THE OLD ADAGE GOES, "DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS," and we Houstonians tend to add an additional caveat, "especially Houston." We say this with confidence because we believe we live in the best city and after being named a prime destination for digital nomads and claiming home to one of the top higher education institutions, it’s safe to say a variety of national lists and surveys agree. With all these accolades, it's no wonder the 2023 NCAA Men's Final Four is claiming Bayou City as its home for the fourth time.
The event, which takes place in early April, will bring a wealth of enrichment to Clutch City, attracting tourists, increasing city revenue, and, more importantly, boosting local student engagement with the inauguration of a two-semester course to accompany the tournament.
Dubbed The Business of Major Sporting Events, the curriculum grants 60 students or representatives from its host universities—Houston Baptist University, Rice University, Texas Southern University, and the University of Houston—the hands-on experience in the essential, behind-the-scenes planning of the national championship and its accompanying events.
The accredited course, which began on August 31, will count toward students' determined degree plans and includes weekly guest lectures on community engagement, sales, public relations, marketing, social media engagement, and logistics from local executives. Beyond students receiving real-world experience, the course doubles as a fulfillment of the NCAA’s mission of education.
“Education is at the cornerstone of everything we do at the NCAA. College athletes are students first,” said NCAA managing director, JoAn Scott in a press release. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to teach Houston-area young people the business behind a major sporting event in a unique, innovative format.”
Similar event management education opportunities were offered in previous Final Four host cities, but this year's course presents an internship component in which scholars will serve on committees to plan and execute certain tournament events alongside the Houston Local Organizing Committee.
With the tournament dates slated for April 1-3, 2023, students will be afforded the opportunity of leadership roles and networking to create connections within the industry and the experience will be capable of translating outside of the classroom into postgraduate careers.
With the hopeful success of the 2022-2023 coursework and capstone, the Houston installation of the program will serve as the blueprint to continue in the future with other host cities.
For more information regarding the 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Four Tournament, visit their website.