Episode 051 – Sports Law Professor And Writer Alicia Jessop
Alicia goes deep into the state of media and journalism in 2017, what the great leaders have in common, and how to get perspective on our problems.
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Hey everyone and welcome to the All-Star Leader Podcast, where together we learn about leadership from the best and brightest, and keep it fun by connecting it to our passion for sports!
I’m your host Daniel Hare, and today we are joined by Alicia Jessop. Alicia is a professor of sports law at the University of Miami, though she’ll be relocating to California in August to teach at Pepperdine University. She writes for SI.com in addition to her own site rulingsports.com.
In addition to her professional success, she gives back through multiple charities, including I’mMe, which focuses on ending the orphan crisis in Haiti.
This is Alicia Jessop. Alicia thanks so much for coming on the show!
- You had a proud moment recently in watching a couple of your students get drafted into the NFL; tell us about that and what you were feeling watching their names get called!
- David Njoku – #29 to the Cleveland Browns
- Closest to Brad Kaaya who was taken in the 6th round by the Lions
- Adam White took the video of David’s draft; founder of FrontOfficeSports; started the site as a sophomore in college and it’s now got tens of thousands of visitors
- ESPN recently let go a huge group of journalists, and I’m curious to get your take on that situation and what it says about where we are with sports and media in 2017.
- Unfortunate because some of the greatest sports journalists in the world lost their jobs
- There aren’t many landing places for them
- Newspapers are in trouble; media in general are in a scary state
- Social media allows everyone to be a pseudo journalist, pushing out the traditional journalists
- Losing the pure journalist who have to uphold standards/ethics
- Dana O’Neil one of the best sports writers of this generation, and she inspired/motivated Alicia to pursue her writing career
- Do we really understand the 1st Amendment and what it does for us? Do we not care about the journalist anymore?
- Gen Z has an attention span of eight seconds, so how can we make sure they get facts and truth when so much is entertainment?
- Okay now that we’ve got the current events out of the way, tell us a bit of your background and how you first got into the world of sports law and journalism.
- Is a young millennial and much like her generation, isn’t following a straight line path
- Went to law school thinking music or sports agent
- Had a real world moment with her assistant when the market crashed in 2008 and wiped out her retirement
- Graduated law school at the height of the recession in 2009
- She’s a devout Christian and prayed for her job and career as she watched her classmates struggle to find employment
- She was blessed to always have a job, but it just was never one she was passionate about
- Part of her died every day at this job (which was a good job!), though she knew she was fortunate to have it.
- Her dad said not to call her again until she had something positive to say
- Would work efficiently in her law office to give herself time to study and read about sports; that’s when she discovered Dana O’Neil
- That’s when she started her sports law blog, Ruling Sports
- Then, right place/right time, the NBA locked out their players, and was one of the only ones
- Got called by an agency; then got called by Forbes
- She struck what she was supposed to find; she has a calling as a writer looking for truth and positive stories
- Essays from Katy Couric / The only way to not get to the highest level of success is to quit; you have to believe in what you’re creating and tell the market why it’s important
- You have to follow and listen to the market; she watched and read and listened for six months before starting her blog
- Her agent told her she needed to be an expert in everything; she can talk business of the major sports which has widened her readership and opened up new opportunities
- So she niched down on the one hand (sports law), but then broadened out in the application (multiple sports)
- You have observed and written about leaders in the sports world; what are one or two common traits or approaches you see in the great leaders?
- Fearlessness; put yourself out there on the line; utter belief that you’re going to succeed
- She sees this in her students at Miami
- Also had opportunity to cover the Heat (Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron) and has interviewed Steph Curry for his Nothing But Nets malaria prevention project
- We’ve asked a number of guests on this show about the Millennial generation, but as a college professor you are starting to see the next generation, Gen Z, come through the doors. What can you tell us about them?!
- GenZ is also known as the Boomlets
- Biggest difference between Y and Z; Zs don’t know a world without the smart phone
- You have to meet Z where they are – smart phone
- Most spend over 10 hours per day there; attention span is short (eight seconds v. 12 for Millennials)
- You have to reach them in a visual way; get message out in short time; have to create digital messaging
- Best part of being a professor is you get to stay young by connecting with the students
- Whisper is an anonymous messaging system where you can post text/pictures that disappears
- Artist who took pictures of couples at different places and removed the phone from their hands (link here; it’s creepy!).
- We are losing face to face communication and just want to talk through our phones; leading to lower marriage and fertility rates!
- Tell us about your work in Haiti and how people can get involved.
- Got involved in 2014
- Friend had rescued nine kids in Haiti and wanted to jump in as a sponsor
- Tough point in her life, and focused on Jeremiah 29:11 which talks about God having plans to “prosper” you. One of the nine Haitian kids who needed a sponsors was named Prosper.
- The issue in Haiti is beyond orphan care; it’s job development, so she’s helping that initiative out
- Planning a computer programming course in Haiti through her own non-profit; once she is out of school debt, she would pack up and move there tomorrow. It’s the most important work that she does.
- She was always passionate about giving back; thought she would go into public interest law at one point
- We are so blessed in the U.S.; need to keep perspective, work together/collaborate
- Your passion is your gift to the world; must give freely of yourself
- May not be good to compare your problems to others, but since getting back from Haiti hasn’t had a bad day because of the perspective gained – when an eight-year-old looks one because he is malnourished, you get it real quick.
- Five rapid fire questions
- Name one trait or characteristic you want to see in a colleague.
- What habit has been key to your success?
- Most important app or productivity tool?
- Most influential leader you’ve personally been around?
- (I skipped this one!)
- One sentence of advice for emerging leaders?
- Do what you want to do and have fun every single day
- Name one trait or characteristic you want to see in a colleague.
- Where can people find you? How can they connect?
- Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Group – music
- Jonathan Davis – production
- Clint Musslewhite – voice over