Learning the business of sport

The Sport Management major prepares students for the business of sport, including professional sport, college athletics, recreation and sport-related agencies. Through extensive practical applications, students develop an understanding of community and global service, with an emphasis on leadership and professional skill development.

SPT majors and minors develop the necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in careers related to professional and amateur sport, intercollegiate athletics, event management and programming, facilities and arena management, sport tourism, sport agencies and beyond.

The Sport Management faculty excels beyond their titles as professors. This close knit group has grasped the concept of engaged learning as they continuously educate, mentor, and most importantly support and believe in the success of their students.

Kelsey Harris ’14

Mission Statement

The Sport Management major prepares students for the business of sport, including professional sport, college athletics, recreation and sport-related agencies. The department’s commitment to excellence in teaching, service and scholarly work aligns with the university’s Experiential Learning Requirements (ELR) to develop students for success in the sport management industry.

Comprehensive curriculum

Elon offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management. Elon is one of a few institutions nationwide to effectively combine a curriculum based on a liberal arts foundation with coursework that focuses on building a professional skillset most useful in the sport industry, providing a unique and comprehensive career preparation.

In your classes, you will learn about contemporary issues in the sport management industry and the role of sport in society. Additional courses cover philosophies and the evolution of the sport management industry; the fundamentals of facility planning and maintenance; research methods and analytics; principles of special event programming; and marketing. SPT majors also take classes that examine concepts such as finance, accounting, communication, legal issues and leadership in sport.

Elon students benefit from small classes, close attention from faculty, and experiential learning “beyond the classroom walls” through internships, undergraduate research, academic service learning, special events, and study abroad, as well as numerous other engaged learning opportunities. By the time you graduate, you will have the skills and experience necessary to pursue a wide range of career paths.

Experienced, accessible faculty

Faculty in the Department of Sport Management have years of varied, professional experience, and are dedicated to teaching and seeing students thrive. They are eager to help you find your professional path, or to offer assistance with course work.

Cara Lucia, department chair, has worked in collegiate recreation programs with experience in facility operations, leadership, management, college student development and assessment. She has been an active member of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) since 1998 and has presented at state, regional and national conferences. In 2021, she will begin service as NIRSA’s president. Lucia’s research interests include leadership, college student development theory, recreation participation and life span, and survey development and validation.

David Bockino worked at ESPN for seven years in both the Research and Analytics and International Ad Sales departments, collaborating closely with ESPN offices in Mexico, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. His teaching, writing and research interests include the media business, sports, history and travel. He is the author of the book “The Guidebook Experiment” and the Kindle Single “Greetings from Myanmar.”

Mark Cryan worked for more than 20 years in marketing, sales and management duties in the NHL, minor league baseball, amateur sports, recreation and public relations. He is the author of “Cradle of the Game: Baseball & Ballparks in North Carolina.” Areas of interest and research include physical activity programs for underserved youth and the business of baseball.

Shaina Dabbs served as a Division I softball coach for five years prior to moving into academia. She is a former student-athlete and professional athlete and uses her experiences in college athletics to shape both her pedagogy and research. Dabbs has been a member of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) since 2012 and has presented at numerous international conferences. Her research interests include diversity, work-life balance, and organizational behavior within college athletics.

Young Do Kim has had numerous professional experiences in international sporting events as a game operations manager of the Women’s Korean Basketball League and former hockey player serving the Korean national hockey team and playing in the Canadian junior hockey league. Areas of his research interests include sport fan behavior, community value of sport teams, and sustainability in sport. He is an active member of Sport Marketing Association and U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED Green Associate.

Bill Squadron was an executive, government official and attorney in the sports, media and telecommunications fields for more than three decades. After serving as NYC Telecommunications Commissioner, he co-founded and became CEO of Sportvision, the Emmy-winning company that created the yellow first-down line and the K Zone. Squadron has also headed IMG’s new media division for North America, and from 2009-2014 was president of Bloomberg Sports, which pioneered applications in sports analytics.

Hal Walker has worked in a variety of higher education capacities over the past 25 years with experience as a director of athletics, coach, consultant and administrator. He presents frequently at a variety of regional, national and international conferences, and is actively engaged in research and writing. Walker currently serves on several editorial, review and advisory boards related to the sport management industry.

Tony Weaver has worked as a Division I athletics administrator, college and high school coach, and gained experience in financial organizations before coming to Elon University. These experiences, as well as his work as a college instructor, have strengthened his teaching skills and shaped his research interests. He serves as a member of several regional and national organizations and researches topics related to intercollegiate athletics and high-impact educational practices.

Professional experience early

Elon believes that students learn best by putting their education into action. As an SPT major, you will have plenty of opportunities to do just that.

All SPT students complete a required internship during their academic career, putting the concepts and ideas they learn in the classroom to the test in the field. In order to more closely simulate the job search process, students conduct preliminary research and interview for internship placements and present a proposal to faculty for approval. In many cases, internships give students valuable contacts that lead to employment after graduation. SPT majors have completed internships with organizations including:

  • Boston Celtics
  • NCAA
  • Washington Redskins
  • Boston Bruins
  • Major League Baseball
  • PGA and LPGA Golf Tournaments
  • IMG Athletics
  • Houston Astros
  • Juventus Football Club
  • New York Yankees
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • New York City Park and Recreation Department

Professional contacts

Students in Elon’s SPT program are encouraged to participate in activities, such as case study competitions, and events with state, regional and national professional organizations. Elon is involved with the Society for Baseball Research (SABR); College Sport Research Institute (CSRI); North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM); Sport Marketing Association (SMA); National Intramural and Recreation Sport Association (NIRSA); Sport, Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow (SEVT); and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport Management (AAHPERD-SM); among others.

After graduation

SPT students are well-prepared for a variety of careers and graduate studies. Most students go directly into employment in professional and amateur sport organizations; private and commercial sport, fitness and recreation settings; public parks and recreation departments; sporting goods sales and marketing; resort/hotel management; and various related entrepreneurial and traditional career options. Among the organizations that have recently employed Elon graduates are:

  • Atlanta Braves
  • Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Wyndham Destinations
  • University of Kentucky Athletics
  • YMCA
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Virginia Tech Athletics
  • Washington Nationals
  • Octagon
  • Orlando Magic

SPT graduates have also been accepted into some of the finest graduate programs, including:

  • Columbia University
  • University of North Carolina
  • Boston College
  • Villanova University
  • Marquette University
  • Ohio State University
  • Georgetown University
  • George Washington
  • University University of Southern California
  • University of South Carolina
  • North Carolina State University
  • Ohio University

* Previously the Department of Sport and Event Management (SEM) and the Department of Leisure and Sport Management (LSM)