Compiled and Written By TopManagementDegrees.com Staff
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2020
A bachelor's in sports management prepares students to work with athletes and in athletic settings. Learners study managerial concepts related to sports events, facilities, and merchandise, while also learning about the demands and goals of athletes, coaches, and sports professionals.
With a bachelor's degree in sports management, graduates can pursue careers in coaching, facilities operations, sports marketing, and athlete representation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects management occupations to experience a 7% increase from 2018-2028, indicating strong employment opportunities for sports management professionals.
Sports management bachelor's degrees vary in curricula and structure. Rankings provide valuable insight into which bachelor's in sports management programs best meet learners' needs and goals.
Top Bachelor's in Sports Management Programs and Schools
#25. North Greenville University – Tigerville, SC
The Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from North Greenville University has a hands-on approach to education. Students at NGU learn the fundamentals of sport management and basic business concepts while gaining valuable, practical, training. Students get to be involved in workshops, organization and production of events, professional presentations, sport ethic debates, community service, and more. Students can also work on individual projects with a faculty member. This allows the student to focus on an area of interest and practice skills that will lead them toward their career. There are three different emphases in the BS in Sport Management. They are the business emphasis, the coaching certification, or the ministry emphasis. The curriculum varies for each emphasis, allowing students to learn what is most important to them. NGU's BS in Sport Management is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. It was named the No. 1 Top Bachelor's in Sports Management Degree Program by Sports Management Degree Guide. NGU was also named among the top 100 Regional Universities South by US News.
TMD Ranking Score: 82.10
#24. Temple University – Philadelphia, PA
Temple University offers a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management. Within the major, students can choose from several concentration options, including Governance and Policy, Sport and Recreation Promotion, as well as Event Leadership. Students can further customize their degree by including minors and certificates. The program at Temple University is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions. Temple University has the No. 5 Most Active Student Government according to the Princeton Review. There is a multitude of ways to get involved on campus, including organizations and associations such as the International Sports Business Association and the Sport and Recreation Professional Association. Students can also get involved in the many student-led clubs and activities at Temple. There is an Honors Program option for students who excel in the program, and all students are able to participate in internships and personalized placement services. Temple was named among the top 100 in US News' Best Value Schools and is No. 108 in Forbes's Top Public Colleges.
TMD Ranking Score: 76.25
#23. University of Nebraska at Kearney – Kearney, NE
A Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from the University of Nebraska at Kearney will prepare students to follow a variety of career pathways. UNK's BS in Sports Management encourages an appreciation for health-conscious living and a passion for fitness. Some of the classes in the program are "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise," "Psychology of Sport," and "Facilities in Recreation." Students are able to participate in hands-on courses that give them the necessary experience to be successful in whatever career they choose. Small classes mean that students can get to know their professors and their peers. There are more than 170 student organizations on UNK's campus, so students have plenty of opportunities to get involved. UNK was named the No. 10 in Top Public Schools by US News and No. 2 in Top Public Universities in Nebraska by Niche. It also made Money's list of Best Colleges for Your Money.
TMD Ranking Score: 77.40
#22. University of Louisville – Louisville, KY
Louisville, Kentucky hosts several major sporting events, both recreational and professional. Students enrolled in the BS in Sport Administration program at the University of Louisville get to be a part of these events. U of L gives students the opportunity to work, intern, and volunteer on service-learning projects that gives them active experience in local organizations. Guest lecturers from sport business organizations visit campus to provide relevant information about current events in the field. Students are encouraged to further focus their education by completing a minor such as Business Administration, Communications, Community Health, Economics, Equine Business, Exercise Science, Finance, Management, or Wellness Coaching. A diverse set of courses gives students the flexibility to learn what interests them most. The BS in Sport Administration program is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. U of L is ranked No. 91 in Top Public Schools by US News and No. 2 in Top Public Universities in Kentucky by Niche.
TMD Ranking Score: 81.89
#21. University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS
The University of Kansas is considered the No. 1 Best College in Kansas by Niche and No. 2 Best College in Kansas by Best Colleges. It's also among the top 100 Best Value Schools on US News and the top 50 Top Colleges in the Midwest by Forbes. With such high placement in rankings, it might be no surprise that KU offers many unique resources to its students. A Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management from KU includes access to their athletic department. Faculty in the program have experience in intercollegiate athletics and are prominent scholars and experts in their field. Courses in the program at the University of Kansas cover topics such as the sociology of sport, sports law, sport marketing, personnel management, and more. As part of the BS in Sport Management students complete a semester-long internship. This internship gives students hands-on experience in an area of sport management of their choice. Students can also control the focus of their degree by selecting one of three minors: Business, Psychology, or Journalism.
TMD Ranking Score: 77.10
#20. Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, OH
The Bachelor of Science in Education-Sport Management from Bowling Green State University is one of the country's oldest sport management programs. It is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. The program provides experience through coursework, field placements, internships, volunteerism, and more. Courses include "Sport and Gender," "Sport and Event Promotion," and "Sport Psychology." As well as learning the business basics of sport management the program covers the impact of culture, social values, and individual experience on sports. Students practice ethics and intellectual inquiry. Students have options to customize their degree, such as choosing a minor to focus on management, marketing, or communication. BGSU was named among the 150 Top Colleges in the Midwest by Forbes and the top 150 Top Public Schools by US News.
TMD Ranking Score: 79.37
#19. Ohio University – Athens, OH
The Department of Sports Administration at Ohio University is a part of the College of Business. This means that students earning their Bachelor of Sport Management receive practical business knowledge as well as specialized sports management skills. Sport Management students can specialize in a business discipline such as Marketing, Data Analytic, Accounting, or Finance. They can also add a Business Minor in Marketing or Finance. The final option for customization is to add a certificate in sales, women and gender studies, environmental studies, or entrepreneurship. The Bachelor of Sport Management gives students an education that is based on business principles but is active and involved. Students can apply for a sports internship or can complete a sport management practicum. They can take courses such as "Leadership and Sport Management" or "Marketing and Revenue Streams in Sport." Ohio University is among the top 100 Public Schools according to US News, and Forbes ranked it among the top 100 Top Colleges in the Midwest.
TMD Ranking Score: 75.85
#18. Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, MI
Central Michigan University was ranked No. 4 in Colleges with the Best Student Life in Michigan by Niche. Students earning their Bachelors in Sport Management benefit from this amazing student life by attending athletic events for free. They can also participate in some of almost 400 student clubs and organizations. With the opportunity to be involved in sports events and organizations, students are able to get hands-on learning experience alongside their coursework. In the Bachelor of Sport Management program students take classes such as Economics and Finance in the Sport Industry, Sport Communication and Mass Media, and Sport Governance: Ethics, Morals, and Values. The program is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. It can easily be expanded by combining with another program for a double major or an added minor.
TMD Ranking Score: 81.47
#17. Arkansas State University – Jonesboro, AR
Careers in sports management are fast-paced and challenging but they are also extremely important jobs that often remain behind the scenes. At Arkansas State University, a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management can prepare students to enter these careers and be the force that guarantees successful sporting events. The Sports Management program at A State prepares students with skills in academics, management, communication, and leadership. The program is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. Along with its challenging courses, A State offers students access to resources such as a weight room, cardio room, and pool. A State was named No. 104 in Best College Athletics in America by Niche. A State focuses on its students but it also focuses on training faculty and encouraging them to engage in scholarly pursuits. The program is relevant and applicable, and the faculty members care about teaching up-to-date material and content. A State was named No. 38 in Top Public Schools on US News.
TMD Ranking Score: 77.85
#16. Western New England University – Springfield, MA
The Bachelors in Sport Management at Western New England University is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. The program combines sport management skills with a common core of business courses. Students can easily double major in Marketing or add a minor in Athletic Coaching. The faculty in the program have years of experience and act as mentors and professional connections for students. Students can also gain connections through the many clubs and organizations on campus or through the Advanced Field Experience, a semester-long internship course. There is study abroad options for students as well as the opportunity to travel to the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup to study the business of sports.\
TMD Ranking Score: 75.80
#15. University of South Carolina-Columbia – Columbia, SC
The University of South Carolina was ranked No. 19 in Best College Athletics in America by Niche. The excellent athletics program crosses into the Bachelor of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management Degree. Students don't just learn from a classroom setting, they are involved through on-campus events and organizations, conferences, study abroad, and field experience. Students are required to take two internships, giving them a broad range of experience and training. At U of SC, students take control of their education by choosing from accelerated and dual degree programs. The innovative programs at U of SC include a grounding in the basics of business and a push toward confident leadership. US News named U of SC the No. 106 in National Universities and Forbes ranked it No. 67 in Top Public Colleges.
TMD Ranking Score: 81.42
#14. Indiana University-Bloomington – Bloomington, IN
At Indiana University-Bloomington students are able to earn a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a major in Sports Marketing and Management. IU Bloomington places emphasis on teaching, research, and service. Students gain a multidisciplinary approach to sports management. They study foundational coursework while applying it to community engagement, internship opportunities, and volunteer work. The program is affordable, named in the top 100 Best Colleges for Your Money by Money. It's accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and ranked No. 33 in Top Public Colleges by Forbes. Graduates from the Sports Marketing and Management program enter a successful alumni network full of professional opportunities and connections. US News named it No. 89 in National Universities.
TMD Ranking Score: 84.56
#13. Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge, LA
Louisiana State University is ranked No. 36 in the list of Top Colleges in the South by Forbes. The Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration from LSU is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. The program requires 120 credit hours. It emphasizes practical experience and encourages students to take a practicum or an internship. Students receive training in the basics of business and study the changing and complex industry of sports. Students take courses in marketing, organizing sports events, management, legal and ethical issues, and more. LSU is ranked No. 1 in Top Public Universities in Louisiana by Niche and is applauded as a Best Value School by both US News and Forbes.
TMD Ranking Score: 83.05
#12. University of North Florida – Jacksonville, FL
The University of North Florida offers flexibility to its students. Its Bachelor of Science in Sport Management can be customized to meet the needs and interests of each student. It can be supplemented by a minor in Business Management, Marketing, Community Leadership, Community Sport and Tourism, Communication Studies, or Mass Communication. Each minor teaches specialized skills to help students reach their ideal career. UNF has a multidisciplinary focus. Students learn the fundamentals of sport management and business, but they also develop strong communication skills and the ability to multitask. Some course options are "Issues in Sport," "Diversity in Sport," and "Sports Facility Management." UNF was named No. 58 in Best Value Schools by US News and made it into Money's list of Best Colleges for Your Money. It was also named No. 94 in the list of Top Colleges in the South by Forbes.
TMD Ranking Score: 84.26
#11. Michigan Technological University – Houghton, MI
The Bachelor of Science in Sports and Fitness Management from Michigan Technological University is grounded in science and business. Course topics include Kinesiology, Accounting, Management, Marketing, Biology, Chemistry, and more. Students learn from leaders in their field. They practice critical and ethical thinking and master the art of problem-solving. They also learn fundamental technology which will keep them one step ahead in this digital age. Each student is provided the opportunity to work with an advisor to develop a personalized plan for courses, internships, and career direction. Michigan Tech understands that each student is unique and strives to bring awareness and sensitivity to the diversity of its students. Michigan Tech was named No. 1 in Best Value Colleges in Michigan by Niche, No. 58 in the list of Top Colleges in the Midwest by Forbes, and No. 121 on Best Value Colleges by US News.
TMD Ranking Score: 80.29
#10. University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, AR
The University of Arkansas is ranked #1 in Best Colleges in Arkansas by Niche, #54 Top Colleges in the South by Forbes, and #78 in Top Public Schools by US News. The Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Sport Management gives students hands-on experience and a strong base of knowledge. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Some of the classes required for a BS in Recreation and Sport Management are "Leisure and Society," "Research in Recreation and Sport," and "Inclusive and Special Recreation and Sports." Faculty members at the U of A are experienced in the field and involved in relevant research. Students who excel in the program can become a part of the Honors Program. The BS in Recreation and Sport Management can be customized to each individual student. With the help of an advisor, students can add a concentration and an area of interest to focus their studies. Concentrations include Sport Management, Public Recreation, Children and Family, Fitness Club Management, Commercial Recreation, Correctional Recreation, Outdoor Leadership, Youth at Risk, or Outdoor Recreation.
TMD Ranking Score: 83.86
#9. University of Massachusetts-Amherst – Amherst, MA
The Sport Management program at the University of Massachusetts is part of the nationally ranked Isenberg School of Management. This allows students currently earning their Bachelor of Science in Sports Management to combine sport-specific knowledge with a business education. UMass Amherst has a large faculty devoted to the sport management program. They teach leadership and communication skills and encourage students to apply classroom content to real-world issues. Students can focus their degree through electives, dual degrees, or minors. US News ranked UMass Amherst as No. 70 in National Universities and Forbes ranked it No. 54 in the Top Public Colleges. Graduates join a worldwide network of alumni who can offer professional connections, opportunities, and expertise. UMass Amherst has a wide range of connections with sports organizations around the globe, giving graduates a head start in their career search. UMass Amherst was also named among Money's top 100 Best Colleges for Your Money.
TMD Ranking Score: 85.81
#8. Slippery Rock University – Slippery Rock, PA
Slippery Rock University had the first program in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation. The Bachelor of Science in Sport Management has an innovative curriculum designed for student success. The program encourages experiential learning and the application of classroom knowledge. Students can apply for internships that are located around the nation and the world. Along with internships, students gain experience through practicums, academic conferences, career fairs, fundraising opportunities, community outreach, service learning, and participation in the sports management alliance. Along with the fundamentals of sports management, students graduate with skills in communication, critical thinking, and use of technology. US News named Slippery Rock University as No. 25 in Top Public Schools.
TMD Ranking Score: 85.51
#7. Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
Florida State University is the No. 2 Top Public University in Florida according to Niche. It also ranked No. 29 in Top Colleges in the South by Forbes and US News ranked it No. 52 for Best Undergraduate Teaching. The Bachelor of Science in Sport Management builds on an introductory understanding of the ssportsindustry. Students learn the basics of sport management and how to apply it to real-world situations. All students meet with an advisor to plan their degree and choose classes that will be the most beneficial to their career goals. Students can focus on business, recreation, and other disciplines. They can participate in the Global Sport Management program, a study abroad option, and are encouraged to take a practicum for more hands-on experience.
TMD Ranking Score: 87.70
#6. University of Connecticut – Mansfield, CT
Students earning their Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from the University of Connecticut gain theoretical knowledge of the sports industry and hands-on practical application. UConn has an effective balance between classroom education, research, and field experiences. Students learn to apply their knowledge to the business side of the sports industry. They are required to complete an internship in order to gain valuable experience in the field. The small class sizes in the Sport Management program makes it easy for students to make connections with faculty and classmates. Courses in the program include Sport in Society, Financial Management in the Sport Industry, and Career Development in Sport Management. UConn was named No. 50 in Money's Best Colleges for Your Money. It also made Forbes's list of Top Public Colleges as No. 40 and ranked No. 63 in the US News's National Universities.
TMD Ranking Score: 88.43
#5. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities – Twin Cities, MN
University of Minnesota's Bachelor of Science in Sport Management helps students build experiences and skill sets both in and out of the classroom. Some of the ways students can get involved is through experiential courses, research, senior seminars, networking, study abroad, practicums, and electives. Students take core courses such as Sport in a Diverse Society, Sport and Recreation Law, and Business of Sport. They study the impact of culture, psychology, and economic effects on contemporary sports. The program also makes room for students' love of sport through PE credits which can include classes like karate, weight training, ultimate disc, and other sports. UMN reached several key rankings from Forbes, such as No. 106 in Top Colleges and No. 24 in Top Public Colleges. It also ranked No. 76 in National Universities on US News.
TMD Ranking Score: 89.98
#4. Texas A&M University-College Station – College Station, TX
At Texas A&M University-College Station, the Bachelor of Science in Sport Management can be completed in two ways. The first option is the Applied Option which requires students to spend their final semester gaining field experience through an internship or other work opportunities. The second option is the Interdisciplinary Option, which allows students to study sports management from a specific perspective as they study various areas of the sports industry. This second option requires a minor such as business, journalism, or communication. Both options begin with a common core of sports management courses. Texas A&M is ranked No. 2 in Top Public Universities in Texas by Niche. It's also ranked as a Best Value School by both Forbes and US News. The former ranked it at No. 29 and the latter ranked it as No. 44.
TMD Ranking Score: 89.05
#3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, IL
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary for success. The Bachelor of Science in Sport Management looks at sport as a leisure pursuit and helps students gain an understanding of the leisure industry and the place of sports within that industry. Students begin with a core set of courses that set a foundation in sports management and business. They can then move into specific areas of interest. Some of the core classes include Ethical Issues in Sport, Leadership and Leisure Services, as well as Leisure and Consumer Culture. Outside the classroom, students can get involved through participation in research, student organizations, and more. The University of Illinois is ranked No. 11 in Public Colleges by Forbes and No. 13 in Top Public Schools by US News.
TMD Ranking Score: 91.30
#2. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor's Bachelor of Arts in Sport Management explores the impact of sport on culture and business. The world-renowned faculty include students in research, consulting projects and real-world case studies. Throughout their time at UMich, students are engaged with the faculty, advisors, and alumni mentors. After graduation, they join a wide network of alumni. At UMich, alumni are actively involved in assisting current students through in-class consulting projects, participation in on-campus alumni events, and a formal alumni-student mentorship program. There are several student-run organizations, clubs, and groups on campus, such as the Sport Business Association and the Michigan Sport Consulting Club. UMich is named the No. 2 Top Public College by Forbes and is No. 27 in National Universities according to US News.
TMD Ranking Score: 94.90
#1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a flexible and customizable Bachelor of Arts in Sport Administration. Students meet with an advisor to discuss career goals and plan a degree that fits their interests and works with their professional objectives. The BA in Sport Administration focuses on hands-on experience and experiential learning. Students participate in experiential education internships and complete sport-related business coursework. The courses offered within the program cover topics such as communication, economics, event planning, facility management, licensing, marketing, sponsorship, and more. Best Colleges named UNC the No. 1 Best College in North Carolina. US News named it No. 5 in Top Public Schools and No. 8 in Best Value Schools, and Forbes named it No. 9 in Top Public Colleges.
TMD Ranking Score: 100.00
What Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Sports Management?
Bachelor's in sports management programs blend business fundamentals with sports-related content. Coursework in fitness and nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and kinesiology give learners the fundamental knowledge to work with athletes. Learners also study marketing, operations administration, finance, and accounting in order to build skills relevant to the business side of sports.
Sports management degrees allow individuals with a passion for sports to plan, manage, and organize sports organizations, events, and participants. Students can work within interscholastic, intercollegiate, amateur, and professional sporting environments. Learners pursuing sports management bachelor's degrees build quantitative and qualitative analytical skills. Knowledge of the human body and how it works accompany expertise in sports finance and economics, legal and ethical aspects of sport, and sports business.
Sports management graduates can pursue careers in an array of settings, such as facilities management, athlete representation, and coaching and scouting. According to the BLS, advertising and promotions managers may experience a projected 8% increase in employment from 2018-2028, while coaches and scouts may see projected gains of 11%.
The adaptability of a sports management degree shines through in career options such as athletic director and sports agent. PayScale indicates entry-level athletic directors earn a median annual salary approaching $50,000, while sports agents earn over $52,600 annually.
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What Do the Top Sports Management Bachelor's Programs Have in Common?
Sports management bachelor's degrees feature roughly 120 credit hours. Students complete general education requirements alongside major courses. Sports management bachelor's degrees blend coursework in anatomy, biology, and kinesiology with business classes in finance, marketing, and operations administration.
Students typically take four years to complete traditional undergraduate programs in sports management. Online sports management bachelor's degrees allow learners to complete coursework at a more flexible, convenient pace. Part-time students can earn their degrees in five or more years, while individuals on an accelerated schedule may complete their degrees in as little as three years.
Bachelor's in sports management degrees may emphasize one aspect of the discipline. Many focus on the business side of the sports industry, with supplemental exercise science courses, while others emphasize topics such as fitness, nutrition, and human performance.
Sports management bachelor's degrees often include internship and practicum requirements. Learners complete a requisite number of hours with a sports organization, facility, or team, while also gaining valuable insight into their future profession.
With a sports management degree, students may pursue coaching certificates or teaching credentials. Additional opportunities for continued study include personal trainer and sports official certifications. With a bachelor's degree in sports management, learners can also move on to graduate study in the discipline.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Sports Management?
Undergraduate degrees in sports management generally include 120 credit hours. Full-time students earn their degree in four years, completing both general education and major requirements.
Students with previous coursework in business and general education may earn their degree in less than four years. Online options also allow learners to take more than the traditional 15 credit hours each semester, shortening the overall length of the program.
Part-time learners who take fewer than 15 credit hours each semester may extend their completion time to five years or more. Learners should consider institutional requirements regarding limits on program length.
Most sports management bachelor's degrees require internships, which give learners valuable hands-on experience. Internship and practicum placements can lead to career opportunities, build students' networks, and offer valuable mentorship. Additional degree requirements may include a research capstone or comprehensive project.
Top Management Degrees uses seven data points to rank college programs. Here they are in order of importance:
- A Reputation Aggregate Score from other rankings
- Graduate Average Salary
- Alumni Reviews
- Percentage of Admitted Students Who Graduate
- Admitted Students' Test Scores
- Acceptance Rate
Professional Organizations in Business Management
Professional organizations for sports management provide valuable resources to sports agents, administrators, and other sports colleagues. Sports management organizations and associations build networks through face-to-face and online events. They also provide updates about trends, changes, and issues in the discipline.
Membership in professional organizations can give sports management students access to job boards and career guidance. Through professional organizations, working professionals also enjoy professional development and continuing education opportunities.
NASSM promotes research, study, and professional development within the sport management discipline. By incorporating theoretical and applied aspects of sport management, NASSM unites practitioners, researchers, and students. It does so through annual events, publications, and award and grant opportunities. Members receive access to online member services, association publications, and discounts to conferences.
A leading trade organization for sports business professionals, NSMN features more than 12,000 individual, corporate, and student members. NSMN advances the sports business industry through networking, seminars, and job-matching resources. Members benefit from industry discounts, access to private social media groups, and admission to network events.
Dedicated to serving sports officials around the country, NASO offers insurance benefits, publications, and discounts to members. The association also provides advocacy opportunities, consultation services, and newsletters to keep sports officials current on officiating techniques, news, and issues.
Founded in 1992, Sports ETA provides education, networking, and training opportunities to sporting event and tourism professionals. By uniting sports commissions, destinations, event owners, and industry partners, Sports ETA promotes integrity in the field. The association also offers awards and recognitions, even hosting its own hall of fame.
The NIAAA brings together athletic administrators from middle and high schools to promote and support the profession. The association offers leadership programs, service opportunities, and resources to facilitate athletic participation opportunities for students. Members can access professional development resources, insurance, discounts, association publications, and networking opportunities.