SBJ/July 17-23, 2017/Colleges

Alum takes reins for JMI at Clemson

Scott Morris for years has been on the fan and donor side of Clemson University athletics. Now the 1988 graduate will represent the Tigers’ corporate partner program as president of Clemson Sports & Campus Marketing, a JMI Sports property.

Morris will oversee a 10-person team, six of whom have degrees from the school.

“I’ve wanted to do this all my life, believe it or not,” Morris said. “It’s a dream job … being an ambassador for Clemson and serving the university while leveraging my corporate business background.”

Morris, who grew up in Rock Hill, S.C., just south of Charlotte, spent 28 years on the corporate side in partnership marketing and sales roles with companies such as Oracle, Quintiles and Premier.

But from the periphery, Morris contemplated what it would be like to represent his alma mater. With his new role, he has the keys to Clemson’s sponsorship program, hospitality, signage sales and other athletic assets, as well as marketing opportunities across campus. JMI also will have the rights to use football coach Dabo Swinney, who led the Tigers to last season’s national championship, in certain campaigns.

JMI will pay the school $68 million over the next seven years for its rights. Learfield previously held Clemson’s rights, but JMI was awarded the contract earlier this year.

Morris, whose son recently graduated from Clemson, was hired in April. JMI will have Clemson offices in the college town, as well as in nearby Greenville, S.C.

The most immediate challenge facing JMI’s new team is delivering on the potential of the total campus marketing model. JMI has similar campuswide marketing rights at Kentucky. Campuswide marketing will enable Morris and his team to package traditional athletic inventory with sponsorship assets across campus. Pouring rights and bank deals are most commonly sold across campus, but JMI is looking to broaden into more categories.

“It has the potential to be a game changer,” Morris said. “It’s new for corporate entities, but early returns are positive.”


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