During a two-day visit to campus, Tom Yeager and Dan Schmitt spent extensive time speaking with sport management students and faculty, highlighting their careers working in college athletics and providing guest services at public events.
Since founding RMC Events in 1999, Dan Schmitt and the staff of his private security services firm in Virginia have overseen nearly 70,000 events for clients ranging from Kings Dominion and the Richmond Folk Festival to the University of Virginia’s athletic program.
During his more than three decades serving as the commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association – a tenure that ended in 2016 – Tom Yeager built the one-time regional conference into a league with a presence in major metropolitan areas along the East Coast.
This experienced duo made an extended visit to the Sport Management Department on Nov. 13-14 to share their professional insights and personal reflections, discussing the evolving facilities management industry and what the students can expect working in the sport industry. Yeager and Schmitt’s visit continues a trend of industry experts lecturing in sport management classes. Last week, NCAA Chief Operating Officer Donald Remy spoke to several Elon University classes, addressing topics related to amateurism, his organization’s history and present-day issues facing collegiate athletics.
Yeager and Schmitt kicked off their visit on Nov. 13 speaking with two sections of Assistant Professor Young Do Kim’s Facilities and Venue Management class. As one might expect, the conversation focused on how to plan and manage successful facilities including operations, crowd control and risk management.
Schmitt noted that in today’s litigious society his clients and their venues are fixated on reducing liability issues and potential ligation. “We are well past the days” when just any club or organization could work an event, he said. Schmitt explained that even ticket takers at his events undergo a two-day emergency management training session. “You really want professionals to run an event today,” he said.
Yeager added that third-party vendors like Schmitt’s private security services firm “bring a level of comfort to a promoter.”
Schmitt talked through several real-life issues his firm has encountered – some of them alcohol related. But he said he welcomed more universities and colleges allowing alcoholic beverages inside their sports venues, albeit with responsible limitations in place. Schmitt explained that allowing alcohol in facilities can limit excessive drinking leading up to kickoffs and tipoffs, creating a safer environment for fellow eventgoers and his employees.
These new policies will “take care of this problem before the problem comes to our gate,” he said.
“The benefits of having seasoned sport industry professionals like Tom Yeager and Dan Schmitt in our classes can’t be overstated,” said Tony Weaver, associate professor of sport management. “Between them, Tom and Dan have nearly six decades of experience working with venues and facilities, and their personal accounts of the challenges and hurdles they’ve faced will stick with our students. Our students will hopefully take what have heard and apply it to their studies, better preparing them for their careers.”
As part of their visit, Schmitt and Yeager also spoke with the Sport Management Department’s Sport Leadership and Event Management classes, as well as a Current Issues in College Athletics course, offered as part of the Elon Core Curriculum. They also stopped in on a Sport Management Society meeting.
Dan Schmitt and his wife, Sharon, are the parents of Communications Fellow Taylor Schmitt ’23, one of six first-year Fellows majoring in sport management. The Fellows program recently spent two days in Atlanta touring media outlets and visiting Elon alumni.