Sport Management and Media set to send another group to Super Bowl for on-the-job training

Editor’s note: This is a reprint of a story that published Oct. 24, 2022. Now that the Super Bowl LVII matchup has been decided and the game is less than two weeks away, it made sense to publish it again. The group heading out there for this fantastic opportunity includes Julian Leon, Connor Haines, Christopher Walters, Charlie Dangler, Ashley Hudak and professor Donna Grove. They will be staying in Chandler, Arizona, about 30 miles southeast from State Farm Stadium where the game will be played.

By Julian Leon

THE SUPER BOWL is the biggest event in the U.S. sport industry and one of the biggest in the world.

It’s an event that most people dream of participating in, certainly as a player but also in the many off-the-field roles that are required to successfully pull off the game.

York College of Pennsylvania is one of the few schools that have the opportunity to take part in the event from a staff perspective, with five to eight students participating. It’s a chance for Sport Management and Media students to gain real application experience by helping in the lead up fan-oriented activities to game day.

Dr. Molly Sauder and Dr. Donna Grove, professors and head chairs of the Sport Management and Media departments here on campus, oversee this event for students. Sauder says this is all possible due to former alum Dexter Davis. “[He] had contacts in the sports industry and wanted to give students the opportunity to participate in such a big event like the Super Bowl,” Sauder says.

The Super Bowl that will cap the current NFL season will take place Feb. 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The stadium is located about 17 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix. It will be a matchup that pits the Philadelphia Eagles against their former coach, Andy Reid, and the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a game that will feature at least two firsts: two Black starting quarterbacks and brothers (the Eagles’ Jason Kelce and the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce playing in the game).

The first trip to assist at a Super Bowl took place in February 2020 when a group flew to Miami for the game between the Chiefs and the 49ers.

While it’s only been three years York College has been able to go, it’s something the school would like to continue for years to come.

This opportunity means a lot for students in the Sport Management and Media department but it also enhances the reputation of the school overall.

“There are so few institutions who do this it puts York in a great category with other big schools,” Grove says. Although a small private institution, we allow our students to get involved in big opportunities.”

Compared to other big schools such as Tennessee, Florida, Texas etc., with big Sport Management departments, York College wants to offer the same opportunities for students.

You may be wondering; the Super Bowl isn’t cheap, so how is a small school like York College paying for this? Sauder gives credit to two key former Sport Management alumni who generously offer donations to our program.

This group from York College headed to Miami to assist with the Super Bowl in 2020.

“Credit to Josh Hermann and Rich Achtzen, who give money to our department that enables us to go take these big trips so the students can experience these big events,” Grove says.

Grove wants to also note the important of the assistance from the Sport Business Association. “Having support from the SBA helps offset costs for students to be able to pay,” she says, “but most importantly participate without a stress on financial management.”

So what does it cost the students? Simply, the cost of the flight, which is around $500/person. Their tasks aren’t determined until arrival but it will have more or less to do with organizing and running fan engagement stations for the week of the Super Bowl. Students on the next trip are expected to arrive in Arizona on Feb. 6 and stay until the 13th, which is a day after the game.

Says student Ashley Hudak, ‘This is an opportunity to be immersed in a field I know I belong to.’

Overall, the Super Bowl opens so many opportunities for students to not only connect with sport industry professionals but also be able to say on a resume that you helped participate in the biggest event in sports.

Current student at York and Sport Media student Ashley Hudak says she believes this means more than just going to the Super Bowl.

This is an opportunity to be immersed in a field I know I belong to,” she says, “to make connections with professionals that can open the door for me.”

Julian Leon is a senior majoring in Sport Media.

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