Alumnus creates college basketball, football management company
When Jason Belzer graduated from Rutgers six years ago, he was unable to procure a job as a sports agent, so he simply decided to create his own management company.
“I just said, ‘You know what? I’m going to go through this by myself,’ and I started my own company,” Belzer said.
Thus Global Athlete Management Enterprises, Inc. was born.
Belzer’s company manages and advises college basketball and football coaches at various Division I schools across America. GAME, Inc. also coordinates the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, or CIT, a college basketball competition that Belzer said is the second-largest privately run sporting event in the country, behind the Rose Bowl.
He developed both his company and the tournament — which attracted 90,000 spectators last season, featured 32 Division I basketball teams and broadcasted on the CBS Sports Network — while he attended Rutgers School of Law-Newark.
When Belzer created GAME, Inc., he discovered he had to force his way into a market already saturated with existing powers.
“The reality was that I was entering a business that was firmly entrenched in multimillion dollar corporations and agencies,” he said. “And I was only a 21-year-old kid that had no experience whatsoever and no relationships in the business, and in this way, I started from complete scratch.”
David Vine, an employee at GAME, Inc., said Belzer has a tremendous work ethic.
Vine is reluctant to identify Belzer as his boss. Instead, he emphasizes Belzer’s role as a mentor.
“He’ll look out for me and make sure I’m going down the right path, because he’s gone down this extraordinary path at such a young age,” he said. “He’s not someone to sit back and say ‘Oh, that would be great.’ He’s one that says ‘Great, now how do we get it done?’”
After building his writing portfolio and signing on with Fox Sports as the initial broadcaster for the CIT, he was given the opportunity to occasionally publish articles on their website. This January, Forbes invited him to contribute on a regular basis.
Belzer has written numerous articles on the debate over whether or not student-athletes should be compensated beyond their scholarships.
“It does generally create a morass,” he said. “I think there is generally a great deal of inequity, and I don’t know if necessarily outwardly paying student-athletes is the answer, but I think that there’s certain ways to compensate them.”
Belzer currently serves as an adjunct professor at Rutgers, where he teaches a class called “Organizational Behavior in Sport Management.”
“From a practical standpoint, I regret not taking more classes in finance, statistics and accounting — things that you probably absolutely hate to take but are actually giving you real world experience and information that you can use when you get older,” he said.
Belzer said while classes in the humanities such as political science and writing are important, learning tangible, marketable skills in college is vitally important to one’s future success.
Additionally, he said students need to brand themselves and network as soon as they arrive on campus.
“That means going out there, building relationships and, more importantly, getting their name out there through writing and social media, and showing people that they’re smart, intelligent young individuals that are going to work hard to achieve whatever they’re going after,” he said.
Jared Schoenfeld, Belzer’s longtime friend and business associate, said his success stems from his ability to develop friendships.
“Some people call it networking, but he really works as hard as he can to build friendships and get things done,” Schoenfeld said.
Belzer started using social networks like LinkedIn while in college to connect with people he still remains in professional contact with. He encourages all students to fully explore every club and organization available at Rutgers.
To Belzer, writing frequently and well is a crucial part of establishing one’s reputation and brand.
“One thing that did help me, not only get into law school but just in general, was that I wrote for a magazine called ‘The Centurion,’” Belzer said. “I worked my way up. Being able to write … helped me build my brand, and that opened up doors that I didn’t even imagine.”
He dreams of becoming his alma mater’s athletic director, and he is encouraged by his membership in a distinguished pedigree of alumni with successful careers in sports management, including NBA Commissioner David Stern and Bill Rasmussen, the founder of ESPN.
“I think every day that I’m following in a long line of sports business executive entrepreneurs that are graduates of Rutgers University,” Belzer said. “So somewhere I hope I can end up and make my University proud and be amongst the echelon of great leaders to graduate from Rutgers.”
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