For the sixth consecutive year at the Super Bowl, United States Sports Academy alumnus Dr. Dexter Davis volunteered to help run the NFL Experience, a fan favorite with all of its interactive, hands-on activities.
This year, Davis, a York University visiting professor, was also joined by three other Academy alumni: Dr. Richard C. Bell, Program Director of Sport Management at Colorado Mesa University; Dr. Fred Cromartie, the Academy’s Director of Doctoral Studies; and Dr. J. Barry Shaw, a Schreiner University Sport Management professor. All four earned their doctorates in Sports Management from the Academy.
Not only did they help oversee the nearly 150 college volunteers representing 26 universities, together they conducted research on all the students to find out how the work experience at the National Football League event, which draws about 300,000 people, impacted them. Students filled out pre- and post-surveys and the data is currently being collected and analyzed. The research will be reported soon by Davis and his fellow Academy alumni.
Davis reports that one student was offered a job as a result of his volunteer work at the NFL Experience.
“If you work hard and do the things you need to do, you can get a lot out of it,” Davis says. “This can be a fun experience for the students. The fans definitely all have fun and it’s a great way to keep them engaged.”
This was the 21st NFL Experience at Super Bowl XLVII and was held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4. Pro football’s interactive theme park offers participatory games, displays, entertainment attractions, kids’ football clinics, free autograph sessions and the largest football memorabilia show ever.
The annual NFL Experience, which is a spectacle that attracts families from across the country, gives fans a chance to relive their days in the backyard, or times cheering on their favorite athletes. Tickets cost $20-$25 and you do not have to have Super Bowl tickets to take part.
Cromartie says his experience at the NFL event was rewarding, especially because many teaching moments presented themselves throughout the week there.
“It was great to have four Academy graduates there,” he says. “It was long hours and hard work but fun. All the student volunteers I worked with enjoyed being part of a mega-sporting event and the opportunity to learn lessons that they can apply in their future sports careers.”