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And how many team members were NASCAR fans before signing up for the program?

“None of us,” said Jamela Joseph, a senior public relations major.

The students said they were bigger fans of basketball and the NFL, with their knowledge of NASCAR limited to the names of a few drivers. But they were willing to give the sport a shot if it meant exposure to the world of sports marketing.

“I know the sports industry is one I want to work in after I complete my degree,” Kern said. “I wanted to get a diversified feel for the sports industry, and that’s what NASCAR provides.”

Students have been meeting about twice a week this semester on NASCAR case studies. Earlier challenges involved research on NASCAR licensed merchandise and the contingency sponsor program. Directions and resources on the case studies are deliberately scant.

“I get impressed more and more with each case study they do,” Mark said. “They come into this program raw, they don’t really know what we’re expecting from them and that’s what we want the program to be. We want it to be a real-world situation, where you don’t always know what’s expected of you.”