Professionals from the field of sports and leisure waited on the first floor of the Washington-Johnson Complex as eager students trickled in for the Second Annuawl Sports Leadership Summit.
On Oct. 25, the Sports Leadership Association gave Grambling State University students another opportunity to meet with experts that advised them on how to get hired on the spot. In addition to the students spending more time with the guest panelists, new additions were added to the summit according to Christina Gipson.
“We wanted to host a two-day conference and get more students in the Louisiana area involved,” said Gipson, who played a major role in establishing the summit. “We also wanted to provide more hands on activities so the students would walk away with some kind of real experience.”
On the first day of the summit, students from Grambling State, University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette participated in a debate. Gipson was also a faculty athletic representative for GSU at an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar over the summer. During the seminar, Gipson met Layth Gafoor, a sports and entertainment lawyer from Toronto, and saw this as an opportunity to inform him on the limited opportunities available for students wanting to be successful in the field at GSU.
“I have a number of students interested in becoming agents. I wanted to bring people to them who practice law and could give them some guidance on the direction that needs to be taken,” said Gipson.
She invited Gafoor to be a part of the summit, and Gipson was persistent in keeping in touch with him after the NCAA seminar. As a former athlete, Gafoor has practiced law for eight years. One key thing he recommended to students was to maintain a high ethical level in the sports industry.
At the end of the summit, Gafoor said he “came to support professor Gipson.” He has always loved meeting and helping people, and plans to teach at Louisiana State University next year.
Another lawyer panelist, alumnus Daryl Washington recommended that the students go to law school during the summit because “your client spends most of their time with a legal team.”
The overall goal of the summit was met when students received information that they can use from an expert. A student assistant coach for the G-Men said he learned more at the seminar than what he has been learning in class.
“Today, what I learned was probably way more than what I would have learned in a classroom,” said senior Ellis Spears. “I learned different ways to be a professional. . .and I don’t think you can learn that in a classroom.”
First semester graduate student, Chandra Thompson said her goal was to get as many business cards and to network as much as she could during the summit. She also said how students interested in being successful in this field should come to the sports summit next year because “you never know who you will meet.”