While it was music that brought him to the University of South Carolina, the sport and entertainment management (SPTE) program was never too far off the mind of Logan Rice. Now a junior, he’s made the switch, while balancing all of his passions and interests and working toward his degree.
Rice decided to switch majors after his freshman year at USC. After working with Carolina Gamble, an advisor in the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM), he made a seamless transition into the program focusing on the entertainment track early, a natural fit with music but soon realized that his true calling was more on the sport side of the program and with one of his first true passions, NASCAR.
Last summer, Rice earned an internship with Jackson Motorsports Group in Greenville, not far from his hometown of Easley, S.C. It’s a small company, but one that does a lot. Rice worked directly with BFGoodrich and Michelin in accounts for big events and marketing. That included such prestigious events as a weeklong celebration for Porsche enthusiasts. That’s the side of the industry that has sparked Logan’s interest. “I like organizations or companies that are people oriented,” he said. “Bringing the fan to an event, giving them and selling them the experience and taking pride in bringing satisfaction to consumers is really what interests me.”
A research paper is due at the beginning of the internship and requires students to pick an entry-level position in the industry and research it. The challenge is you can’t use any information that was already written, meaning no books or online sources. The students must use people only (via email or phone) in the industry to find out the necessary information. Rice reached out to a NASCAR representative in Sonoma, Calif., who was kind enough to answer all of his questions, eventually leading him to the opportunity to attend local NASCAR races in Charlotte and Darlington. Rice was able to obtain media credentials and visit the media center where he saw everything in action during a race while stories poured in from around the country. He was even lucky enough to get to ride in the pace car before the race began.
Rice crossed paths with Kerry Tharp, a USC graduate and NASCAR’s Senior Director of Competition Communications, while in Charlotte, where he had an eye-opening experience. He was able to go to victory lane and into NASCAR’s Care Center, both full of media frenzy. That eventually led to an opportunity for Rice to post about his NASCAR shadowing experience. His “From NASCAR fan to field” story appeared on NASCAR.com.
Back on campus, Rice stays busy. He’s now minoring in music and performs as a member of the Carolina Gentlemen, an acapella group at USC, where he has taken various roles in the organization including singer, social media manager and scheduling manager. Rice is also part of the university choir. He will be traveling to New York later this semester to perform with the choir at prestigious Carnegie Hall. Additionally, he’s a student mentor in the SPTE program under Steve Taylor. There, he is able to talk to new or incoming students about the program and give them advice and pointers on how to succeed.
Rice is also employed by university housing where is a member of the Students Providing Undergraduate Residential Services (SPURS) program. He’s taken an active role in the marketing, social media and blogging for SPURS to better relate to students. In his spare time, Rice volunteers at other activities in and around Columbia like the Greek Festival, Music Farm events and Soda City.
“I’m trying to set up opportunities that could help me in the future while gaining experience at the same time.” It was clear he made the right decision to change majors when he participated in a case study for research in Charlotte with Dr. Tom Regan, who helped him see that SPTE is where he needed to be. “Watching how involved the alumni and the professors are in the department stood out to me. I was involved in the Sport Entertainment Venues Tomorrow (SEVT) Conference and seeing all the successful alumni come back was really neat. At the same time, we have professors like Sporty Jeralds, a man who has a ton of experience and recently aided in the rebranding of the Charlotte Hornets. I enjoy getting to hear and see first-hand how our professors are industry leaders.”