Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't Bet on It

This week in Dr. Lapchick's class, we had a very interesting discussion about how commonplace gambling has become, particularly with regards to sport. He opened up by calling us out, asking if we would use cocaine, carry a handgun, drive under the influence, etc. The response for each was a resounding, "No."

It was interesting, then, that three-quarters of our class said they would either participate in an office pool or bet on a game. As you may know, sports gambling is only legal in Nevada, yet it has grown into an accepted reality - particularly during March Madness and the Super Bowl. Perhaps because it is viewed as a small-scale wager, or removed from organized crime, we have allowed ourselves to justify our decision.

The truth is, however, that gambling's addictive nature can lead to harm quickly. Everyone thinks they can beat the odds, but many fall short. If an athlete, trainer, coach, or administrator gets in a bookie's pocket, the integrity of the game could soon be compromised. Though this is a hypothetical situation, the issue has plagued athletic competition over the last century, with a dramatic spike in the Internet age.

In fact, the 2007 Super Bowl had over $93 million in legal wagers - that is, from those over the age of 21 and physically in the state of Nevada - yet this represented only 1.5% of the actual amount wagered - an astonishing $8 billion on one game! It can be assumed that the difference was comprised of bets with local illegal bookies or through Internet sites.

Congress took a stab at Internet gambling in 2006 with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which effectively shut down US poker and sports wagering sites. Offshore betting, however, remains rampant and unchecked.

This issue is at the forefront of sport ethics and will remain so, with nearly $400 billion bet annually. The cliche is that money talks - the question is, what is it saying?

Interesting Links:
Sports Betting

History of Point-shaving

Sports Wagering Industry Info

What do you think?


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wrapping Up Bowl Season

College football’s bowl season seemed to go on and on (and on) this year from December 20 to January 7. There are now thirty-two bowl games including the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl and the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (I swear I didn’t make any of those up). This year I had the pleasure of studying the teams in the bowl games closer than most and I don’t mean the play calling of the X’s and O’s, but the academics of A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s and F’s.

My graduate assistant (GA) position is with the DeVos program in the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport doing research on the academic standing of college athletics and the racial and gender hiring practices of professional leagues and the NCAA. There are six of us in the ’09 class out of twenty-six that work with the Institute, but (in case you were wondering) almost everyone in the program has a GA position somewhere on campus.

This year Marina Bustamante (DeVos ’08) and I co-authored Dr. Lapchick’s study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Assessing the 2007-08 Bowl-bound College Football Teams. Academic Performance Improves but Race Still Matters.” The study was released December 3, 2007 which was the morning after the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl games were announced. The study concluded that while overall academic performance was improving in college football, there remains a large gap between the graduation rates of White and African-American football players with African-Americans trailing far behind. If it was based off academics alone, Navy and Boston College would play for the national title. I encourage you to read the study.

The Institute also annually releases a NCAA leadership study, which assesses diversity among Division 1-A campus and conference leaders. We also annually release racial and gender report cards for Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, among others. I’d also encourage you to check these out at the Institute’s website. The work of the Institute is a major part of the mission of the DeVos program and I’m humbled to play a small role in it.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ladies and Gentleman, the Former President (of FCA), Jon Adams...

Hello everyone, my name is Jonathan Adams. I have the tough act of following Eric and Nathan, but I will do my best. I am originally from a small town called Fruitland Park, Florida (If you know where that is, I would be seriously impressed). I moved to Orlando to attend UCF for my undergrad. I got my degree in Business Management with a minor concentration in sport business management.

I have had the privilege of having a variety of experiences over the past 5 years. I have worked the past four seasons with the Orlando Magic as part of the game night arena operations staff. I also currently work with Dr. Keith Harrison doing research on social responsibility.

When UCF Athletics first started their sales department, I had a position stationed at the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce where I sold businesses UCF football season tickets. I also worked a year at a local inner city YMCA, which was a great experience. I had the privilege of working three years as a teacher’s assistant with Dr. Fritz Polite, who was a former professor here at the DeVos Program. I was involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes all four of my years of undergrad, serving as president my final year.

I can truly say I feel so at home at the DeVos Program. The faculty are great, and I cannot say enough about how much I have enjoyed all of my classmates. I think we truly have a special group (but I suppose I’m partial).

Hopefully, on good days you will be able to take something away from my blog. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Day that just passed, I’d like to leave you with this quote from his autobiography. “Human beings with all their faults and strengths constitute the mechanism of social movement. They must take their mistakes and learn from them, make more mistakes and learn anew. They must taste defeat as well as success, and discover how to live with each.”

Much love…good game,


Monday, January 21, 2008

Sic 'Em, Bears!

Hi there! My name is Nathan Semones, and I'm a student in the DeVos Class of 2009. I'm from Dallas, TX, and I came all the way to Orlando just to be a part of this program - but I suppose I should back up a bit.

I've always been passionate about sports, but wasn't sure how to mix my talents with my passion. At first, I pursued a sports reporting career, which led me to complete my B.A. in Radio/TV/Film from Baylor University in 2006.

After several internships at the local ESPN Radio and ABC TV affiliates, I decided that I was on the wrong side of the coin. I wanted to impact sport, not describe it.

I landed internships at Madison Square Garden in NYC and Conference USA in Dallas, and soon began to understand how sports organizations function. I had no practical business experience, so I knew that if I was going to continue this route, there would be a missing piece to my skill set and my resume.

I discovered the DeVos Program at UCF, which allows candidates to pursue both an MBA and a Masters in Sport Business Management. This course setup would be the perfect blend of business background and sports focus to launch my career.

As we begin our second semester, the experience just keeps getting better. We're getting into the important issues of sport today, specifically in the areas of diversity and ethics. Our classroom diversity allows for a variety of insights, and the hot-button topics always lead to interesting discussion.

It's also great to see the Class of 2009 taking ownership of the program now that the Class of 2008 has moved on to internship and job opportunities. You'll hear more about both as the spring rolls on and stories roll in.

I'll be updating every week or so with updates. In the meantime, if you have any questions, about myself or the program, feel free to shoot me an email: Thanks for stopping by, and hopefully we'll see you back soon.

Best wishes,


P.S. As of this date, the Baylor basketball teams are a combined 31-3 overall and 7-0 in the Big XII. A proud day to be an alum...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Pride of the Vermont Catamounts

Hey everyone! My name is Eric Little and I'm a first-year student in the DeVos Sports Business Program at UCF. I wanted to use this first blog as a chance to introduce myself by telling you who I am, where I come from, what I’ve done and what I want to do, so here goes.

I am originally from Milton, Vermont which is a town of 10,000 people about an hour from Montreal, Canada. For my undergraduate work I attended the University of Vermont (UVM) and graduated last May with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in human resources and sports management.

While at UVM I was a tour guide for three years, which took me to places like Boston, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. while talking to people about UVM. Being a tour guide also helped land me an internship with UVM athletics my senior year. I also worked with Alternative Spring Break for all four years. UVM has one of the best programs in the country of its kind, with ten trips of ten students going out and doing community service during the spring break. I went on trips in Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee while in college. Finally, I studied abroad in London during the summer between my junior and senior year through a program at Florida State University called Global Sports. The program involved trips to Wimbledon, the British Open, and the Tour de France, among others.

I believe sports can be a vehicle for social change and that sports teams, at all levels of competition, have an obligation to give back to the people with whom they share their community. I am with the DeVos Program because it believes that too. I would like to accomplish these things professionally with either NBA Cares or an individual team in the NBA.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Back in Action

The spring semester has just begun and all of us here at the DeVos Program are hitting the ground running. The Class of 2008 graduated in December, so the Class of 2009 has big shoes to fill over the next few months. Applications for the Class of 2010 are due by February 1st, when the professors and current students will begin interviewing the prospective students. We're looking forward to meeting the best and the brightest, and hope that you are up to the challenge.

After last semester's blog struggled, we've revamped the format. Three writers will update you on all that's happening in the DeVos Program. Eric Little, Jonathan Adams, and myself (Nathan Semones) will share our thoughts and experiences from our unique program. Each writer will update once a week, so check back often to see what's new in our world. Topics will range from our prominent guest speakers to unique work opportunities and our in-depth classroom discussions. You won't want to miss it.

Eric Little will check in tomorrow, while Jonathan and I will introduce ourselves next week. Take care!