profile sports executives and influencers from around the country does not seem out of reach for this self-motivated team of leaders.

There are already some major events planned for this semester, including a weeklong case competition at the end of September allowing participants to create teams and solve problems related to sports business. Contestants will be judged by industry professionals and prizes will be awarded to top teams.

It’s clear that these students are passionate about what they’re building, but their motive isn’t just to help place peers in sports jobs. They also hope their example inspires others to pursue their own ideas and create opportunities that may not yet exist.

“We’ve worked hard and we’re giving opportunities to other students simply because something we wanted wasn’t there,” Clawson said.

Registration for events and membership in the BYU Sports Business Club is open to all BYU students, regardless of major. Specific information for events and how to register can be found at sportsbusiness.byu.edu.

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