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Sport Management (SM)

The online MS program in Sport Management prepares students to become marketable professionals within the dynamic and exciting sport industry. Students have two program tracks from which to choose: 1) Comprehensive Sport Industry Management, low residency, and 2) Interscholastic Sport Administration, fully online. Students in each track graduate with the same degree, a Master’s of Science in Sport Management. Students collaborate with highly qualified experts in the academy and leaders within the sport industry. Students explore the latest research, identify best practices and develop practical skills in sport-related business management. Program graduates obtain immediate consideration for career advancement while some continue to pursue further education in sport management at the doctoral level.

Areas of Emphasis

Low Residency

Comprehensive Sport Industry Management

This 30 credit hour master’s program is designed for working sport management professionals or those seeking initial access to the field. Graduates work across all sectors of the sport industry, including youth sport, collegiate and professional athletics, in either an introductory or advanced position within the job market. Students complete online courses during spring and fall semesters and mostly online courses, online and on-campus, within  two weeks in July, only during the first summer in the program. The summer on-campus sessions provide the unique opportunity for students to network with professionals working in the WVU Athletic Department and interact with other cohort members and faculty. This additional interaction helps students expand their professional network.

The low residency option is ideal for professionals with demanding schedules who need to balance work and family while continuing their education, within a projected fifteen months. All students receive the in-state tuition rate, providing increased affordability and access. Students must start this program during the summer semester.


Fully OnLine

Interscholastic Athletic Administration

This 30 credit hour master’s degree program is designed for those individuals who are either currently working or would like to work as athletic directors or faculty managers at the middle or high school level. Students learn the roles, responsibilities, challenges and opportunities associated with a career in sport management, particularly within interscholastic athletic administration. The program provides students with the educational experiences necessary to qualify them to sit for the certification exam (CAA) administered by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administration Association (NIAAA).

This fully online format allows students to complete their courses from home using mobile learning technology via a well-established academic portal. This program is ideal for professionals with demanding schedules who need to balance work and family while continuing their education. Currently, students can complete the online master’s degree in 20 months. However, starting August of 2019, students can complete the degree in as little as 12 months. Tuition is offered at the in-state rate for all students to increase affordability and access. Students can start this focus area at any time in the academic year (spring, summer or fall). 

What our alumni have to say:

  • Jamie Rohrer

    "Had it not been for the online SM master’s degree program at WVU, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today, with the salary and benefits I’m receiving. I completed my education while being a wife, mom and professional. "

    Jamie R.

    M.S. SM, 2009
  • Craig Walkup

    "This program provides working professionals a unique opportunity to continue their education. The program prepares the student, through detailed research and problem based projects, to advance their knowledge in all aspects of sport management. The staff recognizes the challenges facing the sports industry and through the curriculum prepares the student for those challenges."

    Craig W.

    M.S. SM, 2010
  • Dr. Patrick Hairston

    "The program focused on strategic skills, including building relationships with key individuals, corporations and foundations. I gained extensive knowledge related to fundraising activities to support my career interests. Faculty emphasized collaboration within the sport management field."

    Patrick H.

    M.S. SM, 1996
Coursework

What you'll study

The Master's degree involves curriculum delivered by faculty highly trained as practitioners and scholars in sport management and the sport science research field.

Explore your passion

Coupled with instructors’ industry experience, the program positions students for career advancement. As a result, students can apply real life industry knowledge shared by faculty to implement best practices into their preexisting specialization. The program philosophy encourages students to follow their passion and dream big. Students can pursue multiple online pathways to success, based upon their professional goals.

Business technology

Students leverage industry tools, such as social media platforms and analytics. Students use data-based analyses and multiple metrics in the design of sophisticated business and marketing plans, applicable to their desired career path. As a result, students grasp best practices to learn how to utilize current technology, anticipate future trends and adapt their career endeavors accordingly.

Sport management strategy

Coursework allows for the exploration of the sport industry as an activity rather than a spectacle. Faculty base assignments on the advancement of sport within the individuals’ everyday life and preferred work setting of the professional. These outcomes enable and increase awareness of the impact of sport in society.

Through a diverse collection of instructors and coursework, students learn how to achieve positive outcomes on local, national and international levels, within multiple settings tailored to the student’s chosen career. Students study the application of sport management models within preexisting organizations such as schools, universities, professional sports and specific organizations/businesses. Cohorts create training programs that enhance the efforts of volunteers and community leaders.

Problem solving

Program coursework applies the most recent research findings in sport management, from creating new approaches to dealing with sport issues in their preferred work setting. Topics frequently explored include profitability, diversity, legal issues, facilities, ethics and changing markets. 

Program faculty

Who you'll learn from

Our faculty are diverse, with backgrounds in international management, non-profit management, collegiate sport management, sport business marketing, private industry management and sport management research.

  • lee

    Cindy Lee

    Professional Highlights

    • Worked as a sport marketer during 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup
    • Participated in organizing the 2001 World Taekwondo Championship
  • Floyd Jones

    Floyd Jones

    Professional Highlights

    • Provided leadership to design and develop Blended Sport Management Master's Program into one of the most impressive, high quality, high placement rate, graduate programs in the University.
    • Built Collaborations with multiple international partners, including, Venezuela, Cayman Island, Canada, Africa, Europe. 
    • Designed an active International Sport Management Consortium comprised of multiple US partners, and collaborators. 
    • Created a Partnership with Rural WV and Urban Regional Community Based Partners to bring over 300 at risk students to the campus every fall for a career exploration and Big 12 football game.
    • Created a Community Based Summer time learning model that has won National awards and has been implemented in many communities throughout WV. "Project YES
  • Gary Lhotsky portrait

    Gary J. Lhotsky

    Professional Highlights

    • Eleven years of professional experience in collegiate athletic facility and event management at Florida State University, Florida International University, and the University of Miami.
    • Extensive experience planning and hosting NCAA, ACC, Big East, TAAC, and FHSA championships.
  • bravo

    Gonzalo Bravo

    Professional Highlights

    • Visiting professor at the Research Center for Sport, Leisure and Society at Universidade Federal Do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
    • Visiting scholar at the University Center for International Studies, University Of Pittsburgh
    • Co-editor of two books in International sport management
Beyond The Classroom

Field Experiences and Research

The program features a wide range of individualized opportunities that allow students to specialize in their passion, while building long-lasting relationships with seasoned professionals and peers.

Interact with a diverse cohort

The program provides opportunities for students to network with like-minded industry professionals. While on campus, students in the comprehensive sport industry management focus area connect with university athletic staff, executives, administrators and sport-related professionals. Students cultivate professional networks with program faculty and join informal discussions about specific areas of interest to their careers. Students in the interscholastic athletic administration focus area will not come to campus, but will have opportunities to network with alumni from the program, experts in the field and other professionals teaching their classes.

Complete research while gaining hands-on experience

Students in the comprehensive sport industry management focus area will complete a practicum project. The practicum experience provides a unique aspect of the low residency master’s program. Each student chooses a year-long actual field research project as a practicum. Topics range from branding local athletic programs and enhancing current athletic facilities to developing new strategies to increase ticket sales, marketing products and improving staff output. 

The practicum is a three-credit course that runs through the entire curriculum. Each cohort communicates and networks on a regular basis regarding their practicum idea, concept, research methodology and outcomes. Students work closely with each professor to create business and marketing plans, budgets and fundraising strategy. Through the use of data collection and analysis, students evaluate governance and legal issues before project completion and implementation.

In place of this practicum project, students in the interscholastic athletic administration focus area gain additional knowledge specifically related to interscholastic issues through coursework in leadership, organization and administration. Within these courses, students will complete the LTC coursework required for the Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) certification from the NIAAA. 

Earn course credit via internships

Students are not required to complete an internship, however, internship credit is available for those who do not have professional experience prior to entering the program. Faculty advise students on appropriate internships and approve necessary paperwork and contracts.

Network with sport professionals

During the on-campus segment of the program, students have the opportunity to engage one-on-one with Big 12 Conference athletic administrators. Students build added value in their degree by interacting with Division I sport administrators who often become mentors.

Career Preparation

After Graduation

Graduates have recorded more than a 90 percent success rate in attaining their career goals. Upon successfully completing the program, students often advance to a higher level of management, executive or administrative function.

Increased professional marketability

Graduates leave the program with an advantage due to an enhanced resume featuring the most recent practical and research skills. Students gain an intuitive understanding of industry technology standards through the use of social media and analytic platforms. They also possess the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful across a broad range of industry positions.  Those completing the interscholastic athletic administration area of emphasis will complete the educational requirements for the Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) certification from the NIAAA.

Expanded networks

The program provides students with the opportunity to build connections within their cohort, often evolving into partnerships that extend beyond graduation. Graduates become their own best resource. They leave the program with personal insight from lasting connections with program faculty, professionals on campus and in the industry.  

Enhanced leadership capacity

Cohorts build their own business with an assignment that places them squarely in a position of leadership that extends beyond the school or university. In some cases, students generate funds helping local charities.

A passion focused into an industry specialization

At the beginning of each application process students submit a two-page personal statement that faculty use to create a 15-year professional career plan to help make goals a reality. As a result, students leave the program with having earned a master’s degree and a strategic guide to professional success.  

A broadened perspective on the global sport industry

The program’s uniqueness is exhibited in the diversity of faculty who hail from around the globe, bringing an international perspective to the curriculum. Program faculty frequently travel internationally to areas including Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. This collective experience enriches the program, broadening its depth of investigation within international sport. 

How To Apply

The Admission Process

How to apply

  • Create an account and apply online through WVU Graduate Admissions
  • Submit all content listed in the "supplemental information" tab.
  • Applicants will be communicated with on a regular basis. 
  • Admissions are rolling, and students can be accepted at any time

Prerequisites and requirements

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale)
  • Current resume highlighting professional background and qualifications
  • Professional goal statement: 1-2 written pages on professional goals and reasons for seeking admission
  • No GRE scores required

Additional program admission information

Admission application form deadline: Accepting admissions on a rolling basis until May 1 for a summer term start.

During the admission process, preference is given to individuals with experience in the sport industry. It is recommended that students have regular access to sport management settings given the applied nature of many course assignments.

Applicants who do not meet the 2.75 GPA requirement may be admitted as a provisional graduate student if their GPA is between 2.50 and 2.74. Once admitted provisionally, students are required to achieve a 3.0 GPA in their first 9-hours of advisor approved coursework to be reclassified as regular status and remain in the program.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

The previously listed materials are submitted online as part of the WVU Graduate Admission Application. Applicants must submit their official copies of transcripts and test scores directly to the WVU Office of Admissions, PO Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506.

All graduate students must achieve and maintain a 3.0 GPA or better (4-point scale) prior to graduation.