CSL Daily

March 7, 2018

UNC & Duke Visit

Each year, we visit two of the most storied programs in college athletics: University of North Carolin at Chapel Hill and Duke University. Thanks to alumni and partnerships at each institution, our graduate students get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run an elite Division One athletic department. Leaders from both schools share insight and perspective on the current state of college athletics and their personal journey in the sport industry.

We started in Chapel Hill where the CSL has four alumni: Eric Hoots, Director of Player Development for UNC Men’s Basketball; Ashley Usera, Assistant Director of Ticket Operations; Michael Greene, Associate Director of Academic Support for Athletics and Michael Donovan, Development Intern for The Rams Club.

After a tour of the football facility, Eric Hoots gave our group a tour of the mens basketball facilities and the arena, including the locker room. film room, lounge and training facility.

The UNC visit ended with a panel discussion & networking session with our alumni, sharing their advice and perspective with our students. After a lunch break, we traveled to Durham to visit Duke

Duke Associate Director of Athletics for External Affairs Art Chase welcomed us and kicked off the Q & A session, followed by Gerald Harrison, Senior Director of Athletics/Internal Affairs and Nina King, Deputy Athletic Director & Chief of Staff

February 23, 2018

Social Media Olympics

Embracing the Olympic spirit and our core value of global-mindedness, our social media class participated in the Social Media Olympics Friday.

Students teamed up to represent one of seven countries: Norway, German, Canada, Netherlands, France, Italy, and Finland. The U.S. was not included. They scanned the official social media accounts of those countries looking for the best content. The students had to submit a content example to compete in one of the three events: Best Facebook post, Best Tweet and Best Instagram.  The content was judged based on creativity, “shareability” and “clickability”, two well-know buzzwords among content providers. Content was judged on a scale of 1-5 with each country getting one vote. You could not vote on your own content.  Gold medals (Starbuckls gift cards) were awarded to the countries whose content received the highest score.

During the Opening Ceremony, students marched into the classroom (yes, Burton made them leave and come back in) displaying their country’s flag. They immediately got work work, scouring Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for interesting content.

Gold medal for Best Facebook Post: Team Canada for this game that explains curling


Gold Medal for Best Tweet: Team Canada for this image of their Olympic champion ice dancers. 


Gold medal for Best Instagram: Team Finland for the images of athletes knitting a square for a baby blanket which will be given to their president’s newborn child. 

February 15, 2018

Living My Olympic Dream: Let the Games Begin

The last day of processing was on February 8th, which was our busiest
day, processing more than 60 athletes and staff coming through to
collect their gear. At the end, we popped champagne to celebrate our
hard work. In an email thanking the staff, Beth Lathrop, United States Olympic Committee Sr. Recruiter and Team USA Processing Volunteer Manager provided some perspective on what they accomplished.

  • In 5 daysof setup, we transformed an empty ballroom, conference room,
    dining and indoor playground spaces into 2 retail stores, 6 sponsorship Kiosks, 3 media studios, 1 classroom, 1 photography studio, 1 dining room, 1 transportation command center, 1 volunteer hangout/storage room, 1 operations center.
  • In 9 days,we processed 393 people: 215 athletes, 178 staff members.
  • We pre-packed and delivered an additional 148 bags to athletes and staff
  • We moved 1001 pieces of luggage, not including personal items, equipment and Ralph Lauren Tailoring bags
  • We did all of this with less than 100 people: 25 sponsor reps, 35 USOC and NGB staff, 29 volunteers

One of the most memorable experiences I had volunteering for USA Team
Processing was getting to work with Alex Ferreira, professional Men’s
Freestyle skier who just won Silver at X-Games. PyeongChang is his
first Olympic Games and he was so down to earth, outgoing, genuine,
and took the time to get to know everyone.  He was very thankful and appreciative. I took several pictures for Alex to share with his family, friends and personal social media accounts of him decked out in his Ralph Lauren gear. The next day I was told that Alex was here to see me and he had a gift. I walked up to the front and there he was with a bottle of wine and a note to thank me for all my help. These gestures were above and beyond and
really shows the type of person that Alex is. It is a memory I will
cherish forever.  The next day he even posted on his personal Instagram
the pictures I took of him and said “I’m having myself a good time out
here in Ko Rea!! Thanks for the pics Jen!!!” I bought tickets to the
Men’s Freestyle Finals and hope to see Alex #GoForTheGold!

I had the privilege of working one on one with 5 time Olympian, Kelly Clark who
placed 4th in Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe. I also helped pack Chloe
Kim’s bag so it was ready before she arrived during team processing.
The Today show was at Team Processing, filming for two days. You can see me in the background of the video they produced. Over the course of the two weeks,  I
networked with staff from USA Ski and Snowboard and at the end
they gave me a USA beanie from Burton that are exclusively for
athletes. I have been wearing it proudly!

February 8, 2018

Celebrating Women in Sports

Words of encouragement and strategies for empowerment highlighted the VCU Center for Sport Leadership’s first ever celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Thursday. Four accomplished female leaders in sport shared their stories of success and adversity with CSL alumni, VCU athletics administrators and local sports professionals.

“Empowering is one of our core values. The CSL wants to lead the way in creating access and advancement for women in the sport industry,” said LeCrom. “By bringing four high-level female leaders to VCU and giving them a platform to share their stories, we hope to enrich and inspire our students, alumni and colleagues in attendance.”

The morning started with a panel discussion featuring Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette McGlade, University of Richmond Associate AD LaRee Sugg and Richmond Sports Backers Event DIrector Megan Schultz, which generated some powerful conversation moderated by CSL Executive Director Carrie LeCrom.

Following lunch provided by VCU Athletics, keynote speaker Jane Rodgers, executive director of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, addressed issues, barriers and strategies for empowerment of women in sport in a wide ranging conversation moderated by VCU Women’s Basketball Director of Basketball Operations and CSL alum Vanessa Moore. Rodgers, who just completed her sixth year operating the Redskins philanthropic arm, shared her experiences being a female executive in the male-dominated NFL.

Sugg, a former professional golfer who spent four seasons on the LPGA Tour, urged the audience to verbalize your goals to your superior whether its a man or woman. “You need to speak your truth out loud,” Sugg said.

Schultz, who will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in April for her All-American basketball career at Randolph-Macon, talked about looking to her mom when trying to balance her career and motherhood. Schultz, who has two year old twins, said her mother told her it was ok, even important, to pursue professional challenges.

The metaphor of opening a door is often made when discussing an increase to access and equity for female in sport. McGlade shared a story about a door literally being built from inequity. Early in her career, McGlade was the head women’s basketball coach at Georgia Tech. In order to get to the women’s locker room, you had to walk through the men’s locker room and shower area.  While taking a recruit and her parents on a tour, McGlade walked the group towards the women’s locker room but, not before catching a men’s basketball coach taking a shower. The very next day, construction crews built a separate entrance for the women’s locker room. “They literally opened a door for us,” she said with a smile.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day was created 32 years ago to celebrate the extraordinary achievements in girls and women’s sports and the positive influence athletic participation bring to their lives. NGWSD recognizes the ongoing effort towards equality and access for women in sports and the nation’s commitment to expand sport and participation opportunities for all girls and future generations.


February 6, 2018

Living My Olympic Dream: Gearing up at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Jennifer Nelson (’16) is currently in South Korea working with the United States Olympic Committee in the Team Processing Center.  Jen will be sharing her experience through this blog during the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Team USA will consist of 243 athletes (135 men and 108 women). Team Processing is the first stop for athletes to receive their official gear. Each athlete will receive clothing and items from Ralph Lauren, Nike, OC Tanner, Procter and Gamble, Hoodie Footie, Alex & Ani and Swatch. Beyond getting their gear during Team Processing,  athletes will have their headshot taking for their official credentials, work with the Team USA Social Media team and participate the USA Ambassadors Program where they will hear from past Olympians, receiving some media training and learn about Korean Culture.

Athletes fly into Incheon, South Korea (about an hour from Seoul) spend the night and go through Team Processing the next day. The entire process takes about 2-3 hours. After they have finished the processing procedure, the athletes will take a bus to PyeongChang which is about a three-hour ride. All of their bags are loaded onto the bus in a very organized process. Each athlete will receive two full duffel bags, one from Ralph Lauren, and one from Nike along with many other swag items.

Team Processing setup took place from January 25-30th. It was a very intense, yet organized and regimented. The amount of inventory we set up for both Ralph Lauren and Nike is equivalent to an entire store. A warehouse was converted into a stock room where empty aisles quickly became filled with product and gear for the athletes. The USOC sent several shipping containers full of pallets by boat to South Korea in October to make sure they arrived here on time. The first two days of setup required unloading all of the pallets and boxes and then opening and placing them in the correct area. The Nike and Ralph Lauren areas are divided in half and also into Men’s/Women. Each aisle has several pictures of the items that go in that row in a very systematic fashion.

Iconic fashion brand Ralph Lauren is supplying athletes with their outfits for the Opening and Closing Ceremony, which includes a $2600 heated red, white and blue Team USA jacket. They also receive sweaters, pants, boots, hats, and gloves. The belt even has a bottle opener on it. Nike is supplying the outfits Team USA athletes will wear on the podium. Each athlete also receives three pairs of Nike shoes along with 25 pieces of Nike apparel. These athletes will be representing Team USA in style.

I have spent all my time on the Ralph Lauren apparel side of Team Processing, working with about 10 other volunteers and staff.  When the athletes come to us, we grab their pre-packed bag from the stock room. Each athlete submitted their sizes ahead of time, which helps us pack their bags. The athletes try on all of the Team USA branded clothes to make sure it fits properly and comfortably. In the dressing room, there are Ralph Lauren stylists making sure their outfits fit perfectly. If any of their opening or closing ceremony pants need to be tailored, Ralph Lauren has tailors from London to make same-day alterations.

At the end of each day, we spend a few hours preparing for the next day, by prepacking bags for the athletes who will be coming through the next day. It takes about 20 minutes to pack each athlete’s bag. Over the past few days, we have processed gear bags for Men’s Speed Skating, Men’s Luge, Women’s Ice Hockey, and Women’s Cross Country Skiing. It’s been remarkable to interact with the athletes and see how excited they are to be an Olympian after all their years of training. Team processing has been an unforgettable experience and I’m already hoping to be involved again for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.


February 5, 2018

Living My Olympic Dream: Blogging from the 2018 Winter Olympics

Jennifer Nelson (’16) is currently in South Korea working with the United States Olympic Committee in the Team Processing Center.  Jen will be sharing her experience through this blog during the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

Being part of the Olympic Movement has always been a huge passion for me.  Four years ago, I attended the first ever United States Olympic Committee internship symposium in Colorado Springs, CO at the Olympic Training Center. The following year, I attended again and eventually landed an internship with USA Taekwondo for the summer of 2015 where I gained great experience and met a lot of people along the way. My boss shared with me her experience working with USA Team Processing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. I had no idea each Team USA athlete goes through a very structured procedure to receive all of the clothing and gear provided by Nike, Ralph Lauren and other sponsors. I was so intrigued with this experience, that it became a goal of mine to work for Team USA in this capacity.

Over the past few years, I have stayed in touch with fellow interns when I was in Colorado Springs. One of the most important things we learned at the CSL is “your network is your net worth”.  My network and previous experiences helped me get this volunteer position. After talking to a few friends and getting connected with the right people, I had an interview with the USOC HR end of October. Every volunteer has to pass a background check and be able to pay for their own flights and hotel accommodation. This may be an unpaid position but it’s value is immeasurable.

I am beyond blessed for this opportunity and can’t thank my family, friends and CSL professors, who have helped me get here. Let the games begin!!!