Her lifelong love of sports began with her father. “I guess I’m the son my father always wanted,” says Jessop. “I still remember my seventh birthday, when he gave me sports gear and my mortified mother went out and bought me dresses.” Sports forged a bond between father and daughter, who watched countless games together and often spent weekends collecting sports memorabilia.
When it was time to go to college, Jessop chose Mines, drawn by the competitive academics, extracurricular activities and 20-minute drive from home (her grandmother had recently developed Alzheimer’s disease and staying nearby was a priority). She majored in economics, joined Sigma Kappa sorority, captained the cheerleading team and became president of ASCSM. Her biggest thrill, though, was cheering on the football team to an undefeated regular season in 2004. “That changed the sports culture at Mines,” she says. “We realized we could win and that if we invest in athletics, great things can happen. I’m really proud of what they have achieved.”
After Mines, Jessop focused on a career in sports and entertainment law. At Chapman University School of Law in Southern California, she worked for the Screen Actors Guild and Warner Bros. music publishing company. But by the time she had earned her law degree in May 2009, the U.S. economy had tanked, dashing her hopes for a job in Hollywood. Then, in another disappointing turn of events, Jessop was one of two finalists for the general counsel position at NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Fla., but didn’t get the job. Disheartened, she took a position in mortgage banking litigation, giving her an income at a time when many of her law school classmates remained unemployed, but she was in a funk.
That’s when her friend’s advice gave her the inspiration to launch rulingsports.com on July 1, 2011. “I wanted to show the world that I knew as much about the intersection of sports and the law as anyone I might be competing against for a sports law job,” she says. “Initially, I suspected that only my dad would read the website, and my mom if I hounded her. But within 24 hours of launch, I made key contacts at ESPN, CBS Sports and Fox Sports, and landed my first radio interview.”
Since then, Jessop has appeared on radio shows nationwide, including Sirius/XM and ESPN Radio, and in October 2011, she took over the website businessofcollegesports.com when its founder took a position with ESPN. Jessop also serves as CBS Denver’s sports business expert and recently began writing sports business stories for Forbes.com.
Last December, she moved back to Colorado and began working for the City of Aurora. Since then, she’s enjoyed reconnecting with Mines and the local alumni community, organizing a pre-game alumni get-together during the exciting close of the men’s basketball season in March, and serving on the Women of Mines planning committee for the recent 2012 Alumni Weekend.
She continues to write for the two websites, tape radio and television segments and is enjoying the opportunities her new agent is sending her way. She knows she’s got her sights set high, but says that Mines taught her how much time you have to invest to become good at something. Mines also prepared her to work in an environment where women are in the minority. In fact, admits the single 28-year-old who can count several sports luminaries among her friends, “Being a woman who knows about and is able to discuss sports does a lot for my social life.”
Editor’s note: Since this article was published, Jessop has launched a new blog, aliciajessop.com.