When Brandon Steiner proposed a fund to support students in the Department of Sport Management at the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, there was a particular kind of student he had in mind who would most benefit from the fund.
Steiner, who graduated from Syracuse University in 1981 and is now chairman of the Sport Management Advisory Council, grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. His father left the family when he was 5, and while his mother, Evelyn, operated a beauty salon, it was a struggle financially for her to raise Brandon and his two brothers.
Despite a low SAT score, Steiner convinced a Syracuse admissions counselor that she “will never regret letting me in,” he wrote in his 2012 book “You Gotta Have Balls.” Steiner was admitted and his family did receive enough financial aid to pay for tuition, but there was still one problem: He didn’t have any additional money to live from day to day.
Steiner has never forgotten those days. Working with Falk College Assistant Dean for Advancement David Salanger and Sport Management Chair and Director Michael Veley, Steiner has created the Brandon S. Steiner Sport Management Student Support Fund that “supports health, housing, education, and overall wellbeing of Syracuse University undergraduate students enrolled in the Department of Sport Management in Falk College.”
“Look at a kid like me,” Steiner says. “I was willing to work full-time in college; otherwise, going to Syracuse probably wouldn’t work. If I just went up and wasn’t willing to work full-time–and I’m not talking about work study, I’m talking about a 40-hour-a-week job–I don’t think I could have made it up there.
“But I don’t know if that can work in today’s age,” he continues. “I want to focus on poorer kids who have something special going on and if we can get them additional help, they would come.”
The Steiner Student Support Fund awards support for a single academic year, and students can apply for funds by completing this survey. A student can’t be awarded funding more than twice.
Students in the Department of Sport Management, including sport analytics and sport venue and event management students, are encouraged to apply for internships and work as much as they can in the sport industry while they’re attending school. As part of their degree requirements, they complete a 12-credit Senior Capstone with a full-semester experience at a sport organization.
With the rigorous demands of the program, it can be difficult for students to work the kind of hours that Steiner worked as a student to help pay for food, housing, fees and supplies, and other critical student needs. Steiner says he hopes his fund will help all students, but particularly underrepresented students who, like Steiner, might need support but are future stars in the sport industry.
“We have to make it easier for them to come here,” Steiner says. “And the reality is, the teams, leagues, and players are all diverse and we want to be diverse with the students we’re sending into the industry.”
At Syracuse, Steiner attended the Whitman School of Management because his mother suggested he major in accounting. Utilizing his work ethic, ingenuity, and ability to make an impression on people, Steiner served as founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia for more than 30 years.
In 2019, he launched two new companies: The Steiner Agency, the nation’s premiere independent athlete procurement source, and Collectible Xchange, an online platform for fans, collectors, store owners, celebrities, athletes, and teams to buy and sell collectibles.
The Steiner Student Support Fund is the latest way Steiner has given back to Syracuse University and Falk College’s Sport Management program, which he played a key role in creating more than 20 years ago. He says attending Syracuse “gave me the biggest break I ever got,” and he wants his fund to provide opportunities for students like him who will become the next generation of sports marketing trailblazers.
“There’s nothing like the feeling of pride you get from passing the torch to the next generation,” Steiner wrote in his book. “I can’t wait to see all the innovative products they come up with.”
In addition to the Steiner Student Support Fund, there are other opportunities and awards available to students in Falk College. Please visit the Awards and Scholarships page on the Falk website for more information on how to apply.