SPORTS ADMINISTRATION | Your Time to Shine


From backyard dreams to big stage glory, sports are a business tied to the emotions of millions. 
Sports are a means of participating in physical activity, building character, and learning lifelong lessons. In today’s world, however, that’s not all. Sports are a business. The sports industry must rely on coaches, administrators, marketing and finance professionals, and others to ensure the success and popularity of athletic programs, products, and services. At Baker, sports administration students are immersed in active learning and hands-on cultural experiences that prepare them for and working at all levels of sports.

Our sports administration major provides students with a background in health, sport and human performance, and business. Students complete courses in facility planning, event management, communication studies, sports marketing, and sports law. Students who major in sports administration also earn a minor in business.

HANDS-ON LEARNING

Students apply what they learn in the classroom to on-site experience working at events like the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the Mountain West men’s basketball tournament.

CAREER PREPARATION

In their last semester, sports administration majors take on a full-semester clinical experience to apply classroom lessons in a practical sports setting.

COMPREHENSIVE CURRICULUM

Students become well versed in communications, event management, marketing, sports law, and other areas to prepare for successful careers in an exciting, competitive field.

WELCOME TO THE BIG SHOW

Internships with the NFL, NBA, and baseball teams in various leagues are common for Baker students, and grads have turned them into careers with the NFL, Daytona Speedway, and other premier organizations.


TAYLOR | Sports Administration Major, Class of 2016

“This degree allowed me to follow a career path that I am passionate about in working in sports. I am now pursuing a degree from Marquette University Law School specializing in sports law. I am hoping to work for a professional sports organization after school, and these two degrees are essential for doing that.

My favorite part of the sports administration program is that it is focused on applying the concepts we learn from the text or lectures to real-life situations that are faced in the field. Current events are often used as a platform for discussion and application of principles. The program is more than just homework and tests—it allows students to think through and come up with ideas or solutions to real issues currently happening in sports.”

ALEX | Sports Administration Major, Class of 2017

Alex worked at a major college basketball tournament in Las Vegas, but that’s not the farthest that his sports administration major took him. For a summer internship, Alex spent three months managing lifeguards at a pool on the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.


CAREERS

Our students graduate with a sports administration major and a business minor, ready to hit the ground running in these organizations:

  • Professional sports teams
  • College athletic programs
  • Sports broadcasting agencies
  • Recreation agencies

%

of graduates are employed full time or enrolled in graduate school within six months of receiving their diploma.

CONCENTRATION IN COACHING

Mike McCarthy, the Super Bowl-winning coach of the Green Bay Packers, graduated from Baker in 1987. As a Wildcat he developed his skills as a team leader and realized he wanted to continue leading players, taking these skills to the highest level. Sports administration students who pursue a concentration in coaching learn the Xs and Os of motivation, player development, and how to excel as a leader in the locker room and in the classroom.

Course Descriptions

R: course can be repeated for credit; P/NC: course graded on a pass/no credit basis

Courses required for these programs are listed in the current catalog.

SA 141 – Introduction to Sports Administration

Fall semester
This course provides an introduction to the sports management profession and related career opportunities in amateur athletics, professional sports teams and leagues, facilities and event management, sport merchandising, and the health and fitness industry. Students will be introduced to management, marketing, finance, and legal principles relevant to the profession as well as current industry trends. (3 credit hours)

SA 285 – Sports Marketing

Spring semester
This course examines the business of the sports industries, focusing on the theoretical and applied foundations of sports marketing, sports advertising, and public relations. Students will gain practical experience producing marketing plans and analyzing case studies relevant to marketing strategy. Topics will include discussion and analysis of trends in marketing, including the role of branding and social media. Prerequisites: BS 141. (3 credit hours)

SA 325 – Sponsorship and Revenue in Sport

Spring semester
Sponsorship and Revenue in Sport provide an in-depth approach to generating revenue for sport organizations, including the use of strategic partnerships with sponsors and media outlets as well as implementation of fundraising initiatives, special events, and sales tactics. Topics include strategies for securing sponsorships, sponsorship activation, and managing sponsor relations. Fundraising campaigns, donor relations, and customer relations will also be discussed. Prerequisite: SA 141. (3 credit hours)

SA 335 – Facility and Event Management

Spring semester
The purpose of this course is to study current developments and trends in design, construction, finances, and management of new and renovated sport and recreational facilities. Principles and theory of effective facility and event management will be taught through lecture, facility tours, and practical experience as students will have opportunities to apply their skills by assisting in the management of sporting events. Prerequisites: SA 141 and junior status. (3 credit hours)

SA 340 – Sports Leadership

Every semester
This course will explore leadership skills required of a professional in sports administration. Students will explore and analyze leadership theory and practice from a variety of perspectives. Topics include thorough discussion of leadership principles, as well as skills, attributes, and styles of leadership. Interviews with leaders in the field and case studies will be utilized to lend clarity to best practices related to leadership. Prerequisites: Junior status. (3 credit hours)

SA 348 – Sports Psychology

Spring semester biennially, in even years
The psychological dimensions of improving athletic performance of individuals and groups are studied. Students examine psychological principles and techniques as they apply to coaching and competition. Prerequisites: SA 141 and PY 111. (3 credit hours)

SA 351 – The Law of Sports

Spring semester
This course examines the legal environment in which professional sports and amateur athletics operate, focusing on the areas of contract law, labor law, antitrust law, intellectual property law, and constitutional law. Course topics include the legal history of the sports industries, the legal structure of professional sports, the basic agreements controlling sports, the functions of the sports agent, the operation of sports labor unions, management issues in professional sports, and the legal aspects of amateur athletics. Prerequisites: Junior status. (3 credit hours)

SA 388 – Sports Management

Fall semester
This course provides an understanding of administrative philosophies and organizational procedures related to sports management. Students will analyze challenges stemming from organizational issues, environmental conditions, and the dynamics of workforce. Issues related to the basic management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and evaluating (controlling) will be highlighted. The goal of the course is to strengthen students’ managerial potential by helping them develop the skill set needed to analyze, diagnose, and respond to both fundamental and complex problems found in sport organizations. It also provides opportunities for students to enhance their managerial, communication, and interpersonal skills. Prerequisites: Junior status. (3 credit hours)

SA 390 – Sports Administration Internship

Every semester
This course involves completing at least 120 clock hours and at least eight weeks in a professional work setting where the student has the opportunity to observe and participate in an organization’s activities. The student’s work experience will be under the supervision of a faculty sponsor and will be designed to provide a practical experience in the field of sports administration. Credit earned in this course will count toward the maximum of 12 credit hours of internship credit a student may earn during their undergraduate experience at Baker. Prerequisites: SA 141 and permission of the instructor. R; P/NC (1-3 credit hours)

SA 420 – Theory and Principles of Coaching

Spring semester
This course is a comprehensive, sport-neutral study of the methods and techniques of coaching. The course combines sport science theory and research with the practical knowledge and methods of expert coaches in various aspects of coaching education and professional practice. After successful completion of the course, students will be listed in the National Registry of Coaches which will certify non-Teacher Education students to coach in the public school system. Prerequisite: Six credit hours of exercise science or sports administration credit, excluding activity courses or varsity athletics. (3 credit hours)

SA 496 – Senior Seminar in Sports Administration

Fall semester
This course has been designed to provide the student with an in-depth seminar relating to careers and professionalism in the field of sports administration. It includes a discussion of current research and issues in this field, interdisciplinary interactions, and career opportunities. Students will prepare a portfolio of materials and current practices relating to professions in this field as well as a projection of the future directions expected. Prerequisite: Senior status in the program or permission of the instructor. (3 credit hours)

Scholarships

The Department of Behavioral and Health Sciences gives these awards with financial prizes to be applied to the following year’s tuition:

  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Psychology
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Exercise Science
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Health and Physical Education
  • Benjamin A. Gessner Award
  • Thomas G. Manson and Frances B. Manson Scholarship
  • Robert L. Miller Scholarship

FACULTY

Ron Christian

Ron Christian

Assistant Professor of Sports Administration | ronald.christian@bakerU.edu
A lot of people know sports, but few know them as well as Ron Christian. The ins and outs of a triangle offense in basketball, why a receiver will be open 20 yards downfield in football—everything. But he also knows the business side of sports and what it takes to create a successful career there. His knowledge and connections help sustain Baker’s top-tier sports curriculum.  “We have such a wide range of organizations we can tap into for guest speakers, including those from the Royals, Chiefs, and NAIA headquarters.”

B.G.S. University of Nebraska at Omaha, M.S. University of Northern Colorado, Ph.D. (in progress) University of Kansas
Expertise: intercollegiate athletics, sport marketing, media relations, event management
Office: Mabee Hall 307 | 785.594.8467

Lynsey PayneLynsey Payne

Athletic Trainer, Head Dance Coach, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science | lynsey,payne@bakerU.edu
Lynsey Payne works with over 400 student-athletes in 21 sports each year. To say that she’s an expert on the human body and how to care for it during rigorous training would be an understatement. Payne is a licensed athletic trainer through the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, a certified athletic trainer through the Board of Certification, a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Mid-America Athletic Trainers’ Association, and the Kansas Athletic Trainers’ Society. Students have a lot to learn, and Payne has a lot she can teach them.

B.S., M.S. University of Kansas
Office: Mabee Hall 106 | 785.594.8499

Judy SmrhaDr. Judy Smrha

Professor of Business & Economics | judy.smrha@bakerU.edu

B.A. Mills College; M.A., Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University
Expertise: applied microeconomics, statistics, sports economics
Office: Mabee 303 | 785.594.8337

CONTACT US

Jill Franklin
Department Assistant
Business & Economics
Office: Mabee Hall
785.594.8470
jill.franklin@bakeru.edu