Get in the game | Spalding launches sports management concentration for business students

For undergraduate and graduate students who want to get a degree in business but would also like to pursue a love of sports, Spalding University’s newest academic concentration could be great way to get in the game.

For the first time this fall, the Spalding School of Business will offer a sports management concentration for both their undergraduate business administration and Master of Science in Business Communication (MSBC) programs.

Spalding’s sports management concentrations are designed to prepare students for a broad range of careers related to the business aspects of sports. Sports management may involve working for professional teams and leagues, college and university athletic departments, and sports marketing firms. Sports managers may also manage events, sports facilities and promotions. They can be sports economists or financial or information experts. They can run the front office or act as the interface between players, coaches and the media.

It shapes up as a good time to enter the sports industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in athletic management, marketing, sales, public relations and more are expected to see growth of up to 13% over the next eight years.

Learning from those  in the industry

The sports management track expands Spalding’s list of business concentrations that also includes marketing, financial planning and human resource management on the undergraduate level and organizational leadership, healthcare management, HR management and accounting at the master’s level.

Spalding Undergraduate Education Director Dr. Nikki Shedletsky, who has master’s and doctoral degrees in sports management, expects the School of Business’ new concentrations to be popular with students. “Sports is more than just the game,” she said. “The world of sports is made up of not just the coaches, teams and players who participate, but also those who are behind the scenes. This new curriculum was designed to help students develop their leadership abilities and the administrative talent necessary to advance their careers in the sports industry.”

A winning combination

Designed by School of Business Chair Dr. Michelle Reiss and MSBC Director Dr. Robin Hinkle, Spalding’s sports management concentrations aim to offer students theoretical knowledge of sports management with practical, hands-on experience, the university says. Students can acquire the skills that are in high demand by employers in today’s sports business environment.

According to Spalding, graduates of the concentration will be skilled in:

  • Utilizing best practices and industry standards relating to leadership in a sports setting.
  • Applying strong critical thinking, decision-making, presentation and writing skills.
  • Understanding and applying business fundamentals to the management of sports organizations.
  • Articulating an ethical personal leadership philosophy for compliance with sports law and other management challenges specific to the field of sports.
  • Effectively organizing, interpreting and presenting new information in sports.

“Ultimately, our new curriculum provides students an education grounded in business skills, analytics and acumen that will bridge the intersection between sports and business and prepare students for their career in sports management,” Dr. Shedletsky said.

Working in the field

Spalding Director for Athletic Communications Brian Clinard, a recent MSBC grad who also holds a bachelor of science in sport administration, said he’s excited that Spalding is adding the sports concentration to its business programs.

“A sports management concentration is a great foundation for beginning your career in athletics,” Clinard said. “The studies and coursework during my undergraduate education provided the knowledge needed to take the next step in pursuing a career in athletics. Personally, I took what I learned in class to get an internship, then applied what I learned in the internship to land a job in the industry.”

Clinard, whose duties include managing sports information and game operations for Spalding’s NCAA Division III athletic department, particularly likes how the sports management concentration melds with the business classes.

“Each class is applicable to real roles within athletics,” he said. “For example, an athletics communication class can help you start building your foundation in the sports information world, fundraising builds your base in development, and a leadership class can be a small step in helping someone eventually work their way into an Athletic Director role. It all starts in the classroom and grows as you progress through your career.”

To learn more about the undergraduate sports management concentration, click here.

To learn more about the graduate sports management concentration, click here.