Green Bay, Wis.— The National Sports Analytics Club Program (SACP) publicly announced last week (August 19), an historic statewide initiative to establish SACP clubs in the state of Wisconsin.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will be partnering with Green Bay East High School and the Green Bay Packers to launch an inaugural SACP club in the Green Bay Area Public Schools this fall.
The SACP was created in 2017 by co-founder Ben Shields of MIT Sloan to eliminate the underrepresentation of young women and African American and Latinx youth in advanced STEM degrees and in careers as Data Scientists. Co-founder Robert Clayton, a Harvard graduate, is a former dean of Tulane Law School, and co-founder Ed Tapscott is the former President and CEO of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats.
The strategic intent of this innovative project-based learning system is to promote collaboration of secondary and higher education with industry to re-engineer the perspective, preparation, and professional career options for aspiring scholars by having them learn the “nuts and bolts” of data research and analysis. The SACP Research Projects are designed to be fun, complex, and actionable in order to drive decision-making by third party stakeholders. The SACP is built on a three-tier trainer-to-trainer data science educational platform that resources the investment of the expertise of university professors and professional sports data scientists.
Will Garay, Green Bay East STEM teacher, with support from Green Bay East Principal Lori Frerk, will direct the club’s founding and operation. Working with Garrison Cummings, Green Bay Packers Business Intelligence Manager, the Green Bay East High School project will focus on data analytics around the “Voice of the Fan Experience” to inform business decisions. Prof. Gaurav Bansal, UW-Green Bay’s Frederick E. Baer Professor in Business and professor of MIS/Statistics at the University’s Austin E. Cofrin School of Business will support the club in developing students’ programming and data analytic skills.
“We are excited to team up with Green Bay East to help enhance the fan experience at Lambeau Field, “said Cummings. “I’m excited that the students’ work will help pinpoint the factors that we can focus on to make immediate improvements and make every game memorable for our fans. The data science from the students will create valuable insights that will drive action within our organization.”
Garay said when the opportunity was presented to lead this project, he didn’t have to think twice.
“I have always enjoyed sports and statistics. This program will provide a wonderful opportunity for students to learn data analytics through an enjoyable and applicable manner. Sports really provides that avenue. It will also provide me with an opportunity to learn and grow as an educator.”
UW-Green Bay is sponsoring the Club’s launch. There is no cap on the number of students who can join.
The historical significance of the ties between Green Bay East High School and the Green Bay Packers did not go unnoticed.
“From Curly Lambeau being an East graduate to City Stadium as the original home of the Packers, Green Bay East High School and the Green Bay Packers share a lot of rich history. Along with teaming up with UW-Green Bay, the program provides an exciting opportunity to promote data analytics at a time when data analysts are in demand,” Garay said.
UW-Green Bay’s Bansal said this experience could open up a world of opportunities for these students.
“This is a great time for the program as our country needs more data scientists,” Bansal said. “The program is designed to instill self-efficacy in the students that, yes, they can deliver the results that can drive decision-making in our community. This is great for our students, our high schools, our university, our community, and our country as a whole.”
Bansal and Garay agree that there is one major expectation of the students in the Club: Fun!
“If the students enjoy it, they will drive the results!” Bansal said.