HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 3, 2014 – Three High Point University students spend Saturdays focused intently on Atlantic Coast Conference football games. But unlike casual fans watching from the couch, these students monitor the games from the Game Day Operations Center at ACC headquarters in Greensboro.
Graham Billings, Matthew Burns and Ryan McCabe are participating in game day operations internships with the ACC throughout football season. On Saturdays – and some Thursdays and Fridays – they monitor, record and log data for the games. They also compile and edit video, and complete various analytical projects for the ACC.
Billings, a junior communications major and sport management minor from Marblehead, Massachusetts, says the internship is rigorous, fast-paced and results-oriented. Interns must have their full attention on the games at all times, and they aren’t allowed to bring mobile phones into the operations center.
“HPU has provided us as students with a high expectation to thrive under pressure and meet deadlines,” Billings says. “The interview process was an interesting and unusual experience. It was a Skype call with 15 ACC administrators lobbing questions at me from the operations center control room. I could see myself on several flat screens during the interview.”
For Burns, who is a senior from Cleveland, Ohio, this is his second season working in the Game Day Operations Center. This past spring, he also worked daily for about three months with the basketball department assisting with preparations for the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament. As a business administration major and sport management minor, he is looking forward to possibly pursing a career as a sports and entertainment attorney.
“I have gained a ton of valuable experience that will be very beneficial to me after I graduate from HPU,” Burns says. “The ACC has taught me what it takes to put on large events such as the ACC Football Championship and the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, as well as the dedication one must have to work in the sports industry. My sports management professors at HPU, Dr. Lukow and Brett Sowell, have done a tremendous job in teaching me many transferable skills in their classes and also have supported me by giving valuable advice and checking up on me regularly during my time at the ACC.”
McCabe, a sophomore strategic communication major and sport management minor from Trumbull, Connecticut, says he is using the internship as a starting point for thinking about his future career aspirations.
“I would love to work in the sports world – whether in marketing or public relations – I am open to a wide variety of things,” McCabe says. “But this internship is definitely a foot in the door to the sports world, and I have learned so many different things about the ACC and sports management industry as a whole in a few short weeks through this internship.”
At the end of the season, the HPU students will assist in coordinating the ACC Football Championship at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.