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In 2018, Scott Harris, then Assistant General Manager for the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein, then President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, and Meghan Jones, then Manager of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, founded the CASE (Careers as Sports Executives) Study Program with a vision to provide high school students exposure to various careers in the sports industry. The program aims to foster personal and professional development by offering training, experience, and guidance for students interested in pursuing entry-level jobs in sports.

After becoming General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, Harris and the Giants launched a San Francisco chapter of CASE in 2022. Now, as the Tigers’ President of Baseball Operations, Harris brought the program to Detroit, with support from the Detroit Tigers Foundation.

The inaugural class of the Detroit Chapter welcomed twenty-two students from Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School and Osborn High School. These students had the unique opportunity to participate in virtual sessions facilitated by sports industry professionals from renowned organizations such as the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Cubs, and Ilitch Sports and Entertainment.

“This experience was great; because a lot of people that are from where I’m from – East 7 Mile – they don’t get this type of opportunity. So, I’m thankful for it,” said Jaiden Mabins, a 10th grade student at Osborn High School. 

Over the course of eight sessions, students delved into various aspects of the sports industry. Topics included Player Development, led by Jeff Greenberg, General Manager of the Detroit Tigers, and Jared Banner, Assistant General Manager of the Chicago Cubs; Data Analytics, instructed by Jay Sartori, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Detroit Tigers, and Bryan Campbell, Director of Statistical Analysis and Hockey Administration for the Detroit Red Wings; Sales and Partnerships, featuring insights from Ryan Gustafson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Ilitch Sports and Entertainment, and Chris Coffman, Senior Vice President, Corporate Partnerships for the Detroit Tigers, among others.

“I got to see them learn and hear their ideas that stemmed from some of the coolest people in the world. They got to hear from them, learn from their expertise,” said Dan Wolford, Social Studies Department Lead at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, who served as a School Lead for the school’s CASE participants. “Now, working through the group project, they’re activating their curiosity; and to watch them take the little bits that they learned along the way and build a pretty remarkable project is really special.”

The CASE Program formally concluded on February 29 at Comerica Park, with an event that featured student-led group presentations centered on pre-selected topics pulled directly from subject matter that was covered during the virtual sessions. Working collaboratively with their peers, School Leads, and Instructors, students presented their findings to Scott Harris and Tigers’ Community Impact staff. As a symbol of their achievement, students received CASE diplomas from Harris during a ceremony marking their completion of the program, and they will be recognized at a Detroit Tigers game later in the season.

The CASE Study Program, in partnership with the Detroit Tigers Foundation, has not only broadened the horizons of aspiring sports professionals but has also equipped them with practical knowledge and networking opportunities essential for navigating the dynamic sports industry. As this initiative continues to flourish, it serves as a beacon, illuminating a path for the next generation of sports executives and leaders in Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, and beyond.

“I hope CASE gives these students a head start in the sports industry. By completing the program and making early connections with sport professionals, they’re already way ahead of where I was in high school,” said Harris, with a piece of advice for Detroit’s inaugural class of CASE Study Program students: “Take this head start and run with it. If you keep working hard and building momentum, a career in sports is within reach.”