Business students urged to volunteer at Final Four

March 10, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

By Mark Heller
GCU News Bureau

Three years ago, Cyone Batiste was a student at Louisiana State University listening to speakers drone on with career advice.

She was interested in marketing but “didn’t know a touchdown from a layup” when it came to sports. However, LSU needed student volunteers at athletic events, and she signed up to help get her foot in a door, any door.

Cyone Batiste tells Colangelo School of Sports Business students about the importance of volunteering for whatever role they can get in the sports world.

The LSU volunteer roles led to two unpaid internships, and the 25-year-old parlayed her work ethic into one of the few jobs available with the local NCAA Final Four organizing committee. Thursday afternoon, she used that anecdote to stress the importance of volunteering and internships (paid or unpaid) to Colangelo School of Sports Business students at Grand Canyon University.

“People saw initiative, showing up and working hard,” she said afterward. “Everyone wants jobs but doesn’t always want to put the work in, and at LSU it meant a lot of days and games other than football.”

This is Batiste’s second year as marketing and community manager for the Final Four’s local organizing committee. She spent last year living and working in Houston for the 2016 Final Four.

The 25-year-old shared a litany of events happening in the days before and between the April 1 semifinals and April 3 championship games. It means there are numerous ways students can get involved with a wide range of events at GCU Arena (slam dunk and 3-point shooting contests), University of Phoenix Stadium and downtown Phoenix.

Each is a chance to make an impact and leave an impression.

“If you want to work in sports, there’s no reason not to go and play a part,” said Dr. Brian Smith, director of the Colangelo School of Sports Business.

There’s no shortage of opportunities or events, such as the restoration of Harmon Park, the March Madness Music Festival (headlined by Aerosmith on April 2) and helping with crowd control or customer service for visitors. More than 3,000 volunteers are needed to help run the Final Four, and college students can receive a few extra perks in the process.

“You can really make this as much as you want to make it, whether it’s the bare minimum or reaching for the stars,” Batiste said.

The 2017 Final Four will be the first to come this far west since Seattle hosted in 1995, and with so many basketball and non-basketball opportunities coming, Batiste reminded the classes that someone will be watching.

It’s why she’s doing what she does.

“They called me, they sought me out because of recommendations and initiative,” she said. “To get one (job) you have to do others.”

Contact Mark Heller at (602) 639-7516 or

About the Author
Leave a Comment