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Ohio University and the Kalamazoo Growlers Baseball Club are hosting a virtual on-campus sales academy with sports administration students from OHIO and will select five students to do a distance internship with the Growlers, from Kalamazoo, in Michigan.

The project will consist of selected students from the SASM 4400 Sport Ticket Sales and Systems class and interested students from the Sports Business Association.

“Five students will have an incredible experience as interns who do not need to leave Athens and will be supervised virtually by the Growlers,” said Jim Kahler, executive in residence in the sports administration department of the College of Business. “Many of our students cannot afford to leave campus and pay extra rent to gain valuable experience. “

Training sessions started on November 2 and training / virtual interviews will continue later in the month. Kahler said students take three hours of sales training and will be required to make two separate sales demonstration videos. All participating students will receive a certificate of completion from the Growlers. The five students chosen for an internship will be announced in December and will begin making sales calls before the winter break.

“This is exactly the type of innovative partnership that the OHIO Sports Administration is known for,” said Jim Strode, associate professor Robert H. Freeman, chair of the Department of Sports Administration and director of undergraduate programs at the College. of Business. “Driven by both our teachers and students, this partnership with the Kalamazoo Growlers will equip our students with the necessary knowledge and skills that will make them attractive in the sports market. “

Growlers owner Brian Colopy and director of corporate partnerships CJ Hurley will lead the project from Kalamazoo. Both are OHIO alumni.

Colopy, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Administration in 2004 and an MBA in 2009, said students will gain experience working and dealing with issues with fans.

“This gives teams and leagues access to students from universities outside of their hometown and gives students the same access and experiences they can’t get in a classroom,” Colopy said. .

Hurley, who earned a certificate in Sports Sales and Management, beta-tested the idea in 2019 as a virtual indoor / group ticket representative with the Growlers. He developed a system for making ticket sales calls from Athens and used Google Voice to maintain his Kalamazoo area code.

“I made over 80 cold calls a day from my dorm to sell group outings and mini-plans,” Hurley said. “I balanced the classes, the clubs, the life and the vocation, and it worked really well.”

Hurley approached Kahler in August, and they then set up the Virtual Selling Academy. Hurley was looking for a way to give back to OHIO.

“When I was at Ohio University I was told that hands-on experience is vitally important to getting internships / jobs in the sports industry,” Hurley said. “I volunteered / interned wherever I could in order to gain as much practical experience as possible while adding numbers to my CV.”

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