Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

New Club Teaches Sports Analysis, Research

Though they do not play on varsity teams, six freshmen are focusing their free time entirely on sports through the Georgetown Sports Analysis, Business and Research Group.

According to founder and President Nik Oza (MSB ’16), the club will educate students about sports analysis, which uses statistics to explain and predict different aspects of sports, such as the success of individual plays during a game and player draft and salary decisions.

“It’s just objective framing of sports and objective data, not necessarily going with your gut,” Oza said. “It’s trying to look at what is actually happening, what are the trends, how do you apply probabilistic thinking, how do you devise some statistics modeling techniques and find out what’s actually going on.”

The group will work with the Cawley Career Education Center to provide internship opportunities, conduct independent statistics research, send members to conferences discussing sports analysis and regularly update a sports analysis blog.

Oza founded the club in January and hopes to gain recognition by the Student Activities Commission next semester.

“All throughout the college process, I was thinking whatever college I chose that didn’t have a sports analysis or business club I would start that because that’s what I want to do,” Oza said. “Georgetown’s kind of a unique situation because we have the sports management master’s program and we have sports marketing in the business school for undergrads, but we don’t actually have an undergrad group yet.”

The club currently has 15 active members and about 40 names on its Listserv.

Oza is the only club member with significant experience in sports analytics, though members expressed their desire to learn more about the subject.

“What we’re hoping to be able to do is think for ourselves and put out some analysis of our own and form our own opinions. I think that’s why I got involved, to be a thinker in the sports world and not just a reader,” Vice President of Communications Peter Barston (MSB ’16), also a sports columnist for The Hoya, said. “A lot of us are in that same position where we’re kind of new to the whole analysis, which I think makes it such a great opportunity because we’re breaking in, we have a real passion for it and we’re learning as we go along.”

According to Oza, many club members are seriously considering a career in sports analysis, which could entail conducting team-side analysis, working for a league, doing market and data analysis, getting involved in the fantasy sports industry or pursuing the new industries opened up by new media and technology, such as tablets.

“I think that the best part of this is that we all have a passion for this, and this is what a lot of us want to do,” Knuth said. “We want to get into the sports industry because it’s not going to stop growing, and this club has such a great future because there is such a high demand for it.”

A career in sports analysis is a good alternative for sports fanatics who do not have the athletic ability to actually play, club blog writer Carl Yedor (COL ’16) said.

“Growing up, I played a lot of sports, but I didn’t necessarily get the athletic ability to actually make it in the big leagues, so I wanted to be involved in some way,” Yedor said. “Getting involved with analytics is a great way to try and get yourself down the path to maybe being a general manager for a team, and maybe in the box rather than looking at the guy in the box.”

According to Vice President of Technology Xavier Weisenreder (COL ’16), sports analysis is still a relatively new field that only began to seriously develop in the 1990s.

“Pre-1990s, it was just people who were kind of involved with the sport but weren’t really thinking analytically, more thinking with what they see, so this is really a new trend in analytics and the qualitative side to sports,” Weisenreder said.

Board members said the club could go in many different directions.

“We don’t want to seem intimidating with any of the advanced statistics because we’re really just starting off, and we’re just looking for anybody,” Weisenreder said. “We’re looking for people who are passionate about it, who want to learn about it and who can work with us to get off the ground. We’re really open to anything.”

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