Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

McCormack's Contribution To UMass Program Paying Dividends

Among the many sports management institutions, The University of Massachusetts is making a heck of a run to be known as the best program in the land.

Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts
Credit: Thom Kendall, University of Massachusetts

A donation from the family of the late IMG founder Mark H. McCormack not only has armed the school with McCormack's collection of over 1,500 boxes of contracts and notes, but has also endowed an Executive-in-Residence program.

This week, over three days, the school invited sports TV negotiator Barry Frank, executive vice president of IMG Media Sports Programming, to meet with students and faculty to discuss his experience, the intracacies of the business and build their strategy for getting into the sports business space.

"You should see these kids and how they light up when they're talking to an icon like Barry," said Lisa Masteralexis, head of the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, which is housed at the Isenberg School of Management in Amherst. "They're hearing the first-hand stories from the guys who were in the biggest negotiations."

While Frank spoke about his past, including his time with McCormack and former ABC Sports programming great Roone Arledge, he said he's excited to work with the sports business leaders of tomorrow in a robust landscape.

"In terms of growth of sports television programming, there has never been a time like this," Frank said. "The college market is just growing exponentially to a point where I can envision as many as 50 schools having their own regional sports networks."

The "secret" to making that happen, Frank says, is to use the on-campus talent.

"The problem is that it costs as much to produce a track meet as it does to produce a football game," Frank said. "Schools are overlooking an incredible source of manpower -- the students themselves.

Not only do you allow the kids to practice, but you could cut costs by up to 90 percent." Frank is the second Executive-In-Residence.

The first was Jay Lafave, who co-founded IMG with McCormack.

All of those who are invited to the school not only teach, but are required to give. They have to tell their stories in front of the cameras for the school's Sports Innovation Oral History Project, in order to keep their contributions to sports business top of mind forever. The school is currently in the process of cataloging McCormack's papers, which is an immense task.

"There's only one Mark McCormack," Frank said. "And lucky for the students here, Mark saved everything. That's from Kindergarten on, every letter he received and every memo he wrote. The stuff they have here is a treasure trove of a man who build an incredible business and grew an entire industry."

McCormack's contribution and his IMG name has made the school a more popular option for international students since the IMG name is recognized worldwide.

"Our applications are up, especially from Asia," Masteralexis. "For the people that we admit, many come in awe of what we have to offer here, instead of coming here with a sense of entitlement."

Questions?  Comments?