ERIC Identifier: ED362505
Publication Date: 1993-08-00
Author: Stier, William F., Jr.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse
on Teaching and Teacher Education Washington DC.
Alternative Career Paths in Physical Education: Sport
Management. ERIC Digest.
Prior to the late 1960s, physical education professional preparation programs
in the United States were principally concerned with preparing coaches of sport
and teachers of physical education. In recent decades, the field has spawned a
number of viable alternative career tracks.
The expansion of physical education into alternative career paths has not
changed the nature of what physical education is or can be. However, it does
drastically change the emphasis of the delivery system and expands the potential
constituencies that the profession will serve in the future (Stier, 1986).
None of the alternative career options have proven to be more viable than has
sport management. Beginning in 1966 with but a single master's program
established at Ohio University, the field has expanded to 193 institutions that
prepare sport managers and administrators on the undergraduate and/or graduate
levels (NASSM/NASPE, 1993).
Current and future job demands on the sport professional necessitate that the
individual possess a depth of knowledge and a broad range of specific
competencies in business and in sport to be able to deal successfully with ever
changing challenges and problems associated with the business of sport. This
Digest will address the history and growth of sport management as a distinct
subdiscipline; reasons behind this growth; controversies and problems; the scope
of sport management today; and the future of sport management. The information
should be useful to students contemplating a career in physical education or its
subdisciplines, physical education teachers or fitness professionals considering
career change, and university faculty involved in curriculum development.
HISTORY AND GROWTH OF SPORT MANAGEMENT
The initial impetus
for sport management developing into a distinct academic discipline can be
traced to Walter O'Malley, then president of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1957,
O'Malley voiced his concern with Dr. James G. Mason about the lack of formal
education programs for individuals desiring to work in professional baseball.
Almost a decade later, 1966, Dr. Mason, who was then a professor at Ohio
University, was instrumental in establishing the first masters degree program in
sport management at that university (J. G. Mason, personal communication,
January 23, 1990).
By 1978 there were 20 sport management graduate programs identified in this
country (Parkhouse, 1978). In addition, three undergraduate programs had
surfaced by that time. Today there is a total of 193 colleges and universities
offering undergraduate/graduate programs in sport management or athletic
administration (NASSM/NASPE, 1993). Five are doctoral degree programs. In 1993
the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the North
American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) approved standards and protocol
for accrediting sport management preparation programs, a process that will begin
RATIONAL FOR THE PROLIFERATION OF PROGRAMS
There has been a
variety of interrelated reasons behind the accelerated and sustained growth in
sport management professional preparation programs (Stier, 1986):
* an effort to meet a real, recognizable need for professionally trained
administrators in the broad area of sport;
* a natural outgrowth of the study of sport, combined with the view that
physical education is a broad-based academic discipline;
* fewer students seeking to become physical education teachers, an
overabundance of would-be physical education teachers already seeking jobs, the
reduction in requirements for daily physical education in many school systems;
* a conscious effort by professionals within higher education to save jobs of
physical education professors (as fewer students pursue traditional physical
education as a major), by providing an alternative academic career path; and
* additional colleges and universities jumping on the "sport management
bandwagon" once they realized that such programs could attract significant
numbers of students.
CONTROVERSIES AND PROBLEMS FACING SPORT MANAGEMENT
phenomenal growth associated with sport management has not been without
controversies, challenges, and problems. Even the name of the discipline has
come under close scrutiny in its brief history. Many terms are used
interchangeably to describe the profession, such as sport(s) or athletic
management, sport(s) business or administration, and athletic administration.
Although there isn't consensus in terminology, the purpose of programs remains
essentially the same: to prepare future sport professionals, other than teachers
and coaches, for careers in the world of sport (Parkhouse, 1991; Bridges & Roquemore, 1992).
Other challenges and controversies include:
* a lack of consistency in terms of the depth and breadth of the curricular
programs, with some schools offering an emphasis, a concentration, or
specialization, while others provide a minor or a major;
* a need for faculty simultaneously to possess meaningful, practical
experience in the real world of sport and the ability to be scholars within the
* a lack of consensus in terms of where sport management should be housed on
the college level--physical education, business, or a separate academic entity
* a lack of agreement whether sport management should be offered at the
undergraduate level or should be the exclusive domain of the graduate level; and
* a danger of saturating the field with highly trained professionals seeking
a limited number of vacancies (many with a low salary).
SCOPE OF SPORT MANAGEMENT
The basis of most sport
management professional preparation programs revolves around an
interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach. Fields of study such as
physical education, sport, business, computers, and communications are all
intricately intertwined in the preparation of future sport managers and
administrators. In fact, Sutton (1989) refers to sport management as a hybrid
field of study in that it encompasses so many other disciplines.
Sport management programs can prepare students to become generalists or
specialists. The professional preparation curriculum typically consists of three
Cognate or foundation classes, which are related to the discipline of sport
management and can include courses in communications; interpersonal relations;
business; accounting; finance; economics; statistics; and the historical,
sociological, psychological, kinesiological, and philosophical perspectives of
sport (Stier, 1993).
Specialty or major courses, which are the core, applied courses geared
specifically to sport management (Brassie, 1989). Examples include introduction
to sport management, sport management theory, sport marketing, fundraising,
promotions, public relations, ethics in sport management, legal aspects of
sport, facility planning and management, computer applications to sport,
research methods, sport management problems and issues, and risk management.
Field experience, which is included in almost all undergraduate and graduate
programs (Sutton, 1989). This may take the form of a practicum or internship. A
practicum is usually a preinternship, part-time field experience taken while the
student is still pursuing cognate or specialty classes. An internship is taken
when all or a majority of specialty and cognate courses have been completed.
This experience is usually full-time, and the student is expected to provide
meaningful assistance to the intern site. The internship is the quintessential
learning experience for the sport management student (National Association,
CAREER AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
An estimate was made in
1991 that there existed approximately 4.5 million sports jobs at all levels in
the United States. These were in marketing (1.5 million), entrepreneurship (1.15
million), administration (500,000), representation (370,000), media (300,000),
and other sports-related areas (720,000) (Markiewicz, 1991).
Although there is seemingly a wealth of job opportunities in sport, the
competition for these positions has been and will remain severe. And, many of
these positions involve extremely low pay in comparison to the amount of work
expected. Career paths in sport management can include athletic team management,
finance, sports medicine/athletic training, journalism, broadcasting, public
relations, development and fund raising, sports information, facility
management, cardiovascular fitness and wellness administration, aquatics
management, among others.
THE FUTURE OF SPORT MANAGEMENT
Sport is big business today
and will remain so in the future. In fact, sports revenues are approaching the
$70 billion mark in the United States. As a result, there is an ever increasing
need for professionals trained in the managerial, administrative, and business
aspects of sport (Stier, 1993).
References identified with an EJ number (journal
articles) have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database, available at most
Brassie, P. S. (1989, November/December). A student buyer's guide to sport
management programs. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 60(9),
25-28. EJ 404 498
Bridges, F. L., & Roquemore, L. L. (1992). Management for athletic/sport
administration: Theory and practice. Decatur, GA: ESM Books.
Markiewicz, D. A. (1991, July 30). More fans line up for careers in sports.
USA Today, 7-B.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). (1987,
February). Guidelines for undergraduate and graduate programs in sport
management: Membership report. Reston, VA: Author.
North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM)/National Association for
Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) Sport Management Task Force. (1993, March).
Sport management-Directory of professional programs. Reston, VA: NASPE.
Parkhouse, B. L. (1978, May). Professional preparation in athletic
administration and sport management. Journal of Physical Education and
Recreation, 49(5), 22-27. EJ 187 815
Parkhouse, B. L. (1991). The management of sport: Its foundation and
application. St. Louis: Mosby Year Book.
Stier, W. F., Jr. (1986, October). Challenges facing physical education.
Alternative career options. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance,
57(8), 26-27. EJ 343 140
Stier, W. F., Jr. (1993, July 9). Meeting the challenges of managing sport
through marketing, fundraising and promotions. Paper presented at the
International Meeting of the World University Games, Buffalo, NY.
Sutton, W. A. (1989, September). The role of internships in sport management
curricula--A model for development. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation
and Dance, 60(7), 20-24. EJ 401 636