A Descriptive Analysis of North American Sport Management Programs. A 21st Century Look at the Profession

Por: Courtney Custer, Dana Brooks, Floyd Jones e Jennifer Mak.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The implementation of the Standards for Voluntary Accreditation for sport management programs issued by the NASSM-NASPE Joint Task force in (1993), has resulted in debates regarding accreditation. Several studies researched the implications of accreditation and how and why various Universities have gone the extra mile to see that they meet the standards, sought accreditation, and then were ultimately granted approval. The research found that of the 166 sport management programs currently listed on NASSM’s website, very surprisingly only twenty percent of undergraduate programs are accredited (N=34), fifteen percent of master programs are accredited (N=25), and only one percent of  doctorate programs are accredited (N=2).

The purposes of the study were as follows:

  1. determine the administrative location of the various sport management programs within schools and colleges,
  2. investigate the extent to which males and females are hired as faculty within Sport management programs,
  3. describe faculty and student diversity within the sport management program,
  4. to evaluate undergraduate graduation requirements,
  5. to assess employment opportunities for students graduating from sport management programs, and
  6. to determine the number of NASSM-NASPE accredited sport management programs.

Participants in this study were a random sample of 137 American sport management programs. Fifty-two usable questionnaires were returned, a thirty-eight percent return rate. The questionnaire was designed by the researcher based upon the literature.  Previous Literature reviewed (McMahon, 2001; Sawyer, 1993) focused on past program evaluations which also documented the location of the programs within a university, specifically pieces written by McMahon (2002) and Sawyer (1993) Research findings suggested that 18 percent of the programs (N=9.464) are located in the Schools of Health and Human Services. 38 percent of schools (N=20) only had one female faculty member within the program.  50 percent of schools (N=26) reported having zero minority faculty.  Seventy-eight percent of sport management programs (N=40.76) require an internship placement to meet graduation requirements. 61 percent of schools (N=33) reported having zero to two faculty members that are tenured at the rank of associate or full professor. 66 percent of sport management programs are not NASSM accredited (N=34.684). Also 70 percent are not NASPE accredited (N=36.712). This finding is not consistent with the 80 percent of sport management programs on NASSM’s website not being accredited. Eighty-eight percent of the programs (N=46) hire adjunct professors to teach in the sport management programs.

As a result of the collected data, the findings suggest that the location of the program may contribute to the variance of the curriculum as well as the field of study thus possibly hindering the institution’s interest in pursuing accreditation. Additionally, the location of the program may allow of variety of completed course work by the teaching faculty mainly because the main educational focus of the program will lead the faculty to pursue course work according to the program’s uniqueness. Furthermore, the notoriety of the program may also be influenced by the program location, thus affecting the students wishing to major in sport management.

This research presentation will address these issues from the perspective of the 21st century and present logical outcomes for Professional sport management programs around the country should these trends continue.

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