The contacts you make in the sports world will be important throughout your career. Some of the things you do that may not seem like much at the time or that you do for reasons besides networking, may bring future dividends.
My mentor, JC, was the venue manager for boxing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In the late 80's and early 90's, she worked for ProServ. One of her assignments early in her career at ProServ was to meet with the insurance broker about coverage for their events. She said that at the time she thought she was being punished or overlooked by being handed this boring assignment. She became friends with the insurance broker and they are still friends today. The president of the insurance broker's company was friends with Billy Payne at ACOG (Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games). That person forwarded on her resume to Billy Payne who sent it to one of his lieutenants. One meeting later in Atlanta, and she was hired.
I stayed involved with the Ohio University Sports Administration Program for my own personal reasons of wanting to give back and make a contribution to the program that first provided the opportunity for me to make a full-time career of sports. That network has paid off with some of the best friends I've ever had, but also by presenting job opportunities, including a possible new job. The Ohio University SAFM network is very strong. It's almost like an informal family. Anytime I've placed a call to any alumni, they have always returned my call, from the time I was a student to the current day.
Building your network is one of the most important things you will ever do. It's not always important who you know, but rather who knows you. That won't get you the job necessarily, but it will often get your foot in the door and allow you to do the rest of the job of selling yourself. And that is all we as professionals can ask for--the opportunity. You never know where your next opportunity will come from, so keep your network and contacts up to date.