Athletic Administration Degrees

Campbellsville University Online BS in Sport Management: Sport Administration Track
Campbellsville University (Online)
100% online, 8 week courses. Specific track in Sport Administration.
✓ Currently taking 2023 applications
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Athletic Administration, Sport Administration, and Sport Management are often terms (especially as it relates to degree program titles) that are used interchangeably. It's particularly important, then, to analyze the course curriculum for programs of interest, especially if you go in with a clear idea or understanding of the type of work you want to do after completing your degree.

Sport Management degree programs often stick closely to the corporate business of sports: marketing, promotions, fundraising, facility management, and ticketing. Sport or Athletic Administration will deal more closely with the development of the athletes within that business or organization.

Coaches, recruiters, scouters, team managers all fall under the athletic administration umbrella. Many programs, though, will offer courses across the full spectrum of sports operations and the behind-the-scenes workings of them.

School Level Program
Campbellsville University
Masters Online BS in Sport Management: Sport Administration Track
100% online, 8 week courses. Specific track in Sport Administration.
Ohio University
Masters Online Master's in Athletic Administration
GRE/GMAT not required. 20 month program. COSMA Accredited.
Winthrop University
Master Online Master of Science in Sport & Fitness Administration
100% online, no test scores required for admission.
Concordia University - Saint Paul
Masters MS in Coaching & Athletic Administration
Courses in coaching theory and practice, scouting, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and more.
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COSMA or NASSM Accreditation for Athletic Administration Degrees

Because Athletic Administration and Sport Management are so closely tied, there are several COSMA accredited universities with Athletic Administration, or something very similar, with online options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Other accrediting bodies of these programs include the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools, the Commission on Colleges, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs.

5 Top Accredited Bachelors Programs in Athletic Administration

#1 University of Florida - Online B.S. in Sport Management

Offered as part of their College of Health and Human Performance, courses at UF are taught by the exact same faculty who teach the traditional on-campus program. At just $130 per credit hour, this degree program is one of the most affordable on the market. A unique aspect of this program is a requirement to complete a full-time internship during the final semester of study. This internship experience allows students work experience to help them transition from the classroom to their ideal field of work. Courses include Sport Finance, Facility Design & Management, and Sport Sponsorship.


#2 University of Minnesota Crookston - Online B.S. in Sport and Recreation Management

Operating on a semester schedule, but requiring summer classes, this program requires 59 hours of major-specific coursework. This is a very employment-forward curriculum, designed for learning and responsive teaching, driven by technology, and focused on communication and human relations aspects of the business of sport. Courses include Sport Marketing & Communication, Psychology of Sport, Sport Law & Governance, and Crisis Communication.


School Level Program
University of Florida
Master Master of Science in Sport Management
Ranked number one. Four specializations. Career coaches. Sport powerhouse.
University of West Alabama
Bachelor Online Bachelor's in Sports Management
Prepare for in-demand careers in sports, fitness and athletics, study key topics in kinesiology, athletic administration, exercise physiology, ethics and more.
University of West Alabama
Master Online Master's in Sports Management
In as little as one year, graduate with expertise in analytics, human resource management and administration and advance as a preferred employee in the sport management field.
Concordia University - Saint Paul
Bachelor Online Bachelor’s in Sport Management
100% online program can help you expand into biomechanics, sport and exercise sociology, and kinesiology.
Methodist University
Bachelor Online Bachelor's in Exercise & Sport Science
Application fee waived. Part-time and full-time options. Courses in nutrition, injuries, strength & conditioning, and health promotion.
Ohio University
Masters Online Master of Sports Administration
21 month program, GRE/GMAT not required. COSMA Accredited.
East Central University
Bachelor Online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
100% online, 80 hour practicum. Learn and study to work in health, well-being, movement, fitness, research, and more.
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#3 Troy University - On Campus or Online B.S. in Sport Management - Hospitality, Sport, & Tourism

Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, this program is particularly interested in providing students with an international perspective on the athletic administration field. Topics in this field at Troy present a more global element than many programs. In addition to general liberal arts requirements, students must also select a minor. Core courses include as Leisure in Society, Analytics in Hospitality, and Event Management. Students must also complete an internship and a seminar during their final year.


#4 McKendree University - Online B.B.A. in Sport Management

Like many similar bachelor degrees, a total of 120 credit hours are required for degree completion, including core course outside the specific Sport Management program. McKendree is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 74th best regional university in the Midwest and the school’s online bachelor’s programs rank #137 out of more than 1,200 similar programs. Courses are offered in 8 week segments and program tuition is estimated at just over $27,000.


#5 Grand Canyon University - On Campus or Online B.S. in Sports and Entertainment Management

Costing $475 per credit hour online or $8,250 per semester on campus, this program adds the element of the entertainment industry to an otherwise standard sport management degree track. There is also a heavy component and emphasis on experience with GCU given that students are required to accumulate 300 hours of paid or unpaid experience in the sports or entertainment industry throughout their time in the program. Experience may be in any aspect of the sports and entertainment industry, subject to the Colangelo College of Business approval. Industry hours can be accumulated through volunteer efforts, internships, part-time work, or full-time employment.


5 Top Accredited Masters Programs in Athletic Administration

#1 Gonzaga University – Online M.A. in Sport & Athletic Administration

Requiring 31 hours at $1,060 per hour, a masters from Gonzaga runs over $38,000. Gonzaga has identified several learning outcomes for students that include the abilities to 1) evaluate and utilize research methods relevant to the field, 2) exemplify how sport is a microcosm of society influenced by sociological factors, and 3) apply ethical and legal decision-making principles. Uniquely, this program includes course curriculum in the areas of team building, Title IX competency, and risk management.


#2 University of Southern Mississippi – Online M.S. in Sport Management

At just over $510 per credit hour, this degree program consists of 33 required credits and is accredited by the SACSCOC. This specific school includes the option for an emphasis in Sport Event Security Management – the first program to do so in the country. Standard courses include Sport Management Practicum, Policy & Governance in Sports, and Trends in Sport.


#3 Southern New Hampshire University – Online M.S. or M.B.A. in Sport Management

Both this program and its concentrations are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and provide 24 hour access to your courses so the degree is completely at your own pace. Affordability is at the forefront of concerns for SNHU too, with tuition rates remaining today at their frozen 2012 rates.


#4 Winthrop University – Online M.S. in Sport & Fitness Administration

This is a degree that combines sport and physical activity studies with a focus on the leadership and management of those activities. Taking 36-credit-hour online, this degree is delivered by industry experts with specialized expertise in coaching, global sports, sport marketing, law, and athletic administration. There are two practicum, or thesis tracks, to choose from once enrolled.

#5 Southeastern Oklahoma State University – Online M.S. in Sports Administration

The most affordable program on this list, SOSU’s only costs $9,000 in total. There are four specializations to choose from: General, Business, Educational Leadership, and Native American Leadership. Also one of the most fast-tracked, working on your degree full-time with SOSU, you can complete this program in as little as 12 months.

7 Typical Courses Found in Athletic Administration Curriculum

Athletic Administration Management

Studies organizational theories and practices within sport industries. Differing leadership styles and theories, organizational development, personnel matters, fiscal responsibility, and legal issues from the perspective of team management are covered.

Sport Ethics

Familiarizes students with the legal and ethical aspects surrounding sport organizations. Topics like tort law, contract law, agency law, constitutional law, implications of Title IX, and ethical theories are covered.

Sport Finance

Emphasis on the analysis of budget techniques and strategies for financial planning and decision-making in the context of sports teams and athletic programs. Emphasis on revenue productions and fundraising relevant to both community and school supported sport programs. Venue and arena financing and raised capital are also often looked at.

Research Methods and Statistics in Athletics

Deals with the statistical techniques and applications of social research and evaluation process using SPSS. Students typically devise individual research proposal by the end of this class consisting of introduction, review of literature, and methodology sections. Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice SPSS, statistical computer software for social science. Students will have a working knowledge of SPSS software as a result of this course.

Athletics in Social Context

Analyzes historical sport and athletic events, the context of sport in different societies, and the social factors influencing the outcomes of those events. Discussions revolve around diversity, economics, politics, media, and religion as well as an investigation of the social impact on sport and athletic environments.

Media Communication & Promotions

Explores the study of policies and practices in managing relations with both external and internal media personnel associated with the sport and athletic industry. Media relations, publicity for both print and broadcast press, marketing strategies, advertising campaign development, sponsorship sales, and marketing ethics are addressed.

Facility Management

Covers theories, policies, principles, and practical applications of facility management and operations, with emphasis on the designing, planning, operating, and maintaining of sports arenas and team facilities. Students develop and utilize a variety of deliverables pertaining to sport event and venue operations such as bids & proposals, facility review evaluation reports, area of expert papers, and real-life case studies.

Top career options to work in athletic administration

Athletic Director

Whether at the middle school, high school, or collegiate level, athletic directors (typically shortened to ADs) oversee all aspects of an athletic program. Hiring coaches, scheduling, budget preparation and allocation, compliance, marketing, contract negotiations, and facility management all fall under the duties of the AD or titles that report to the AD. Being an AD takes an organized person who thrives in a position of leadership, understands several different sports, and enjoys working with coaches and athletes to solve problems and provide opportunities for success.

Marketing Manager

As advisor over a team’s marketing department, a marketing manager is primarily concerned with securing sponsorships and promotions for sports teams and specific events surrounding them for the purpose of revenue generation. They are also responsible for ensuring sponsors’ logos are printed on kits, banners, and posters as promised according to the sponsorship agreement. Researching marketing trends and innovations to be able to use relevant analytics to gauge the success of campaigns is a necessary skills. This is a job that requires an extroverted personality as it involves a lot of relationship building, cold calling, and sales pitching.

Facilities Manager

Sports facility managers oversee facilities like recreation centers, gyms, sports arenas, practice courts, swimming pools, indoor climbing centers, or a combination of multiple of these. Common duties include budget management and preparing financial forms for the owner/operator of the facility, managing staff and inventory, as well as ordering supplies, equipment and scheduling/executing necessary maintenance and repairs. Facilities managers also usually act as a point of contact to ensure visitors to the facilities have a positive experience.

Sport Agent

Sports agents are business managers for athletes. They represent and act on behalf of them in contract negotiations, public relations scheduling and issues, and especially the financial aspects that come along with professional sports and especially successful performance. Agents who work with young athletes beginning their professional careers will also provide career guidance and aid in procuring endorsement deals. There are large organizations that employee agents but this is also a career than can be done independently. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the median salary for an agent is one of the highest on this list at $89,000.

Brand Manager/PR Manager

Sports teams and organizations of all sizes use ever-evolving public relations techniques to stay in touch with their customers and build or enhance their public image and brand. These careers require technical skills in writing press releases & website content, creating graphics portfolios that adhere to brand specifications, and speaking effectively in public. Social media us and online/digital content to promote the activities of a team is also a key component of a successful career in PR.

Conference Commissioner

Working in a similar capacity to an Athletic Director, Conference Commissioners work in tandem with a group of schools that share commonalities (typically grouped by geographic location). Commissioner and Associate Commissioners below them, act as the points of contacts for the schools’ athletic departments. They oversee the conduction of conference championships, host media days by sport, help put forth legislation to the NCAA and different sports’ governing bodies, and a host of other administrative tasks.