What is the Jayhawk Advantage?
A History of Athletic Excellence
KU sports history is storied and speaks for itself, but we’ll take this opportunity to wax poetic about it anyway. As a sporting powerhouse, our halls have been graced by some of the most competitive and driven individuals in athletics. We are the home of legends such as Wilt Chamberlain, Gale Sayers and Billy Mills. Our university’s first basketball coach, James Naismith, literally invented the game. For these reasons, and many more, the Jayhawk brand is globally recognized and synonymous with athletic excellence and achievement.
But what does this mean for our online master’s in sport management* students? Professor Brian Gordon sits down with us to talk about what sets KU’s program apart and how it elevates students’ experiences.
Gain a Helping Hand
The work ethic and success that is associated with KU sports isn’t limited to athletes, our sport management alumni have risen through the ranks with some of the biggest brands in the business. Our network spans the country, giving you connections and a friendly helping hand nearly everywhere you go, which Professor Gordon sees as one of the program’s biggest assets. “You are joining a network of Jayhawk alumni in the sports industry. Our program does a phenomenal job of connecting our current students with alumni who are working in a variety of different positions and sectors of the sports industry,” he said.
When you join our online master’s in sport management program, you join a global network that includes MLB writers, ESPN statistics analysts, professional athletes and more, all of whom are willing to assist and support their fellow Jayhawks in their professional journey. Professor Gordon feels that this specific Jayhawk advantage is what makes our program stand out, “Specifically, we have started a mentoring program where every incoming student will be paired with an alumni mentor. This is an absolute game-changer for students who are looking to break into or move into a different sector of the sports industry. This business is all about relationships and our program is at the forefront of connecting students with industry leaders.”
Being a Jayhawk means being a part of a history and community that is bigger than all of us, and according to Professor Gordon, “The power of the Jayhawk brand is evident by the strength and vastness of our alumni network, but also the brand equity that comes with earning a degree from an institution like the University of Kansas.”
Take a Practical Approach
Our program aims to train our students to navigate contemporary issues in the sporting world and thrive within complex and varied organizations. To do that well, we created Jayhawkville, a dynamic virtual learning environment that according to Professor Gordon, “Provides a context for students to practically apply their knowledge to a virtual community.” He sees this as the second source of competitive advantage for our students. Students have the opportunity to work through modern issues, tackle relevant projects, and “see” sporting aspects of cities and communities through new lenses.
Jayhawkville prepares students for success with an interactive virtual city that replicates real-world scenarios that may occur at golf clubs, community centers, media outlets, private colleges, universities, tennis clubs and other settings. These points of interest throughout Jayhawkville serve as launch points for a variety of simulated case study scenarios that will help students develop the skills to become a successful and well-rounded sport management professional.
Professor Gordan explained that “Part of their preparation comes through the courses they take, the content they learn, and practical applications of that knowledge through course projects. Also, an important aspect is supporting their own professional development through facilitating practical experiences, reviewing their professional materials, and connecting them with other industry practitioners who can help broaden their network and facilitate their transition into the industry.”
Learn from the Best
Our master’s in sport management program aims to fully develop students’ networking, ethics, finance, fundraising and communication skills. Professor Gordon says that “The current landscape of the sport industry is quite daunting for students who are looking to break into the industry. It is extremely competitive and fast moving. Our students are not only competing with other Sport Management students but also students in other majors such as business and communications. Therefore, the way that students can gain a competitive advantage is through practical experience and networking.”
To accomplish this and allow students to directly apply coursework to their current career, we bring our distinguished athletic history to our online curriculum. It features projects that require students to submit a successful event bid to host a major tournament, decide whether to sell the naming rights to an athletic facility as well as weigh the pros and cons of allowing children to play contact sports. All of these projects force students to consider every factor in the decision-making process including demographics, location, available resources, funding and local infrastructure, among many others.
Our faculty have extensive experience in the sports industry, and they bring their own practical perspective to their classrooms, which in turn helps students shape their own perspectives and decision-making methods. Professor Gordon says that his background in athletic fundraising and event management allows him to “take those experiences into the classroom to foster an environment of active learning and take a ‘hands-on’ approach to teaching sport management classes and preparing the next generation of future leaders.”
He particularly focuses on research and strives to show his students the importance of proper research and how it could apply to their future in sports. When submitting a bid to host a major tournament, organizers must research things like transportation, accommodation, stadium availability, emergency health services, staffing, media coverage and more. If a sport management professional is considering selling the naming rights to a stadium, they’ll need to research things like financial gain or loss, the existing culture of the community, local demographics, target market reaction and the effect selling may have on the potential to host a major tournament. Our faculty ensures that students graduate with the skills and knowledge to cover all their bases.
Seize the Jayhawk Advantage
When you earn an online master’s in sport management from KU, you gain a name on your resume that is globally recognized and synonymous with a legacy of athletic dominance. Join the Jayhawk family and gain a competitive edge that empowers you to apply new skills in your current role and gives you the connections to open doors in nearly any field. To learn more about our online master’s in sport management program, schedule a call with an Admissions Advisor or explore our site.
*This program is a Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) degree in health, sport management, and exercise science with an emphasis in sport management.