Minor gets major upgrade for sports enthusiasts

By Thomas Albano

The business of sports program, which has been exclusively a minor since its inception, is set to become a co-major option in the College of Business Administration (CBA) under the name sport management.

In addition, the business of sports minor will also go through several changes, including the changing of the minor’s name from business of sports to sport studies. All changes will be in effect beginning in the fall 2014 semester.

Dr. AJ Moore, one of the originators of, and professors in, the program, attributes these changes to the popularity of the current business of sports minor, and as a response to other universities’ offerings of majors such as sports marketing.

“A lot of times, academically, if it starts out as a minor and there’s a popularity in it, then it’s natural to make it a major,” Moore said. “For us, there’s a lot of schools that have sports marketing and sports business as a major, so it makes sense just from an academic standpoint as well.”

The sport management major requirements will consist of 18 credit hours, a standard in the CBA.

Just like the current business of sports program, it will require an introductory course, similar to the current Intro to the Business of Sports, as well as a required senior-level course. However, the senior seminar in sports will be replaced with a newly approved course called Contemporary Issues in Sport Management, which is set to start in the fall 2014 semester. There will be three required courses for sport management majors: Economics of Sports, Sports and the Law, and a new Sports Marketing course. After these five required courses, an elective can be chosen from courses that explore more areas of sports in depth.

The new sport management major will be a co-major in the CBA and geared toward students in that school. It must be coupled with another major in the business area, such as finance or marketing, and the student must complete the CBA’s core curriculum. According to economics professor Dr. Charles McCall, the free electives within the major can be used to allow a student to pick up a minor, such as law and justice or political science.

As a result, this major will be more geared toward entering freshmen and sophomores in the CBA.
“For someone who is here for their first year or their second year, and they’re in the College of Business, and they’re thinking, ‘Oh, I think I’d like to switch from the minor to the major,’ it’s feasible,” McCall said. “Someone in their senior year, or someone who’s currently a junior, it would be difficult to fit in the requirements and still finish next year.”

Dr. Ira Sprotzer, chairperson of the Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department in the CBA, explained that someone who wants to major in the business of sports should have a lot of familiarity and focus on business, since this is the reason why sport management will be a CBA-exclusive co-major and not open to all students.

“A student should have a disciplinary background in a business discipline,” he said.

Under the current business of sports minor program, students are required to take 18 credit hours, including an introductory course and a senior seminar in sports. The other credit hours come from four elective courses: Sports in American Life, Economics of Sports, Sports and the Law, Gender and Sports, and Sports Media Relations. Students also have the option to take an internship for credit.
Moore and Sprotzer originally developed the minor. Other professors joined into the program as classes developed, including Dr. Barry Truchil, who teaches Sports in American Life and McCall, who teaches Economics of Sports and advises business of sports minors.
According to McCall, about 150 students are minoring in the business of sports program. About 100 come from the CBA, and the other 50 or so are from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a majority of these 50 students coming from majors in the Department of Communication and Journalism. McCall said this is because communication students can make connections between the business of sports and their field that provides for an interdisciplinary learning environment.
“I think also it’s the internship possibilities that are available,” McCall said. “A lot of them have to do with communication, media relations and event management, and that’s a reasonable department home for that kind of interest.”
Sprotzer, Moore and McCall all wanted to make sure that this is not just a major in sports. Moore explained the reasoning by using the job market outlook.

“Sports are a particular aspect, but you still have to be versed in the larger topics of business and liberal arts,” Moore said. “Entering the sports industry is very competitive. If you’re a job applicant and you know everything about sports, and nothing about management or marketing, they’ll take the person who knows marketing or management more, even if they don’t know sports.”
Ariana Palmer, a freshman marketing major and business of sports minor, is excited at the prospect of studying sports from different angles.
“Sports management is not all about the business aspects behind sports, it also includes law, social media and the marketing,” she said.

McCall said with the development of the new courses for the major taking place, “that menu of elective courses will be growing.”
“So with that new sports marketing course being approved, a minor now could also use that as one of the electives,” he said. “And then also that sports psychology course that has now been added to that list of electives. So, for the minor, we’re going to be seeing a richer set of electives being available. The minor is still going to be interdisciplinary.”
McCall said that the reason for the name changes is to distinguish two that are similar in name, but different in content.

“We wanted to separate them out,” he said. “And I think it will be more informative for incoming students to say, ‘OK, there are these two different programs. One is broader in terms of a wide range of electives being offered, and one is more narrowly focused on business courses.’”
There is hope, according to McCall, that the programs will still grow even further, including the creation of other possible new courses, such as a sports history course, a physics of sports course and a sport statistics course.

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