Headline Sports Business

Response To: Is a Sports(s) Management Degree worth it?

Wade Senti’s controversial post, Is a Sport(s) Management Degree worth it?, sparked up quite a conversation on the blog, and also filled up our email boxes with follow-up questions from readers. One reader even decided to write a response to Wade’s article, which is published below. He asked to remain anonymous, so no byline on this write-up. Enjoy.

While I certainly agree with you that the “sports industry” is merely another form of business, and that a reputable business curriculum is extremely beneficial to any aspiring sports professional, I could not disagree more with several of your opinions and beliefs. Mainly, you suggest that a sports management (SMT) student is not capable of being “well-rounded” or as “well-rounded” as a business major; therefore, they are less prepared for the sports industry and less attractive to employers.

Studying marketing, finance, advertising, P.R, economics, communications, etc. within a business program is a definite plus and relatable to almost all industries…However, one does not need to read the Wall Street Journal to realize that the job market as a whole has been lackluster since 2008. While recent reports from the NY Times suggest that the job market for traditional business majors is back on the rise, general optimism regarding the state of the economy, as well as job opportunities, have yet to re-surface. The sports industry is taking a hit in this down economy, as is every other industry- so avoiding an SMT curriculum due to the current nature of our economy is not a sensible solution. Perhaps it would be beneficial to suggest those students work harder, network more aggressively, and make every effort to stand out from the rest of the SMT pack. They could look at Upskilling with Upskilled to make sure they are doing the absolute best for themselves in furthering their education and their job prospects.

Are you actually suggesting that a business degree will better suit one to find work in sports, more-so than a sport management degree? How about the decreasing value of a college degree in general? I personally know of a dozen MBA’s without jobs right now – how can recent undergraduate business students compete with them in the job market? In this era, a college degree gets you nothing by itself – not a foot in the door, not an interview…NADA, although what it does give you is the knowledge of past experiences of business ventures, the successes and failures and the ability to learn about business innovation. To land your dream job, get some relevant work experience any way you can, and by all means network as much as possible!

I think we can both agree that one must be able to market himself effectively to make any progress, but advising others to choose not to study what they are most passionate about because of the current economic climate, is a terrible disservice to those eager to grab hold of their dreams. Who are you, I, or anyone, to tell a bright eyed young student that their ambitions are simply not economical? Have we really become that jaded?

I pride myself on being a realist – and anyone with any degree can “make it” Claiming a sport management degree is “useless” holds zero merit since it is a completely biased and loosely founded statement, and moreover, what matters most is the determination of a particular student, along with experience, talent, willingness, and creativity they bring to the table.

Halfway through college I decided to switch completely to the sports management program, while still pursuing a business minor, which has helped me immensely, so again I think a business degree is solid…However there is a lot more to be said about someone’s work experiences, relationships, networking, and talent rather than his degree. I must admit that while I was interning with a pro football team, college football team, and major sport management agency, I was more often than not the lone sports management major. I have a feeling this trend will change over time, as SMT programs are still relatively new. Everyone that works in this industry understands the sacrifices needed to land and keep a job in sports. There is a learning curve with every new venture, a degree does not define or limit what you are capable of.

I would tell those looking to major in sports management, that an internship or two within and outside of the industry will be most beneficial for you to land a job INSIDE or OUTSIDE of the industry. General business experience can showcase a sports management major’s depth and versatility. Certain talented individuals will always branch out and excel at anything they wish. While some students may be more qualified than others for certain positions, there is not one degree that will “get” you a job.

Never sell yourself short. If you can convince the right person that you are willing and eager to successfully contribute to their organization you will not have any problems, regardless of your college degree. As you enter the working world there will be a lot less emphasis placed on your major and a lot more placed on your work experience. I’m sure we both know those who majored in completely different subjects than those areas in which they work now.

Everyone (including myself) will tell you to NETWORK a thousand times, and there are a multitude of resources out there to assist you with this. “Networking”, however, is a term that should be, if it isn’t already, synonymous with “sports management,” and I think it is quite ironic that as a result of the economy, droves of students and recent graduates are coming to realize the importance of personal relationships and connections. Thanks to my SMT program and my industry experience, I am well aware of this. I will not, however, depend on my degree to find me a job.

Whatever your curriculum – business, sports management, phys-ed, it doesn’t matter. You should never let your major/degree prevent you from following your heart and pursuing your dreams. If you can sell yourself and yield tangible results, you will always be in demand.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

7 replies on “Response To: Is a Sports(s) Management Degree worth it?”

I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You might be the only person on earth who would refer to Career Sports as a “major sport management agency” .

I agree with Principle. I’ll add that a degree with Accounting I, II and Corporate Finance, plus marketing are key.

I am not sure why someone would choose sports management in school, but as someone with an engineering degree and who owns a community based sports agency, I think that a degree in Sports Management is the coolest degree ever. Make it work. Learn business and sales and you can do anything, especially in sports. Learn how to sell sponsorships. It’s fun when you don’t think of it as sales.

So what do you say to those who have a degree form an accredited SPTE program and are still struggling for work? I don’t even know where to start looking outside of sports because I realized that it’s nearly impossible to break into a sports business without previously interning with that company. I’m feeling really depressed about choosing this major as everyone around me is getting work with more common degrees. It’s almost like when someone asks me what I majored in and I tell them sport and entertainment management they think I’m some kind of joke.

The person that this article originated from was very helpful and I agree with what they say. They really gave more insight on this whole major as a whole and the ins and outs of the sports industry. But I myself is torn between finishing out my sports management major or get a business management major. So this helped and I liked it.

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