Nichols Students Compete in National Sport Management Case Study Competition08 May 2015 On April 19, 2015, two teams made up of four Nichols College female students and four male students headed to the University of South Carolina in Columbia to attend the 2015 Conference on College Sport and compete in the College Sports Research Institute case study competition.Finishing third was the Nichols Gold team sponsored by Nichols’ Institute for Women’s Leadership and composed of sophomores Alexandra Morrow, Brieanna Baron, and Erin Sheehan, along with senior Reilly Flaherty. The college’s Green team consisted of Justin Doyle ’16, Austin Weber ’16, Ethan Godfrey ’17, and Guy DePlacido ’15.“All of the students are outstanding individuals,” says Sport Management Professor Len Samborowski, the teams’ advisor. “We are lucky to have them here at Nichols. It’s hard work—they are super leaders, and we can be proud of what they did.”With 12 teams coming from as far away as Ohio and New York, the competition posed multiple challenges as the Nichols teams presented their research on using social media to better engage alumni so that they become fans of college teams.The preparation for the competition was rigorous. Once the teams received their topic in February, they had just one month to write a 1,500-word solution paper, which was worth 50% in the competition with the oral presentation accounting for the other 50%.By preparing for the competition, the teams improved more than their research and writing skills. “The biggest benefit I received was improving my presentation skills,” says sophomore Sheehan. ”It’s about knowing your material so well that you can comfortably talk about it without note cards.”“The biggest lesson I learned was to stay determined,” adds Reilly Flaherty.In addition to the competition, students attended workshops and heard from industry experts. “The keynote speaker on Monday night opened my eyes to what the athlete experiences and helped me realize how he or she really should be treated,” notes Doyle. “This experience is invaluable to the students,” explains Samborowski. “Of the eight students who took the trip, four are talking about grad school, and they all walked away with business cards from sport industry representatives.” This year’s competition marked the second consecutive appearance by Nichols teams. Many of those participants said that they are ready to compete again.