“Show Me the Money”

The interdisciplinary course “Show Me the Money” had been taught once before in the spring of 2012. It has now been revived and revamped for the coming winter quarter. It focuses on college sports and asks questions such as “How can a nonprofit also be part of a cartel?”

The course is taught by economics professor Humaira Jackson and sociology professor Eric Davis, or “Professor E” as he is known as by some of his students. It is an interdisciplinary studies course that attempts to bridge economics and sociology through the exploration of the modern sports industry. This will be done by teaching the two components of the class alongside each other and intertwining them. In Davis’s words: “Think of it like a road map. The econ is the road: it’s going to keep us moving forward, give us our boundaries, and get us from here to there. Sociology will add in and kind of be more [like] guideposts or the pit stops”

The idea for this course was first put forward by Davis, who was developing a course meant to tie together sociology and sports, but “he felt there was a point at which it really made sense to have economics incorporated, because it almost always lead to this question of revenue, profit, paying players,” said Jackson, whose collaboration has given the course an economic perspective.

This time around, the course will be much more focused on college sports and athletes as opposed to last time when it very broadly covered sports in general. There will be some discussions on high school and youth sports and how they lead to college sports, and how college athletics, in turn, leads to professional sports. However, the main focus will be college sports, the relationship between athletes, their teams, fans and the revenue they produce.

The class will have field trips and guest speakers, including coaches and athletes from various positions, to talk about their experiences being a part of the sports world. This will be studied through the course.

The class environment itself will be focused on discussions between the teachers and students rather than typical lectures. This does mean that there will be a good amount of reading for the homework. Three books have been selected so far, and the class won’t allow much time to sit back and relax, but for those interested in and passionate about the topic, engaging should not be a problem. “My classes will never be accused of being boring,” said Davis.

The class culminates in a project due at the end of the course, which will give students the chance to go out and investigate the sports world on their own through any means, conducting interviews, shooting short films, following the life of an athlete for a day, or going to a game and reporting on their experiences as a fan.

At 10 credit-hours the class is fit for the first-year student interested in sports or sports management. It fulfills requirements for both economics and sociology.

“I dare anyone to come to class feeling like ‘Oh man, I guess I have to go to my class today.’ We’re trying to build a class … that people are like ‘If everything about school was like this class … I would love school,’” said Davis.