RSU Announces New Sport Management Degree

A unique new bachelor’s degree in sport management that combines science, health and business at Rogers State University will prepare students for careers in a variety of fields including health clubs, senior living centers, collegiate and professional athletics as well as adventure travel.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sport Management was approved by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, the governing board for RSU, at a meeting in Norman on Tuesday. This new degree program will begin fall 2007.The RSU degree will be the first sport management degree program at a state university in Oklahoma

“This degree will prepare RSU students to work in a variety of facets of the sports industry, one of the nation’s fastest growing fields,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.

According to studies completed at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the sports industry ranks as the 11th largest in the United States with annual revenues estimated at $375 billion. 

The curriculum for the new degree program integrates courses from the traditional fields of health and business. The program also incorporates courses from marketing and management to better prepare students for an industry that spends millions of dollars each year on branding and advertising. The curriculum was developed by RSU faculty and administrators from its health science department, as well as coach/faculty in the new athletic department.

“Students in the new degree program will be qualified for a wide range of careers in the burgeoning sports industry and also will gain valuable preparation for graduate education,” said Linda Andrews, RSU assistant vice president of  institutional research, planning and assessment, who led development of the program along with Wren Baker, athletic director.

Through this program, students are educated for careers as administrators and managers in athletic, health, and country clubs, as well as entry-level management positions in college and professional athletic organizations. Additionally, students are prepared for a diversity of roles in the areas of sport marketing and promotions, facility management and planning, activity programming and event management. Students who earn degrees in sport management also may work in special events promotions, sports communications, adventure travel, events promotions and facility management.

Participants in the program may select a minor according to their employment goals and personal interests, including business, computer science, communication arts, corporate communications, radio-television, biology or chemistry.

“With the introduction of athletics to our campus, there is already a lot of interest in the sport management program and I think it will be a very popular degree for non-athletes as well,” Baker said.

RSU is developing an athletics program as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Sooner Athletic Conference. The Hillcats compete in baseball, softball and rodeo will begin competing in men’s and women’s basketball and soccer in fall 2007.

Locally the demand for sport management professionals is on the rise, Andrews said, and that demand is anticipated to increase with the completion of the BOK Center in Tulsa in spring 2008. The arena will be capable of hosting major athletic events and the Tulsa Convention Center will continue to book a variety of medium-sized events. It is anticipated that the need for “sport managers” will be crucial to the expansion of athletic programs in the greater Tulsa area.

“We conducted a significant amount of research on the different sport management programs at institutions across the country and I feel like the program at RSU will prepare our graduates for the many jobs available in a rapidly growing field,” Baker said.

Similarly, growth in the number and variety of specialized sports facilities, an increase in sports tourism and adventure travel, and the provision of sport-related goods and services for many market segments has contributed to the continued growth of the sports industry. These developments ensure that the sports industry will continue to rank among the largest and most diverse industries in the nation, sustaining career opportunities for RSU graduates in the future, Andrews said.

An internship at the end of the sport management program will provide students with on-the-job experience and networking opportunities.

For more information on the sport management program at RSU, call (918) 343-7635.