2011Jan 25

Checking in as a Hoosier: Scott Campbell, SPAD’10

Special Contribution by Scott Campbell, SPAD ‘10

Scott Campbell, SPAD'10: life in Hoosier land

It’s hard to believe how fast four years of SPAD goes by. The memories of sitting in first year statistics thinking, “How am I going to get through this” are still vivid. But through all the highs, lows and experiences of university life, it’s amazing how quickly four years passes you by. For me, my education is going to extend beyond my Laurentian career, as I’ve just recently embarked on a Master’s in Recreation & Sports Management from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN. Oh, by the way, the people of Indiana are referred to as ‘Hoosiers’, in case that threw you off!

The decision to come to the United States for a post-graduate degree has been something that I’ve always wanted to do, but it was certainly a complex decision narrowing down the specific school. Unlike Canada, there are significantly more Sports Management programs in the US, which makes it somewhat difficult to narrow down which schools may be a fit for you based on several factors including Cost, Location, Course Offerings, Faculty, among others. Eventually I accepted ISU’s offer of admission in September, and from what I began working for Titleist after finishing classes last April, I spent my last day there on December 30th, and packed up shop for Western Indiana.

Through the first week of classes thus far, one thing is clear, that SPAD can do a lot to prepare you for whatever path you embark on. We take three classes per semester here, myself currently enrolled in Media Relations in Sport, Law &Risk Management and Advanced Sports Marketing. Already, I know that my education from SPAD has prepared me not only with factual knowledge in a variety of disciplines, but allowed me to add other important skills such as being comfortable presenting, engaging in the class, and being an asset in other campus activities through my experiences at Laurentian.

This should mean a lot to you if anyone was ever sceptical of going to a school like Laurentian when some of your friends may have been going to other more “notable” schools in Ontario. I have kids in my class who have attended some of the most prestigious public & private institutions in the United States such as the University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska, Indiana University and Purdue University, but I know that I won’t be left behind here and that my time at SPAD has effectively prepared me for this chapter of my life.

Oakley Place on ISU Campus

Aside from that, life on the campus of an American public state school is definitely exciting. ISU isn’t an overly big school, with approximately 13,000 students at this point, but the campus covers quite a bit of ground and is mainly a walking campus. I’m working in the Communications & Marketing department here on the side, doing some writing for the local paper and for ISU publications as well; which promises to be a positive experience. I’ve been around the US quite a bit, but my time in the Midwest has been pretty limited, so it’s been good to experience the difference in culture here and receive no shortage funny looks because of my “accent”.

Sports are a huge component of schools in the US, and the NCAA has even established quite a following in Canada as well. Indiana State is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), with ten other Midwest schools ranging from Northern Iowa to Creighton University. The ‘Sycamores’ as our team is affectionately referred to as, have seen their ups and downs in their athletic history, but seem to be ascending in time for my arrival here! You might know ISU from NCAA basketball history, as the Sycamores were part of the game that is credited with creating the “March Madness” hoopla that embraces us all at the end of every March.

Yeah, 1979 was the start of the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson rivalry. Bird, an ISU alumnus, and one of the top NBA players of all time, led the Sycamores to a perfect season heading into the Championship game against Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans. Unfortunately, the Cinderella story ended there, as the Sycamores came up short in the end, but it’s a cool piece of history to have at the school here.

This year Indiana State has a promising team, as they currently are 5-1 in conference play and are tied for second in the MVC. Generally basketball teams play out of conference games the first half of the season, and then move in conference for the second half. At the start of March, the MVC has their Conference Championship in St. Louis in what has become known as “Arch Madness” (due to the St. Louis Gateway Arch), where I’m likely going to be volunteering this year. The MVC Championship had the sixth highest attendance out of any NCAA Conference last year and some of the teams in the league regularly draw over 10,000 fans.

Sadly, ISU is lagging behind in that department as we’re only averaging about 5,000 fans per game at the Hulman Center, which can hold over 10,000 fans. Either way, it would be sweet if ISU could somehow pull out the title this year and earn their first NCAA Tournament (March Madness) appearance since 2001! We were able to knock of Northern Iowa pretty convincingly last week at least, which was a good win as they made it to the Sweet Sixteen in last year’s March Madness.

Football is also picking up steam, after the team went through an anaemic drought for the last five years where they had claim to a 35 game road losing streak. While we are a D1 school in every sport, our football team plays in the Football Championship Series (FCS), not the Football Bowl Series (FBS). Sometimes it’s referred to as Division 1-AA instead of Division 1-A. The Sycamores were 6-5 this year in their first season over .500 since 1996. Next year we open up the season at Penn State, so I’m definitely looking forward to making a trip out to Happy Valley

Baseball is another big sport here, which starts up in February and runs through to the first part of the summer. ISU has a pretty rich baseball history, and last year one of our pitcher’s went in the 2nd round of the MLB Draft to the Chicago White Sox with another outfielder going in the 16th round to Texas. Lastly, ISU is also a fixture amongst NCAA cross country, as Terre Haute and ISU have hosted several of the past Cross Country Championships last decade and will be hosting the 2011 edition as well, which has led many to refer to Terre Haute as being Cross Country Town USA. And at the end of the day, there’s still a few Big 10 schools (IU-Bloomington, Purdue, Illinois) which are pretty close by, as well as last season’s March Madness runner up, Butler, which is in Indianapolis.

Overall, I’m looking forward to what ISU has to offer me, and while I haven’t even decided if this is my last foray into the University world, I’m going to enjoy my time here just the way I did at Laurentian! To anyone in SPAD now, I hope you guys really get everything you can out of the program, and even if grad school isn’t for you, the program will prepare you with a lot of the tools you will need for a successful career upon graduation. If anyone wants to flip me an email with any questions about what it’s like studying in the US, I’ve researched quite a few schools and visited with several as well and I’d be happy to assist you with any questions you may have. You can get a hold of me at my email – scottcampbell@thescoutingreport.org

And most importantly, I promise not to forget it’s spelled colour, honour and flavour… no matter what my spell check is telling me!

– Scott

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