Sport and recreation management is one of the many programs offered at NSU, yet many students don’t know what exactly it is, while others portray an inaccurate picture of the program. However, one doesn’t have to be an athlete to be a sport and recreation management major.
Adjunct professor of sport and recreation management, Nancy Olson, began teaching at NSU in 2001. She was the executive director of the Florida Marlins and, before that, she was the athletic director of Florida International University.
Olson defines sports management as the study of how to accomplish the goals related to the administration of athletic programs.
“The field is very broad and covers amateur, including recreational, high school and collegiate programs, as well as professional sports,” she said. “Almost any discipline in the area of business can be applied to sport management. It includes marketing, sales, sponsorships, media relations, community affairs, finance, game operations, broadcasting and medical services.”
Peter Finley, Ph.D., associate professor of sport and recreation management, warns students who only join the program to become sports agents that this is not what the program is about.
“Some students think we are a pipeline to being a sports agent. Our major would be a reasonable choice for a student who plans to go to law school and pursue that career, but we spend almost no time prepping them for it. In fact, I prefer that students consider many career choices before they set their sights on being an agent. There are literally thousands of registered agents and most will never represent a professional athlete.”
Finley’s favorite class to teach is public relations in sport, in which students create their own “firms” and compete against each other.
“It’s fun to watch them interact and create products they are proud of,” he said.
Olson said there’s a lot of work that goes into making a sports program successful. Therefore, many career opportunities await a student with a degree in sport and recreation management.
“Almost anything which interests you can be done in the area of sport management,” she said. “Let’s say that you like helping the community and have an interest in non-profits. Almost every professional and college organization has a community relations department, and many of them have their own non-profits. Or, let’s say that you like social media. Most sport organizations have someone who is in charge of Facebook and Twitter. The possibilities are limitless.”
Jeffrey Fountain, Ph.D., associate professor of sport and recreation management, said teams and organizations are looking to hire hardworking individuals who are willing to work behind the scenes.
Finley said he would like to see more students pursue graduate assistantships, jobs in campus recreation, intramurals and club sport organizations. For students wanting to explore sport and recreation management, Finley recommends taking the Introduction to Sport Management course.