Bachelor’s Degrees in Sport Management
From the proliferation of professional sports teams to the expansion of collegiate athletics, the United States sports industry has become a ubiquitous presence in our culture. Athletes have become role models, anti-role models, and celebrities because of their physical talents. Sports, sporting events, and athletes have been necessary for political and cultural reasons as well, whether nationally or internationally. Sports can manifest a collective, human desire to overcome difficulties and experience success through dedication and skill.
And it makes sense given that sport is a perfect marriage of the human need for physical movement and play, and given how there are so many different kinds of sports making it possible for anyone to participate. But sport is also big business, with billions of dollars generated by professional and collegiate sports every year. The combination of the science and psychology of sport with business and management practices is what a Sport Management degree offers. Students who pursue such a degree are preparing themselves for positions in advertising, recreation management, health and fitness, facility or event management, client relations, and organizational leadership.
And there is no better time to get involved, as the Department of Labor predicts industry growth to increase faster than average rates for all occupations. The median wage in the industry also outpaces the average salary at $42,940, and if you become an agent or work in one of the many ancillary sport organizations in the industry, your average wage is even higher—up into the mid-$60,000. So, if you are interested in lacing up and getting in the game, then check out our list of the 5 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Sport Management!
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Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the 25 Best Bachelor’s in Sport Management, from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees:
- – 25% Student Satisfaction
- – 30% Earning Potential
- – 15% Retention Data
- – 20% Affordability
- – 10% Acceptance Rates
For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.
#1 THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
AUSTIN, TX | BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN SPORT MANAGEMENT
Website | Score: 100
The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university annually admitting over 50,000 students, making it one of the largest universities in the country. UT offers 100 different undergraduate programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. The degree provides a balanced mix of courses in the business of sports and the science of human movement. The program requires at least 48 credits in required courses, including classes for economics, communications, and computer applications.There are 12 credits in Kinesiology and Health, including Physiological Basis of Conditioning; Management of Physical Activity and Sport Programs; and Historical and Ethical Issues in Physical Culture and Sports.
The Sport Management focus provides classes such as Sport Industry in America; Race and Sport in African American Life; and Media and Public Relations in Sport.All majors are required to choose a certification, minor, specialization, or track which shapes their elective courses. Certificate and minor options include an Educational Psychology Minor or Kinesiology and Health Education minor. There are six different specializations for students to choose from including Community Health and Wellness, Disability Studies in Movement Science and Medical Fitness and Rehabilitation. The CE strongly encourages students to get involved with various academic enrichment programs like study abroad, which is a significant component of UT’s offerings.
#2 UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
CHAPEL HILL, NC | BACHELOR OF ARTS IN SPORT ADMINISTRATION
Website | Score: 99.7
Consistently ranked among the top universities in the country, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university with an annual student enrollment of close to 30,000 students. The Department of Exercise and Sport Science is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and offers a Bachelor of Arts in Sport Administration. The BASA requires 36 total hours, which includes core requirements such as Sport Sales and Revenue Production Seminar; Emergency Care of Athletic Injuries and Illnesses; and Legal Aspects of Sport. UNC offers an honors program for exceptional students who hold a 3.3 or higher GPA. There are also several organizations and research opportunities for students to get involved with, such as the Caroline Sports Business Club or Sport Concussion Research program.
The department also offers study abroad programs in Montevideo and Uruguay which students may find of interest. There are several undergraduate awards given each year through the department, such as the Ronald W. Hyatt Scholarship, which is a merit-based scholarship given to an outstanding, full-time student. UNC hosts leading research centers related to issues in sport administration, such as the Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics and the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. UNC also offers unparalleled opportunities for athletic events and boasts one of the best collegiate athletic programs in the country.
#3 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA – CHAMPAIGN
URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, IL | BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN SPORT MANAGEMENT
Website | Score: 98.8
A public research university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois System. The school regularly enrolls around 49,000 students in its 16 colleges and schools and offers 250 programs of study. The Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism is housed in the College of Applied Health Sciences and offers a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. Overall, the program includes 76 credits spread across five different areas. Students take courses in Leisure Studies, like Leisure and Diversity and Leisure and Human Development, as well as courses in Management, and Sport Management. SM required courses include Legal Aspects of Sport or Foundations of Sport Management. There are also 13 credits worth of electives as well as 13 internship credits. The internship and practicum experience requires 400 hours of work via two different agencies or organizations.
UI is home to the Illinois Youth Sport Initiative, which is a comprehensive program for research and events aiming to help reform youth sports which have seen a decline over the last decades. The IYSI offers a great opportunity for students to engage in this crucial conversation in the industry. UI runs a robust study abroad program and numerous student clubs organized for special interests, recreational, service, and entertainment hobbies. Significant scholarship opportunities are also offered by UI, and students are encouraged to discuss these opportunities with an advisor.
#4 UNIVERSITY OF INDIANA — BLOOMINGTON
BLOOMINGTON, IN | BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN KINESIOLOGY—SPORT MARKETING & MANAGEMENT
Website | Score: 98.6
The University of Indiana Bloomington is the largest university in the state’s system with over 40,000 students. UI is comprised of 16 different schools and colleges, including the School of Public Health, where the Department of Kinesiology, Sport Marketing and Management resides. The DKSMM offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a major in Sport Marketing and Management. The major consists of 78 credits and provides core classes such as Introduction to Kinesiology and Public Health; Management of the Sport Enterprise; and Sales Management in Sport. Students are also required to take 18 credits of electives which includes classes like Sport Industry Studies; Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics; and Sport Governance in the Global Community.
Students of UI are also required to take six credits toward an internship experience, which must be passed with a 2.5 GPA.UI boasts a student-led sports marketing and management organizations, as well. The Sport Marketing Alliance exists specifically to further knowledge of the profession and offers students exceptional opportunities to network, develop friendships, and grow professionally. The School of Public Health also sponsors several awards and scholarships which students are encouraged to apply for. Students may also partner with faculty on research projects as available. In 2016-2017, 49 percent of publications produced by faculty were written with student co-authors.
#5 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA—TWIN CITIES
MINNEAPOLIS, MN | BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN SPORT MANAGEMENT
Website | Score: 97.0
The flagship school of the University of Minnesota system is located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, where it straddles the Mississippi River. UM is a public research university with over 50,000 students enrolled in one of its 19 colleges and schools. Lodged in the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Kinesiology offers a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management.
The BSSM degree requires a total of 120 credits, with 80 in the major. Students must complete 60 prerequisite credits for topics such as Survey of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport; Introduction to Sport Management; and Computer Literacy and Problem Solving to be admitted to the program. There are 34 credits worth of required core courses which include classes like Sports Facility and Event Managemen; Sport in a Diverse Society; and Sport and Recreation Law.
The CE which houses the department is ranked No. 7 among College of Education programs worldwide. Students are encouraged to participate in two on-campus organizations, Sports Management Association and Women in Sports Careers. Both organizations offer students excellent venues to make friends and contacts, to have professional development experiences, and to further their education.