Interview with Dr. Sean Phelps
Tim Porter-DeVriese of SportsDegreesOnline.org spoke with Dr. Sean Phelps of Colorado Mesa University. Dr. Phelps discussed non-linear career paths, the importance of mentors, the value of international educational and professional experiences, and how COVID19 has changed both the learning environment and the sports industry.
About Dr. Sean Phelps
Dr. Sean Phelps is a professor at Colorado Mesa University, where he directs the undergraduate and graduate sports management programs. Dr. Phelps holds his PhD in Sport Management from Florida State University, and previously spent eight years teaching at the Auckland University of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. Dr. Phelps has researched and published extensively on topics related to organizational theory, sports governance, and event management, and he has published and served as a guest editor for a wide variety of sports management and sports marketing journals.
Tim: Professor Phelps, your career has taken you through various aspects of the sports industry including regional and national sports competitions with an emphasis on triathlons which are your own preferred sport. You’ve worked for the USA Triathlon, Big Sky State Games, Sunshine State Games, Florida Senior Games, Montana Special Olympics, the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and New Zealand’s Olympic teams just to name a few organizations. How were you able to forge a path from regional to national to international organizations and what are some of the lessons you have learned in the process?
Dr. Phelps: Well I think one of the threads we are going to discover in this interview is that my career pathway was not linear. It was not a straight line. I was fortunate. I have always been around sports. As a college student, as an undergrad, I was a photographer and so I was always around the college side of things. That automatically puts you inside of event management and so forth. From there I volunteered with the Big Sky State Games as an undergraduate and with Special Olympics Montana as an undergraduate because I was a lifeguard. I worked for intramurals and recreation, that was my work study job, so I had been operating in events for a long time. At the elementary school I went to on the campus of Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University, Billings), I was a ball boy, I worked concession stands for football and basketball, so I had always been around events and sports. When opportunities came up, I had people in my life who said, “look, with sports, volunteering is one of the ways you get your foot in the door and one of the ways you gain experience.” I was a volunteer. I worked Special Olympics Montana because I was a lifeguard. I was at the swim meet when they were hosted at Eastern Montana College. Then when I was fully an undergrad, I worked for the athletic department as a photographer so I was around the sports events there. And I was a walk on student athlete in a couple sports, so I was embedded. Then I wound up thinking I was going to be a sports information director. That was my interest. So I wound up going first into grad school at Mankato State (now Minnesota State) and I worked sports information. Anybody that knows anything about SIDs is that you are everywhere. I learned about hockey. I never had hockey growing up in Montana; I learned about baseball at the college level and so forth. That opened the door for me to wind up at what was then Triathlon Federation USA, now called USA Triathlon, and I got thrown into the mix working events, both national championships within the sport of triathlon and duathlon. That also, unbeknownst to me at the time, opened doors for me internationally. I got to know some of the people at what was then called International Triathlon Union. So I got experience with local, state, and national events and just kept volunteering. Whether I had a job in academia or not, I always kept volunteering. When I applied to work for Salt Lake City Organizer Committee, I listed Paul Allen as a reference. Paul, who was sports information director at the time, now he’s Associate Athletic Director/Communications, was responsible for one of the ice arenas.
It’s a small world once you start getting into the sports industry. So that opened the door for me to go work for Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the Winter Games where I went into press operations which was the logistics side of things. It covered what everybody needs in order to work in television, broadcasting and print. Then from there I’d gone back to school at Florida State way late in life to work on the PhD. Then the job took me to New Zealand and because of my background in the sport of triathlon and volunteering, I got to work with Triathlon New Zealand with some of their age group commissions and committees. Because I did that, they said, “hey we’ll send you to Beijing in 2011 with the age group world triathlon team.” Then in 2012 New Zealand hosted the finals, called the World Triathlon Series, which is the grand finale. I was a part of that group and because we were the host nation they brought in about half a dozen of us just to work with the age group team and handle everything. I’m sure we’ll get into that, what our roles are, what we think the roles of sports management are and how they change dramatically when we get boots on the ground and day to day operations. I think through all the experiences I’ve had, the message is if you are going to be a part of this industry then perseverance is a big part of it. Just constantly trying to get that foot in the door and break into it in some capacity.
Tim: You’ve had some folks who played a significant role in your career and opened doors for you. Can you talk about how you met Paul Allen and anyone else who has been a mentor to you?
Dr. Phelps: Yes, I was lucky. When I was at MSU Billings, Gary Gray who was the P.E. instructor and volleyball coach and later became the athletic director, was my mentor as an undergrad there. When I was at Mankato, Paul Allan was my mentor. I left Mankato after two years much to the chagrin of my academic advisors. I was ABT (all but thesis). It was because I got a job right away with Triathlon Federation/USA and I jumped on that. Paul and I always kept in touch. Those contacts within your industry are super important. Paul got me the job. But first, I went back to school to MSU Billings to finish the master’s degree that I didn’t complete at Minnesota State and Dr. Gary Gray was the athletic director who helped me re-enroll after life had gotten in the way. Paul was very beneficial to me, helping me latch on to Salt Lake City. I remember my interview process and the people I interviewed with. Post interview, my resume came across for this position I had applied for and Paul vouched for me. He said, “he worked for three years at a governing body.” And at that time, early ‘90s USA Triathlon was on the verge of bankruptcy so they got rid of everybody. Within a very short period of time, a couple weeks I think they went from eleven employees to like three because of financial concerns. I digress, but this is a message I tell my students, “get to know your internship coordinators and your faculty advisors because you just never know where those people are going to be down the road.”
…this is a message I tell my students, “get to know your internship coordinators and your faculty advisors because you just never know where those people are going to be down the road.”
Tim: That’s great advice and I love the piece about the nonlinear nature of your path. I think that’s very relevant for a lot of people in 2020 as students are graduating to a vastly different job landscape than what they expected, folks are losing jobs, changing jobs, and for many of us, the straight line we may have envisioned has changed so much.
Dr. Phelps: One of the things I try to get across to students whether it’s grad or undergrad, paraphrasing a Mike Tyson quote, “everybody has a plan until they get hit in the face.” A lot of kids I see at the undergrad level think, ‘this is step one, two, three. I go to college, these are the steps I take and these things happen for me when I graduate’. But then 2020 comes around with Covid and the sports industry gets completely walloped. No sports exist. Then you think, how do I make amends? How do I get to the next step? How do I keep going? With grad students it’s, how do I pivot when I thought I was going to do this and now that no longer exists? Flexibility, perseverance and being able to take goals that are sidetracked and still reach them is important. Just knowing that it will take you some steps to the side before you can keep going forward.
Tim: Your educational path started out with an associate’s degree in photography and then moved on to a bachelor’s in mass communication. How did you choose what degrees and institutions were going to be the most helpful and relevant to you as you made your way in the sports world?
Dr. Phelps: I was a four-two-four person. I started out at Montana State University with Earth Science. I thought I was going to be a meteorologist. When I got there my academic told me I needed four years of calculus, physics, chemistry, etc. As a freshman I was overwhelmed with college calculus so I transferred to Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming. They have an excellent photography program. A small school was what I needed at that time. While there I worked for the student newspaper, the yearbook and occasionally with Mark Kitchen, another person in my past who helped me along. He was kind of their PR person when I was there. Through these, I was still involved in sports and I also worked in intramurals and recreation. I got the two-year associate’s degree and I was all set to go into the working world. I graduated and interviewed for a small-town paper of Belgrade, west of Bozeman Montana. In my interview while showing my photography portfolio and writing pieces, I noticed the editor say, “you know sports journalism isn’t true journalism.” That was shocking to me for someone to say that doesn’t count, what I’d been doing the last couple years doesn’t count for anything. So I looked around and decided on Eastern Montana College which was a block away from my mom’s house. The athletic director at the time, Woody Hahn, had been my P.E. teacher in elementary school. These ties, networking pieces in my life, keep popping up. He found out I enrolled and helped me out with some financial aid money and allowed me to take pictures for the athletics at Eastern Montana College. I agreed and worked on a mass comms degree which I jokingly referred to as being able to sell used cars when I graduated. Because at the time, Eastern Montana’s mass comm degree was a little bit of everything, but not really good in one thing. You do a semester or two at the KEMC, the public radio station. I did my internship with news media services because we didn’t have a sports information director at the school at the time. That was extremely helpful. I had two supervisors. One was kind of the SID, Farrell Stewart was her name. Then I had a second supervisor who was a former newspaper editor. He taught me to write journalistically. Short sentences, get to the point. I grew up in a household with two younger brothers and we were given books and taught to read and write at a very early age. My dad wrote on the side as his hobby. He was a poet. He published short stories and so forth in small presses. So we were always around the written word. When I was interning it was all about learning to write, so it was extremely beneficial. Because I thought sports information was going to be the career pathway for me, I started looking around and talking to people. The entry criteria for a lot of colleges and universities is that you’ve got to have the master’s degree. Universities like for their staff to have an advanced degree. Therefore graduate assistantships become a unique opportunity. I applied to a bunch of schools and Minnesota State as it’s called now is the place I chose. It had sports I’d never been around and I knew that it had a reputation of high academic standards, but I was also going to learn in the practical sense. That was the first stepping stone, going to what was then called Mankato State.
Tim: In your program at Colorado Mesa, you really emphasize communication and being able to write and get the point across. It sounds like something you’ve developed over your career and are really making it one of the keystones of your program now.
Dr. Phelps: Yes. With my colleague Dr. Sloane Milstein, both at the undergrad and grad level, if you can’t communicate effectively, and we define what effective means, how do you expect you are going to get a job or supervise people? One of the things I tell my students upfront here at Mesa is that I’m a son of an English teacher both at the high school and university level. My dad taught for a few years at the university level when I was little. So all the pain and agony inflicted upon me as a child, I’m inflicting upon you. It would be easy to stand up as a boomer or gen-x’er saying, “hey, millennials these days..”, but look, if you can’t write a sentence or can’t conduct an interview without using “um, uh, ok” or all those interrupters, then it’s going to be a challenge for you to get employment. You might be a genius. You might be the best thing in the world for this organization, but they are going to look at you and go, “I don’t know about your writing ability, how you turned in your letter of application and resume with a typo, being uncomfortable in an interview…” Written and verbal communication are both very important to Dr. Milstein and I in getting undergraduate students prepared. We are in a hyper-competitive industry. One of my first years at Florida State, they created a regional sports management conference and had a VP from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was the keynote speaker and opened up the conference. I remember him talking, all the undergrads rapt at attention because, and he said the worst thing an applicant can do is write in their letter of application, “I love sports”. And then for dramatic effect, he crumpled up a piece of newspaper and threw it in a garbage can and said, “that’s where your letter goes.” And the point we are trying to make is, you may never ever actually see a sporting event when you work for the organization. You might be in the bowels of the arena or have your back turned to the field of play. So how do you distinguish yourself? Communication is one of those things. Your letter of application and resume are good and you can carry on a conversation in some capacity. That’s especially important now with Covid because we are all doing Zoom interviews. I’m sitting on a search committee for a coaching position. It wasn’t that long ago that we were doing phone interviews. I served on a search committee when we hired Dr. Milstein and that was a phone interview. For this assistant coaching position, we went right to Zoom. We ranked the candidates, we said here’s our list and we did a zoom interview with each of them. That’s a plus and minus for any potential applicant. How are you conducting yourself in that phone interview? We don’t know. You could be sitting at home in your PJs with your feet up. With a Zoom interview at least from the top up you have to look professional. It is a point of emphasis with us in sport management here in Mesa.
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Tim: Throughout your career you’ve stayed really involved in academia and published extensively on organizational theory. What got you thinking about how organizations function and led you down that path in research?
Dr. Phelps: I have two younger brothers. When I decided to work on my PhD, my youngest brother was already heavily immersed in his PhD program at NYU in the Stern School of Business, so there was a little sibling rivalry. My brother Corey was the one that said, “hey look, you’ve given me a list of schools. Why are you thinking of any of these schools? Not because it has the great academic reputation of Harvard or Yale, but because it’s a big research institution that’s going to help you down the road.”
When I got to Florida State, it wasn’t that I didn’t know what to study, I had an idea. I didn’t know it was called organizational behavior or organizational theory. I didn’t know those words existed. In a previous life I worked for Delta Airline and it amazed me that planes got off the ground, as dysfunctional as that organization was across the board, from Atlanta on down. The individual stations and cities do amazing things to get the planes up in the air, but with the people in Atlanta and the regional hubs you just think, how are we getting planes up? So the question always stuck with me, how and why do organizations do the things they do? That’s what got me thinking about Triathlons being this bizarre little sport that could have gone by the wayside, like skateboarding, and just sat out there as kind of a fringe sport. From my PhD and my dissertation on how Triathlons went from zero to the Olympics in a very quick period of time, I was able to do some things and look at some organizations. I was able to publish off the dissertation, and that made my academic advisor happy. Then I was in New Zealand. I was in a country where sport was socialized. There’s a minister of sport, how cool is that? There is a minister in Parliament whose job it is to oversee a lot of sports in New Zealand, and sports receive direct funding from the government. Because several of my colleagues were not from New Zealand (Germany, Australia, Canada), those sorts of things pop up and I got to look at how organizations behave in a different setting. Those are the kinds of things that tickled my fancy. I was looking at why we do these sorts of things. Why did Triathlon do the things it did to get to the Olympics? Why does government spend money to host mega events, World Cup soccer, Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and those sorts of things? Being able to get involved with those sorts of projects over the years was beneficial. It’s still a small world in academia. I left New Zealand but so did some of my other colleagues. Former colleagues are in Australia now and through those networking ties, projects pop up. People come to you with interesting projects. I was also lucky enough to have some really good grad students in New Zealand that wanted to move up and start working on doctorates and publications. Reader’s Digest version, I am curious how and why organizations do the things they do.
Tim: So it sounds as though your experience in New Zealand and China has really influenced your thinking on the field of sports management. What did it do for you personally? What do you think students stand to gain from studying or working in another country?
Dr. Phelps: Right off the bat, getting out of your comfort zone. I had an undergrad who graduated in December and I was really trying to recruit him into our master’s program. However, he really wants to go big time and go to Arizona State University. He did a semester overseas in England. We’ve chatted on numerous occasions about what he learned. Well, it’s about being in a culture that’s not your own. In the US we call the Super Bowl the world championship, we call baseball the World Series, we call the NBA a world championship, but we’ve ignored the other two hundred countries. In New Zealand it was great for me because for example, rugby was king. I knew a little bit about rugby. I had a couple students at Florida State who were on the club rugby team there. My dad had a close friend in Montana who was a big rugby fan, who played for the local club team in Billings, Montana. So I had an awareness of it but it was such a great experience to say, “hey this isn’t my culture.” Sure we speak the English language, but we don’t. It’s not the same. They are heavily influenced by the British because that’s a big chunk of their history. While I was there, New Zealand hosted the Rugby World Cup. People there often talk about punching above their weight, how is this country of four million people a rugby powerhouse? Because of those cultural components, certain sports receive more funding during the Olympic cycle than other sports. New Zealand has a tremendous history of distance running, track cycling and rowing including canoe and kayak. This little bitty country at the bottom of the world has a tendency to crush the big countries in the sport of triathlon. People would always try to wind me up by saying, “New Zealand’s won more medals in triathlon than America has.” I would say, “yes on the men’s side, however the women’s side, America has won more medals than New Zealand women.” It was a tremendous experience to be able to work there. Plus, being able to work with colleagues where if you were from New Zealand, you were the anomaly. A lot of exercise science people were from out of the country. Then you throw in the mix between the Europeans and the Maori indigenous people that exists. When I did research I had to fill out an internal review board, an ethics committee application and you had to address the Maori population. So governments and universities at the highest level wanted to make sure you weren’t excluding the Maori population for any particular reason, or negatively impacting them. So in my case, the research I did with my colleagues, it was all inclusive. But you had to be aware. Then you come back to the US, and it would be like me teaching at MSU Billings, where I wanted to do a study, and the Crow Tribe which is about an hour away would need to be considered. That wouldn’t cross anybody’s mind here in the US. It’s little bits and pieces like that that make you go, “oh”. You start to think about the bigger picture rather than only staying narrow and focused.
Tim: I’ve always thought that in international education, as interesting as anything you learn about the world or other countries when you travel abroad may be, it’s equally interesting or exciting what you bring back home and the lens through which you view your home country after having been somewhere else.
Dr. Phelps: That’s an insightful way of looking at it. I would come back twice a year to Montana when my parents were still alive. I would come back at Christmas time and during North American summer time and spend a couple weeks there. Friends and family didn’t want me driving the first couple of days because I drive on the wrong side of the road. In New Zealand they drive on the other side of the road. Also, you look at how your home country’s sports are covered in the media in another country. I taught a facility and event management class and we’d talk about how Auckland should build a new stadium. Eden Park is the home of rugby in Auckland. It’s also the home of cricket but it’s an aging facility. Right after I moved there, one of my students had ties to Eden Park and gave me a tour. Back story, he had gone to the US for a couple years and played baseball and seen US facilities. So when I asked him, “this is the national stadium?” He said, “yeah, you’re right.” So here’s a country trying to figure out how they are going to build a new stadium. I’m talking two or three million. Now, I put on my ugly American hat and tell him to go to Texas where they have one hundred-million-dollar high school football stadiums. We’re talking about billion-dollar stadiums, Jerry’s World in Dallas, SoFi in L.A., the Giants and Jets. Then you look at how sports are covered. In New Zealand they call it the “tall poppy syndrome” where you want to be successful but it seems the general public doesn’t want you to be too successful. Whereas in America we seem to embrace the most successful person. People would get upset when rugby players would leave to play in other countries. They would say I can maybe make a million dollars a year here, or I can go to France and make five million dollars a year. So they’d leave. New Zealand Rugby used to have a rule that said if you left, you’d never be considered for the All Blacks; you were done. So most of the time guys left at the tail end of their career. During the late ‘90s and early 2000s, they had world class talent being looked at by professionals from across the globe and they thought they were going to lose their players. So New Zealand rugby suddenly had to create the overseas experience where they could do their one off and go away for a year, make five million dollars and come back and play for the All Blacks. They realized they couldn’t compete. If Alex Rodriguez was making twenty-seven million dollars a year playing baseball, I would joke with my students, that would pretty much buy provincial rugby. Alex Rodriguez could own provincial rugby nationwide for twenty-seven million dollars. Overall, the experience provides great insight. You start to think, “are we out of touch?” We spend a lot of money and Covid has certainly shown just how much of an impact it can have when we start to lose that pent up demand.
Tim: Looking at the graduate program that you direct at Colorado Mesa, and also in the broader sense, why do you feel that sports management as a degree and profession is a good choice for students that are so inclined these days?
Dr. Phelps: If you want to work in college and university sports, the master’s degree has almost become the entry criteria. If you look at job descriptions of NCAA division one, two, three and NAIA schools and maybe even junior colleges, you’ll see that a master’s degree is preferred. You’ll see obtaining it is at the very least an entry criterion. What’s the value in it though? What I like to think about master’s degree programs, whether it’s ours or others across the country or the planet, is that critical thinking gets enhanced and your ability to problem solve gets enhanced. It’s not only the academic side of things, it’s the practical side of things. Whether it’s an internship or a traditional graduate assistantship at a school, you get both simultaneously. Practical experience as well as theoretical experience. Myself and Dr. Milstein both had nontraditional pathways into the world of academia. We didn’t go the straight line so we have a lot of practical experience in different areas. The common theme between us is events. We both worked events in our life. I believe that our sample size of one, Colorado Mesa, has that ability to take what goes on in the real world and what happens in the theoretical, bring those two together, and interpret the best possible solution given the circumstance. You can look at a situation and say, “does that actually work? Does that actually happen?” Some of our classes are more theory driven and some are more practitioner driven. A course like sports and society that I teach is much more theory driven. Dr. Milstein’s marketing class is way more practitioner focused, but introduces some marketing theory. We hope that we can combine those two. We don’t need a student to graduate and say, “I know what institutional theory is and strategic choice is from an organizational theory side of things.” No, because if you have a question, you will look it up. That involves your critical thinking skills. You can look at a problem and think what might be happening or determine what is happening. Then you can think back to your governance or event management class where you covered these things and be able to merge the theoretical with the practical. We do have a non-thesis track. All our students right now are leaning towards that. The idea is that they want to work in the industry. We did have one though that graduated in December that is pondering, whether or not she wants to pursue a PhD. Our students at the grad level pursue a master’s degree that is rigorous and that applies to the practitioner role that they want to aspire to when they graduate. For our graduates that seems to be the case when we talk to them close to graduation. They have their goals and ideas, whether it’s coaching, athletic administration or event management. Those seem to be pieces of the puzzle for graduate students right now.
Tim: Do you think there is a difference in the way employers see students who have done a thesis versus a non-thesis track grad program? Maybe not just in their credentials but in the skills they bring?
Dr. Phelps: I was a non-thesis track as a graduate student. That’s why to this day I’m still shocked I got into Florida State. That’s not to say a non-thesis track is bad. What we have done with our program is that if you decide to do a non-thesis track, your internship becomes your capstone project. We really push hard on our grad students who go with the non-thesis track because that means we want you to gain as much practical experience as possible. So what does that internship look like? At Colorado Mesa as a whole, we don’t have traditional graduate assistantships and departments. So it’s not like if you get an MBA you are going to have a graduate assistantship doing something within the business school. We have some one-offs. The athletic department here at Mesa, they may decide they need some help and create a graduate assistantship for one year and for a student to maybe work events. We had one student who graduated this past spring. He had a traditional type graduate assistantship with athletics and it was events. So he was operations. Everything from stocking the concession stands to having undergrads sweep floors during games, to game day operations at football and baseball, whatever. We have some interns that have done some placements within athletic departments, just as interns, not as traditional graduate assistantships. We want that last piece, that capstone component to be of value to you, graduating your master’s degree and being able to show your experience. The really switched on students, especially those who are local and who are thinking in advance, their first day, they’ve already lined up something like working with basketball. They don’t care if it’s just breaking down film, they want to do that. If they are doing it in a year, they start in August, maybe starting to do stuff on their own in the second semester and by summer time when they are supposed to complete their internship, they can help work with camps and gain the ancillary experiences that are necessary. Much depends on the student and what their career goals are. Ones who are on the college track and want to be a college coach, they lay the groundwork pretty early. Ones who we’ve seen that want to go that route, they’ve latched onto a team from day one, whether it’s starting out as a simple volunteer or graduate assistantship or they are getting into athletic administration to start working in athletics as soon as they can. And it’s beneficial to those programs too because they are going to get a student that is a little bit more mature. That’s a selling point. When you are applying for the job, there is some maturity as a graduate student along with credentials and experience. What I hope that our graduate students are able to do is tell a prospective employer what they are able to do for them, versus an undergrad who will do anything for a job. Graduate students have done some things and have life experiences, which is tremendously beneficial. For those traditional college track and sports organizations, if we wander off into the weeds and get into some non-profits, they’ll associate a master’s degree with higher pay. But ultimately, the credential opens the door and much like anything in life it’s about what you bring to the table after that.
Tim: Your master of science program fully online, which means students could do this from anywhere in the country or the world. It’s probably something that more colleges and universities are going to realize is doable, valuable and has some real advantages. What’s your take on the online format? What are the challenges and opportunities? How do you make sure students connect with each other and you in a meaningful way?
Dr. Phelps: Yes. You do lose that traditional seminar type thing where you get to talk and meet them. One of the things I really liked when I was at Mankato State was that the faculty there forced us to get to know our counterparts and also did some social things. The barbecue at the professor’s house, we lose those. But, this is where Dr. Milstein has done tremendously. When Covid hit, even though our courses are online, the graduate level event management classes were going to put on an event and since most of our students were in Grand Junction in the spring, it meant that a few students could meet each other and talk with each other. And they were going to host these three events, a yoga day, a film discussion such as ‘Remember the Titans’ and its sociological perspective, and then a career day. Then Covid forced us to pivot. The students then had to figure out how to talk to their teammates. So they were having to Zoom, Skype or Facetime themselves or whatever platform they wanted to use because they still had to come together. Then Dr. Milstein would bring the class in. Even though our classes are designed to be asynchronous in nature, she moved a couple of her classes to set up a doodle and find out the best time to meet. Then she’d walk through the issues everyone was having. The challenges exist, I can’t sit down with my students and know them face to face so I have to be way more proactive. I also need to have students who are able to engage in more self-directed learning. They have to be motivated to go to class even at 5pm. There’s no deadline or anyone looking over your shoulder saying what is due. It’s your responsibility to go online. I have a canned lecture, I set up office hours through the phone calls or Zoom in case they have questions. Overall, it’s a lot of self-directed learning. The plus side and this is why the program was designed, it’s for the working professional. If you want to upskill yourself, you can do it. If you have a full-time job, you can still complete a master’s degree. In our courses we have modules. It’s a university term which means anything less than the sixteen-week course. Our modules are eight weeks so in a semester, if you go full time and complete four modules, that’s twelve credits. There’re thirty credits in a degree so you take a big chunk out each semester that you do it. You work at your own pace. The deadlines are there, so for the working professional, we believe it can be extremely beneficial. It’s like those commercials I’m always seeing for Southern New Hampshire or the University of Phoenix, it’s on your time. If you want to set up a time and work from eight o’clock in the morning to nine and do your schoolwork, fantastic. As for the online component, schools that were already doing it, Covid was an annoyance, but it wasn’t crushing. I say that because at Mesa during mid-March, life changed. Our students were told to leave. But in sports management, even at our undergrad level, all our classes are online. You can either take them face to face or online. So spring semester might be online and fall semester might be face to face. We were already in an online environment, so the challenges we had on campus and that other institutions had was that transition period for them. How do I move that face to face content to online content? In Sports management, Dr. Milstein and I thought not much had changed. We were already operating in that environment with sports management grad and undergraduate levels so it wasn’t a big challenge with us. In fact, it allowed us to experiment a little bit more, to do things we might not have done if we just maintained the status quo.