Staying in Storrs: SPM Alumnus on Networking and NCAA Rules

The University of Connecticut’s Department of Educational Leadership is fortunate to have well-connected alumni who continue to work with the university post-graduation or who have returned after years of work in diverse professional settings. The “Staying in Storrs” series highlights our talented EDLR program alumni and the work they are currently doing with UConn. This feature focuses on the Sport Management Program.

Eric Schneider headshotEric Schneider, the current Assistant Athletic Director for the University of Connecticut’s Athletic Compliance Department, is a proud UConn Sport Management alumnus. Schneider, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management returned to Storrs in November of 2017 to work at his alma mater. 

During his time as an undergraduate student at UConn, Schneider took full advantage of the Sport Management Program, both inside and outside of the classroom, which broadened his perspective on sports. His interest in NCAA rules and interpretations grew tremendously during this time. In the sport world, it’s important to look at the whole picture and know what goes on behind the scenes – from the individual player experience to the individual fan experience. Schneider says,

“Overall the Sport Management Program exposed me to all different levels of sports.” 

Schneider believes that it is important to work with experts in all different levels of sports. He says that it allows for collaboration and is a way to see how the rules are interpreted differently.

After graduating from UConn, Schneider went on to earn a Master’s degree in Sport Management from Adelphi University, where he continued to gain valuable experience. He took on several coaching jobs, which he says he enjoyed as they gave him the opportunity to learn about sports from an NCAA and legal angle. He then completed a variety of impressive internships, and worked for the NCAA in its Academic and Membership Affairs division.

In the fall of 2017, Schneider returned to UConn because of the impactful role he felt the Sport Management Program had on his success. He credits the program for providing exposure and preparation for the professional world which helped him identify the trajectory of his career path.

In his position, he is responsible for answering questions when it comes to rule interpretations, so having an idea of the possible ways the rules can be (mis)interpreted allows him to not only give better answers, but to also improve the educational materials he provides to the athletic staff. Schneider expresses that he loves his job because of the many roles he has which include: ensuring that staff, coaches, and athletes are following NCAA rules and integrity, verifying eligibility standards for student-athletes, and creating educational materials to inform the athletic community about University rules and regulations. 

Schneider’s advice to aspiring sport professionals is to focus on networking. Networking in the sport industry is crucial to being successful, he says, because it is the best way to expose yourself to new opportunities. Forming connections and building relationships with a broad network of people in the field is something that Schneider did as a student and is something he credits to where he is today.