OT: Sports Management Degrees

Submitted by HartAttack20 on December 20th, 2010 at 12:43 AM

I am currently enrolled at Grand Valley State, and I am looking to transfer to a bigger school with a respectable Sports Management/Marketing program for fall 2011. Since I am posting this on MGoBlog, Michigan is probably my number one choice. I was wondering if anybody went through Michigan's sports management program that could share some insight on the field. Going to a school with the name recognition of Michigan has to be a big deal. I was also wondering if there was a big difference in a school like Michigan running their program through the school of Kinesiology while Oregon runs a seemingly similar Sports Marketing program through their business school. Based off my limited findings, it looks like both programs focus on the busines side of the sports industry anyways. I couldn't really find much useful ranking information through google, either. Also, I'm sure Michigan's programs are all somewhat competitive, but how difficult is it to get into?

I appreciate the help, and I look forward to attempting to join the Michigan community in the future! Go Blue.



December 20th, 2010 at 12:57 AM ^

I'm movement science, and I can tell you that we (movesci) and the sports management kids think it should be a part of the B school. They want it so they don't have to take a basic exercise physiology course, and we want it so we don't have to take a sports management  speech course.

You'll get to meet a TON of football players too. Just about every football player is sports management.


December 20th, 2010 at 6:09 AM ^

Wait, did you just say you didnt want to take the speech class? I was in LSA and i had to fight to take that class, it's arguably one of the best and most applicable classes you could take at U of M.

Also, I can tell you first hand that your school doesnt necessarily dictate what classes you are allowed to take; so really do you just want recognition of a BBA?


December 20th, 2010 at 10:04 AM ^

I'm movement science not sports management. I think sports management is what belongs at the B-school, it will open up a lot of money for labs and better equipment. Kinesiology is great, but our class labs are still in the stone age.

As for the speech class, the problem is that for movesci kids it's become a total blow off with a sports management theme. We also look at it as a distraction from physiology courses which is why we are in that major. There is a new class offered by movement science with a focus on writing and speaking scientifically which is infinitely more applicable to our major.


December 27th, 2010 at 9:49 AM ^

Ah, fair enough.  You feel pigeonholed into meeting some req's that take away from your focus on science-related classes.  But still, Public Speaking (at least the course I took) was a (pardon the Lloydism) tremendous class.  I think Michigan should place a greater emphasis on the art of Public Speaking.


December 20th, 2010 at 9:59 AM ^

Movement science is essentially a physiology degree with a focus upon exercise. Just about everyone goes on to med school (which I'm doing) or PT school. 

With a BS sure there are limited opportunities, but that applies to most degrees these days. Going to grad school and specializing in either exercise physiology, biomechanics, or motor control (which we study all three for the BS) gives you tons of options.

James Burrill Angell

December 20th, 2010 at 9:26 AM ^

I have an SMC degree from Michigan.  I did work in sports all through UofM (worked in the Athletic Department) and worked for a major sports management company for about five years after. Ultimately I left because I got my law degree and the money was better in law.

Its a VERY VERY hard field to get a job in and because there is so much demand, the pay is generally low. That said, I have plenty of friends who have that degree who have made it after gutting through a few years at the bottom (in particular the agent for Chad Henne/Zoltan Mesko/Adrian Arrington/Jamison/Adam Kraus came through that program as did several people I know at various teams, league offices, Octagon, IMG etc.).  That said I know a lot o people who left the field and are doing well. Several lawyers. The guy who created Skype is actually a Michigan Sports Mgt alum. If its your passion, by all means go for it. Don't forget, its still a degree from Michigan if you ever choose to go another direction.

As to some other points. K-Nerd is right but thats not going to be the case. Most of the football players are now LS&A in that General Studies major. Many still started in Kines and then left after a year or two. Thats being phased out.

Also the speech course is in Kines because a few years back the Communications department was gotten rid of by the University and someone had to absorb the base level public speaking class that MANY of the schools require for graduation or other classes. Somehow it ended up being housed in Sports Management. I think thats transferring back as LS&A is increasing its communications offerings again. Thats said, I don't care whether you're in science, business or whatever, you need how to do a public speaking class because you WILL be doing presentations of some form or another so you need to get over shyness/fear of speaking which a vast majority of kids coming out of high school have. Thats all that class is meant for.


December 20th, 2010 at 1:20 AM ^

I'm currently a Sport Management senior and I feel the program is managed fairly well. The course load isn't too strenuous as long as you enjoy working in groups....there's a lot of emphasis on group work. I enjoy the classes and the professors for the most part. I don't know if there are actual rankings but I would imagine we're top 5 easily. It's pretty cool/interesting when your professor is the one who wrote your textbook.


Hope this helped and good luck


December 20th, 2010 at 1:26 AM ^

Having worked in sports, I wouldn't worry about getting your degree in Sports Management.  The more important thing is that you start volunteering/working in the athletic dept at whatever school you go to (bigger schools are more impressive) and/or for a local pro team.  Nobody is going to care what your degree was in but they will be interested in your experience.  If you went to Michigan I would actually recommend doing LS&A and taking some marketing classes from the B-School and for fun do a couple Sports Marketing classes in Kines too.  The advantage of this approach is you get a broader education that will serve you better if you change career paths and you get real world experience in sports that will better prepare you for it and allow you to start making contacts (ex. the marketing intern at a Michigan will become the Director of Marketing at a MAC school and if you worked with him as a volunteer he may hire you as a marketing assistant at the MAC school when you graduate).


December 20th, 2010 at 10:22 AM ^

I was thinking that I would just apply to LS&A along with the kinesiology and business schools at michigan and see where I get in. I was originally thinking about getting a business degree of some kind, but i realized how difficult it can be to get into the B school. Ultimately the strength of Michigan's athletic department is something I want to get involved with while I'm there. Thanks for the help.


December 20th, 2010 at 3:21 AM ^

This is probably somewhat off your radar, but Arizona State has an excellent sports management program.

I've worked with a lot of young people in various sports-related fields out here in the Phoenix area who went through that program and were able to parlay that into jobs with one of the many pro or minor league teams in the area. It seems to be a well-respected program with a lot of instant opportunities.

Also, I believe that the DeVos sports management school at Central Florida is considered very good.


December 20th, 2010 at 6:28 AM ^

Yes, this. Although i knew folks who took some accounting and marketing out of the sport mgmt in Kinesiology.

Really, you can take what you want almost anywhere, you just have to fight a little sometimes. I tried to do Org Studies but they wanted me to be enrolled for 3 yrs. The problem was that i was a junior, so i decided to craft my own degree under the guise of a BGS.

I asked my academic adviser if that woul "look bad" but he said the only difference would be that BGS doesn't have a language rquirement. Since I'd taken RC intensive Spanish, and studied abroad in BCN, this wasn't an issue.


December 20th, 2010 at 7:23 AM ^

I know only one grad from the program (masters). Very involved with varsity sports on-campus, networked his butt off, and has been searching over a year or a proper job. FWIW


December 20th, 2010 at 8:33 AM ^

I graduated with an SMC degree back when Kinesiology was still the "Division of Kinesiology" (even though it was a division of nothing).  I echo everyone else's sentiments about networking and interning being more important than the degree itself.  I enjoyed SMC classes more than any other on campus.  Taking classes from the A.D. at EMU, the Director of Sports Information at UofM (both of whom have moved to other positions), and most importantly Pat Maloy was incredible; but finding a job is extremely difficult and requires starting at the bottom and working your way up.  Ultimately, I was in Maloy's class the semester that he passed away and he inspired me to become a teacher, so I graduated from SMC, headed over to the Ed. School and haven't looked back since.  I'd recommend the program, but be prepared to put in a lot of extra work outside of the classroom to obtain a quality job.

James Burrill Angell

December 20th, 2010 at 9:29 AM ^

We were actually originally a division of the School of Ed and then when we spun off onto our own they just left the title until about two years ago when we were formally named a school.

BTW.... Agree on Maloy. He's the reason I went to Law School. Wouldn't have even considered it otherwise. You know there's a scholarship in his name now and a big online auction that a bunch of grads including Ty Wheatley started correct? I believe it goes again next year (2011).


December 20th, 2010 at 8:40 AM ^

HartAttack - I also attended GVSU and ideally wanted to go into Sports Management, however, due to the lack of program I nearly went for my degree in Kinesiology as well.  However, I decided to get my degree in Communications (Advertising/PR) to keep my options open should my plans change.  As OC_Blue said, go for internships.

Combined with that degree, I interned for two seasons with the Whitecaps (Operations Intern) and spent my summers working 16 hour game days.  I had a blast and decided that was what I wanted to do.  I graduated and got an offer from the University of South Alabama in Mobile (Sales/Marketing) and also with the Atlanta Thrashers (Sales) but decided to decline due to the horrific offers (not that I expected much) with no benefits. 

I also looked back and asked myself if I wanted to continue working 16 hour days with extensive time away from my family down the road and take a major pay cut compared to other industries, I decided to take a step back and take a side road in my career path -- now in sales/staffing.

Now, I'm not trying to deter you from pursuing the Sports Management track.  I had a blast and it was a ton of fun.  But in the big picture, really sit down and think about if you want to take that time away (some can) and I wouldn't invest in a degree specifically in Sports Management.

That that FWIW.


December 20th, 2010 at 10:15 AM ^

I went to a small school in Pa and my friend majored in Sports Management and he had no trouble at all finding a job.  He interned with the Sixers while at school and then immediately after graduating he got a job with the Angels and hes doing well, so you can get a job easily even from a small school.  Michigan on your resume would only help you however.  Best of luck,


December 20th, 2010 at 10:53 PM ^

I wouldn't say easily...

I had several SM friends.  One interred everywhere including the Final Four, Pistons.  He's now working for his second NFL team and making next to nothing.

Like people said, you have to be willing to work your ass off and not expect to find a job that pays well for a long time (if ever).  But if you love it, that's what matters.

Like others have said, internships and experience matter the most.  Your degree is secondary.


December 20th, 2010 at 10:18 AM ^

if you are serious about breaking into sports, UMass is by far and away the best sports-management school.  you will generate the best sports connections there and i swear almost everyone i meet in the sports business world has at least some sort of connection to that school.  that said, if you think you might change jobs down the line, it might be best to pursue a different degree just in case. 


December 20th, 2010 at 11:26 AM ^

I just got my BA in sport management from Michigan in may. I got a 3 month internship based on my awesome interviewing skills (thanks kelli donahue!), but I'm back to being unemployed. I'm staying positive that I will find something. the program was definitely a lot of fun. it made some classes that might normally be boring and meticulous a lot more tolerable with the sports focus/examples. I would certainly recommend it, along with volunteering/interning with the athletic department. that is just as important as the classes you take. 

p.s. to everyone who mentioned that they have SMC degrees (even though they arent SMC anymore!), did I mention that i am UNEMPLOYED, and LOOKING FOR A JOB. HINT HINT HINT :)


December 20th, 2010 at 12:11 PM ^

I am currently a Junior in the Sport Management program at Michigan.  I agree wtih a lot of the comments posted above.... most SM majors believe/want  the program in the B School.  There may be more prestigious SM schools, such as UMass and Ohio, but if you're looking to stay in state, it's hard to go against the opportunity to work with the University of Michigan Athletic Department.  On campus there are plenty of opportunities for field experience, and another benefit is that Detroit is just 45 min away.  It's true that the field experience and networking are imperative in the search for a job.

It's pretty selective as far as admissions go...maybe not as selective as engineering or the B school persay, but it hold its own.  Required courses include marketing, sales, public speaking, accouting, econ, finance, org behavior, etc...so yeah, pretty business-oriented.  And to the person who said virtually all football players major in SM, I do not believe this is true.  I know JB Fitz and David Molk do, probably a few others, but the application into the 2nd level of the program weeds most of them out.


December 20th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

the Sports Business Association on campus is a great club that organizes events such as guest speakers (Dan Gilbert, John Moores, Jim Irsay), career fairs (the Palace of Auburn Hills), and alumni networking events.  If you decide to come here, definitely get involved with the SBA.


December 20th, 2010 at 5:29 PM ^

Networking is so huge in getting a job !

I don't go to Michigan ( my GMAT score on the english portion ruined that idea, daam science questions on the english portion, i doubt a 520 would of got me into the Ross School of Business ), But i am finishing up my Masters this May at UW-Milwaukee for Accounting.

Networking helped me get a job with a pretty big accounting firm.

I was President of Beta Alpha Psi here at UW-Milwaukee, did presentations at national conferences, and that was great experience for professional speaking, and networking, The meetings we had were very accounting foucsed and you got to meet alot of people in the industry, pick their brains and figure things out !

Get involved with Student Orgs, And since your in sports management, I would try to get in good with the Michigan Athletic Department, volunteer, do whatever. Write all the pro sports teams in detroit and try and get an internship with them.

I would love to Intern with the Tigers, but now I got to study for the CPA exam this srping before I start this fall !

Also, a 2nd degree or career of focus is an option you should look at also, regardless if sports is involved in it or not  !

Also, get something where you can collect business cards and store them, also get working on your resume and cover letters, and work on your interviewing skills !

Good Luck !


December 20th, 2010 at 8:44 PM ^

When I was in school, Michigan didn't even have the program. There was Kinesiology, and a Master Facility Management program, but no undergrad. Wayne State used to have a pretty good one if you have Admission/cost/staying in area issues. But looking at the University openings in the Brandon era, you just as well having a business degree or law degree, depending on what you want to do. Be prepared to start sub-bottom for nothing, work pretty much 24-7, and if you want to work someplace you love, working for the "honor" to be there rather than the high pay.