There has been explosive growth in sports-focused curriculum at Universities across the country over the last 30 years. Many schools now offer Sports Management degrees for undergraduates and there has also been an increase in graduate degrees focused on the sports industry. Arizona State recently launched a Sports Law and Business program that will integrate law and business in sports to create well-rounded graduates.
The program was spearheaded by Professor Rod Smith who serves as the Director of the Sports Law & Business program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State. The W.P. Carey School of Business and Sun Devil Athletics are partners in delivering a law and business curriculum. Smith said the program educates students on “the three R’s: Regulation, Revenue, and Reputation.” He added, that he believes, “law students need to learn business principles and business students need to learn regulatory or legal principles to be able to solve problems in the sports industry of the 21st century.”
The program offers 4 degrees (M.S., MBA, J.D., LLM) with the bulk of students in the M.S. track. Smith said the program is unique because “you can take a course in the morning at the athletic department, afternoon in the business school, and evening in the law school. We are unique in how closely we meld legal and business principles in a problem-based curriculum. We try to keep all courses to 25 students or less.”
Smith also said they will bring in prominent sports business/law professionals as well as mid-level employees to speak to the class. “We like bringing in mid-level employees because they are often the ones who will be hiring our students. We also with sports business professionals to come up with problems for the students in the program,” said Smith.