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Class coordinates Globetrotters' visit

Nov. 7, 2007
By Jackie Zimmerman

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Athens Jan. 16, and a group of Ohio University students is just as jazzed about coordinating the visit as the audience will be to watch the legendary performers clown around on the court. 

Thirty-two graduate students are working within the university's Center for Sports Administration to organize the Convocation Center event. Their roles were mapped out as part of their Sports and Sports Consumers course, taught by David Ridpath, an assistant professor of sports administration in the School of Recreation and Sport Sciences.

"It's a wonderful experience for students before they head out into the real world," said Jim Kahler, executive director of the Center for Sports Administration. "They'll be able to look back in 20 years and say, 'We're the class that brought the Globetrotters to Athens.'" 

Kahler compared students' roles to those of regional promoters who coordinate Globetrotter events around the nation. And while many sports administration grad students already have gained professional experience, the magnitude of this event and the planning it will require promises to provide invaluable practical lessons. 

Revenue from the performance will help fund future initiatives for grad students in the Center for Sports Administration, a unit of the College of Health and Human Services. 

"Instead of reading about it in a book and hearing a professor speak about it, we're actually going out and doing group sales, talking to sponsors and creating relationships in the area," said grad student Michael Jacobs, who is serving as ticket manager for the event. 

The Globetrotters are entering their 82nd year of touring, having played more than 20,000 exhibition games in 118 countries. Their alumni include some of the most recognizable names in basketball history -- Wilt Chamberlain and Meadowlark Lemon among them.

If the event is successful, the center hopes to make it a continuing class project by enticing the Globetrotters to come back every three or four years. 

The Center for Sports Administration was formed in 2005 to enhance the university's Sports Administration and Facility Management graduate program, which was founded in 1966. The graduate program is the nation's oldest in the field and is viewed by many sports-industry executives as the most prestigious. Students in the master's program, a collaboration of the colleges of Business and Health and Human Services, receive a dual degree in sports administration and business administration. 

The Harlem Globetrotters' performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16. Tickets range from $13 to $51 and can be obtained by calling 1-866-MY-TICKET or visiting www.ticketreturn.com.

If you wish to speak with a media specialist about this story, contact Communications Director Jody Grenert, Ohio University College of Health and Human Services, at 740-593-1433 or grenert@ohio.edu.

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