Melissa Koop

Melissa Koop

Major: Math

Year of Graduation: 2017

Graduate Program/Location: Sports Law & Business, Arizona State University-Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Phoenix, AZ


Please give a brief description of your current position.

I am a graduate student pursuing my Master’s degree in Sports Law & Business from Arizona State University-Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It is a one of a kind program that allows me to study the legal and business principles impacting the sports industry and its organizations. I have taken classes on U.S. law and legal analysis, amateur sports law, sports analytics, sports business strategies, sports marketing, personal and business branding, and NCAA compliance. In addition to my coursework, I completed an internship with ASU’s volleyball team, conducted a research project on NCAA Athletic Directors, and I am an analytics tutor.

What path did you follow to get to your current position?

I played volleyball at St. Ben’s and always wanted to coach. I knew I would have to get a Master’s in a sports management-related degree to pursue that dream. I was drawn to my current program as it was unique and presented more of a challenge by mixing business and law. I applied for the program senior year of undergrad and was fortunate to be accepted the spring before graduation. The summer between graduation and starting my Master’s degree, I was a research intern at the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport. I started my graduate program the fall after I graduated from St. Ben’s.

What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?

Whether it be an internship, job, or volunteering, I would recommend getting involved and getting experience in any area of athletics you can! My program directors valued applicants who already had some experience in the field. In looking for a graduate program, I would suggest making sure the school has the right curriculum and resources for your career path.

What skills are important in your field?

The sports industry is a relatively small world, so networking and getting to know people is helpful for getting a career in sports. Keep in contact with past coaches and/or reach out to someone in the area you want to work.  In addition, finding what makes you different is important in the sports industry. Everyone in sports is passionate about sports, so differentiating yourself can make you stand out among your peers.

What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your position?

Sports have been a large part of my life and have taught me so many life lessons. I really enjoy continuing my passion for sports by having the opportunity to learn and be at the forefront of sports law and business.

Most challenging?

Balancing accelerated, graduate level coursework, my research job, and my internship with the volleyball team has been challenging at times but getting to work and study in a field I love makes it worth it.  

What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?

The following were the activities and experiences I was involved in that helped me get into my program:

  • Summer Research Internship at the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport
  • Mathematics Major
  • Exercise Science and Sports Studies Minor
  • Exercise Science and Sports Studies internship as a volleyball tournament assistant director
  • Volleyball student-athlete
  • Volleyball coach
  • Campus Recreation and Fitness Center Manager
  • SAAC representative

(June 2018)