ATLANTA - Some students might skip classes this week to attend college basketball's Final Four, but at least a dozen have managed to score class credits out of the trip.
The students are sports management majors at Lynn University in South Florida. As part of a course titled "The Final Four Experience," they will be traveling with a couple of professors to Atlanta to get a firsthand look at what goes into the major sporting event.
And get this, each student gets three credit hours for the excursion.
"It's a chance for us to meet people with high positions and see how they got to where they are now," junior Emily Lipman said. "Then we'll be able to feed off that."
The group arrived Wednesday and won't just attend the Final Four. They will tour the city's sports pro and college stadiums, network with team executives and some sponsors, including representatives of The Coca-Cola Co.
The trip cost $3,250 per student. It might seem pricey, but the total covered the cost of the class, a hotel room for six nights, food, roundtrip airline tickets, two rental minivans, a Georgia Tech baseball game, a Thrashers hockey game and the three Final Four games at the Georgia Dome.
Though it might sound like a sports fan's dream, the students will be required to put in some work.
They'll take a couple exams, keep a diary and will hold a presentation after the trip.
It is Lynn University's first sports-related tour where class credits are offered. Usually, students take study-abroad trips for up to a semester to research cultures in countries such as China, South Africa and Thailand.
Professor Charles Barr, who has escorted Lynn students on overseas study tours, said attending the Final Four was something that couldn't be missed.
"Since it's in our backyard, why not?" he asked.
Barr said students are taught the basics on sports management through textbooks and lectures, ultimately exposing them to the "real world" of their career choices. Sports management majors typically pursue front-office positions with professional or collegiate teams, eventually as a facility manager or a management job with a sports league.
Out of 30 applicants for the course, Barr and Curtis picked 12 students they thought showed the most work ethic and dedication in their major.
Lipman, 21, was an easy choice. The Atlanta native, who is president of the university's sports management club, wants to work for a Major League Baseball franchise - preferably for her hometown Braves.