“How you respond to adversity is what defines you.”
– Joel Maturi
52,557- That’s how many students attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (link to source). There are 52,557 Golden Gophers in the world and if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them. So, let me ask you a couple of quick questions. Do your professors know you by name? If you skipped a class (which we frown upon!), do you think your professors would even realize it? Do any of your professors give you a printout of your current grade in their class? What about late work, do they accept it? If you answered “no” to all of the above, welcome to college! In college, this is pretty typical. However, this is not how Professor Joel Maturi operates.
Professor Maturi is truly one of kind. His class sizes aren’t small, but he still makes an effort to get to know each and every one of his students on a personal level. At the beginning of class, he gave all of his students a printout of their current grade. Then, he took the time to go over all of the answers to the quiz that his students had just taken. (The quiz referenced financial terms and politics in the world of sports). Maturi is a man who has his students’ best interest in mind- always. He is a professor with integrity and a compassion for people. Moreover, he is very knowledgeable. Professor Maturi used to be the athletic director at the University of Minnesota. Therefore, he is able to make course content applicable to the real world. He’s always telling stories and this is found to captivate those in his classroom.
After reviewing the quiz, Maturi recapped the speech that was given during their last class period. The guest speaker, Joe Sweeney, was found to give a remarkable presentation and Maturi simply wanted to touch on the highlights of this. Professor Maturi summed up Sweeney’s speech by talking about how everyone has different passions in life. He also said that everyone possesses different gifts along with their various passions. Likewise, this speaker also discussed how people see the world and what people want from life. He told the class that people today often live for entitlement and not for gratitude, and then gave the students time to reflect upon this. After referencing Sweeney’s speech, Professor Maturi then went on to speak about a few of his personal beliefs. He spoke of how one’s response to adversity is found to define who they are as a person. In this segment of class, Maturi also recited some fun facts. He told his students that Joe Sweeney normally gets paid $25,000 (gasp!) to speak and that Sweeney has written a bestselling book as well. Thus, it’s safe to say that this guest speaker was one to remember and that the students in this class are very lucky to have been given the opportunity to listen to his words of wisdom.
The next portion of class was entitled, “Hot Topics”. This is where students got the chance to speak in front of their peers in regards to what was currently happening in the world of sports. The first student spoke of new legislation that was proposed by the NCAA. He also showed a brief video segment regarding this breaking news. Among the new legislation, both scholarship and walk-on student-athletes will now be allowed to have an unlimited number of snacks and meals from their respective schools. The student explained what this entails in greater detail and then went on to pose a couple of thought provoking questions. He asked questions such as, “Why do you think the NCAA did this?”, and “Do you think that this a good or bad idea?”. This then resulted in an interesting class discussion. Students began to voice their opinions on how this would effect the small D1 schools that can’t afford to do something such as this, and they also spoke of how students could abuse this privilege. Furthermore, these questions got students thinking about how this would effect the U’s financial situation/ status. (Another fun fact from Professor Maturi- there are 750 student-athletes at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities!)
The next two students both chose to do their presentations on the Dinkytown riots that took place last week. They gave an overview of what these riots consisted of and then posed some tricky questions. They asked questions such as, “Do you think the fact that it was a buzzerbeater game is what caused the students to riot?”, “What do you think would have happened if people wouldn’t have been allowed to watch the game at the bars?”, “Did all of the police efforts only make the riots worse?”, and “Do you think social media played a role in all of this?”. Another enticing conversation then began. Students spoke of their personal opinions regarding the riots, why they thought they occurred, and what factors played a role in them. It seemed as though everyone had their own story to tell in regards to the riots, and listening to other people’s thoughts and opinions was very interesting. Opinions were varied and this discussion caused students to really reflect on what happened. One key point that had been addressed was the role that social media seemed to play in all of this. Little things like uploading “selfies” with the SWAT team really seemed to fuel the fire. Think about it, would you still ask a SWAT team to take a pic with you if you couldn’t post it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat? Probably not. This is just one example of something that was being considered/ reflected upon (there were many others!).
The last portion of class was devoted to talking about a topic that was deemed to be controversial. Students discussed the unionization of college student-athletes. The question, “Should they be allowed to unionize, why or why not?” was posed and then another discussion section was found to follow. Once again students spoke of their personal opinions and potential complications with the topic at hand. This allowed individuals in the classroom to see things from divergent perspectives.
SMGT 3143- Organization and Management of Sports is a class that is focused around student participation and engagement activities. It’s a course that is found to be very interactive. Professor Joel Maturi creates a lively atmosphere in his classroom and he firmly believes that when students get involved, learning takes place. Professor Maturi does teach his students a great deal of information, however, he also ensures that they have fun throughout the learning process.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin
Photo/ GIF Sources: Sports Management Banner, Minnesota M