Last weekend, three FEMBAs won the 4th annual Game Day Sports Case Competition at Villanova University. Congratulations to Thomas Crutchley ’19, Keenan Long ’19 and Doug Paulus 19. And special thanks to Thomas for this interview.
Dylan: So first, Thomas, thanks for bringing me the good news. And second, tell me all about the Game Day Sports Case Competition.
Thomas: My pleasure Dylan. Well we all flew to Pennsylvania last weekend. A cool thing was that MEMES paid for our plane tickets to go compete. We won from a field of nine teams including Penn, U Connecticut, another UCLA team, USC and Villanova.
Dylan: Congratulations! Tell me more.
Thomas: Well, this was the 4th annual for this case competition. It goes back and forth between UCLA Anderson and Villanova. UCLA hosted 1 and 3, and Villanova hosted 2 and 4. It comes back to UCLA next year I believe.
Dylan: That’s great. So our new FEMBA 2020 students reading this, pay attention, maybe you can participate next year. And you won’t have to fly to Pennsylvania.
Thomas: Yeah, they’ll save a flight, but they’ll miss out on the Philly cheesesteaks!
Dylan: Life is full of difficult choices for sure. How did you hear about the competition?
Thomas: Keenan got an email from the SBA [the Sports Business Association] and we looked into it. The hardest part honestly was that this competition requires both MBA and Law School students be on every team.
Dylan: Cool. So how’d you get a law student on your team?
Thomas: All internal networking. We reached out to Dean Freixes. We just started asking around. We ultimately connected with Ilan Issacs, a 3L here at UCLA Law. He crushed the legal part. He’s going into entertainment law after graduation.
Dylan: And how about Doug and Keenan, your fellow FEMBAs? How all do you know each other.
Thomas: Well first we’re all in Section 3. Go section 3! And second, we’re all just a bunch of sports lovers.
Dylan: And was this your first case competition?
Thomas: For sure. First case competition for all of us. Turns out all four of us have a sports connection. Ilan walked on to the soccer team at Brown. Keenan played semi-professional Major League baseball. I played college baseball at UCSD. And Doug self-describes as the “ultimate intermural athlete.”
Above: 2017 Game Day Sports Case Competition (L-R) Ilan Isaacs 3L UCLA Law School, host and professor Jeffrey Moorad, Keenan Long 19, Doug Paulus 19 and Thomas Crutchley 19.
Dylan: Nice. And how about Jeffrey Moorad, professor and founder of the Game Day Sports Case Competition? [Shown in the photo above.]
Thomas: That’s one of the coolest parts. So he’s amazing. He’s a former sports agent, as well as the former CEO and former minority owner of both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB).
And, he’s part of the inspiration of the Jerry Maguire character in the movie.
Dylan: No way. That’s awesome. I didn’t know that?
Thomas: When he teaches sports business at UCLA, he brings in all kinds of big names, A-Rod, like that. He represented Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Manny Ramirez. That’s where they got all the perspective that became the Jerry Maguire character.
Dylan: Oh yeah. That’s right. In my Drive Time podcast interview with our FEMBA Olympic Gold medal winner Ed Moses last year, Ed mentioned being in that class.
Thomas: Professor Moorad is amazing. He created this case competition. He put up the prize money.
Dylan: I’m looking him up online right now. Looks like he’s an alum of both UCLA and also Villanova, and that in 2012 he donated $5 million to the Villanova Law School for the creation of a new Center for the Study of Sports Law.
Thomas: Exactly. And when we met him at first we didn’t recognize him. We were all mingling around and one of asked, “So what’s your role here?” Later, when he went up on stage and we realized the whole thing revolves around him. You know. It was a moment.
Dylan: Love it. Well what were your other take-aways? Was it worth your time and effort?
Thomas: For sure. I think for all of us, what was really exceptional was the interaction with the judges. I mean, these were some real big names in sports management, like Joe Banner, former president of the Phildelphia Eagles. He was a judge. People like that.
And we were hanging out with them, listening to them talk about their careers.
It was eye-opening. It’s not just an old boys network. The way they described their career paths, you can see it. You can see that you can take an MBA, or a law degree, and you can really make a career in sports management.
Dylan: How great is that? We all know sports is a huge business and it’s only going to grow.
Thomas: Yes. And these guys were telling us how to get started. I mean, they all gave us their business cards. It was great.
Dylan: Oh very good. Hold on to those. And follow up. Send ’em a ping now and again to keep them posted on how your MBA is going.
Thomas: We will for sure.
Dylan: Well thanks for this. You made my week with your story. Congratulations again Thomas (and Doug, Ilan and Keenan!).
Thomas Crutchley, FEMBA 2019, with the winning check. Congrats!