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JMU students take the "win” by volunteering at the Final Four

by Mary-Hope Vass


While many basketball enthusiasts are checking their brackets for the madness of March, students at James Madison University are eagerly preparing for a behind-the-scenes experience at the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament.

Professors Alyssa Bosley and Joshua Pate, Ph.D., in the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management at JMU will travel with nine students to the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 4 through 9 to work events with the Final Four Organizing Committee and the American Cancer Society.

“Experiential learning is essential in sport and recreation management and this is an ideal opportunity for our students to gain hands-on work experience,” explained Pate. “The students will be able to put their classroom knowledge to work.”

Not only have the students been learning about coordinating an event of this magnitude, they are learning about the impact and cost on the local community, the volunteers needed and the many facets of sport and recreation management.  

“I have worked so hard to get to this point, and being selected to go on this trip will provide me with an opportunity to network, learn more about potential career paths and gain insight on what it takes to be successful in the sport and recreation industry. I can’t wait for the madness to begin,” explains Tanner Lippold of Winchester, Virginia and senior in JMU’s Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management. 

The group of students will be working the tip-off tailgate, NCAA Final Four dribble and fan fest activities in addition to the American Cancer Society’s coaches vs. cancer wives and friends’ brunch.

This isn’t the only connection JMU’s Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management has to this year’s Final Four.

JoAn Scott, member of JMU’s Hart School Advisory Council, is the NCAA managing director for Division 1 men’s basketball championships and operates the logistics of the entire tournament. J.W. Cannon, JMU alumnus and member of the Hart School Advisory Council, is the senior director of Sports Alliances at the American Cancer Society, that fosters initiatives between the organization and major sport leagues and conferences. Three Hart School alumni will also be working at the tournament.

Students will meet with Scott during the weekend of working events and get the opportunity to network with the American Cancer Society’s Sports Alliances staff.

This is the second consecutive year Hart School students have worked the NCAA Men’s Final Four events.

Regardless of what team takes home the title, the learning experience gained for the JMU students will certainly be a win.

Media contact: Mary-Hope Vass, 540-568-7487 or


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Published: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

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