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Many times, a professional in the sports industry may start their career without a degree, but to really get ahead, a bachelor’s may become a necessity. Working adults who are planning to obtain a degree in sports management may find it useful to consider an online program. When it comes to online sports management programs, you have a few advantages that set it apart and allow you to reach your goals.

A sports management degree online allows you to work around your personal obligations, schedule, and plans. You are able to keep up with your loved ones, a career or job, and your personal interests because you have a flexible schedule for your studies. The flexibility allows you to focus on your personal goals and work at your own pace to complete course materials. Keep in mind, though, that you want to ensure that any degree program that you are considering for sports management, including an online program, is accredited by a reputable third party and meets the standards of the accrediting body.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Sports Management Degrees

For the Great Business Schools ranking of the best online sports management bachelor’s programs, editors start with online and hybrid programs from accredited, legitimate institutions. From there, editors rank programs according to student satisfaction, salary potential, and cost, for an overall value. 

1. University of Iowa

u iowa

The University of Iowa offers a BS in Sports and Recreation’s Management that is considered among the best online sports management degrees in Iowa and beyond. In addition to online coursework, the University of Iowa mandates degree candidates complete a guided field experience in a sports management internship. Previous internships include John Deer Classic PGA Tournament, Chicago Blackhawks, the San Diego Padres, and the Iowa Speedway, to name a few.

The University of Iowa was established as a space-grant school in 1847. The University of Iowa holds the distinction of being the oldest institution of higher education in Iowa’s state. UI’s urban campus in Iowa City is home to more than 32,500 students. 

Highlight: The University of Iowa’s alumni network exceeds one-quarter of a million graduates. 

Degree: Sports and Recreation’s Management, BS 

2. Concordia University St Paul

concordia st paul

Concordia University St Paul offers a BA in Sport Management that prepares graduates for careers as coaches, sports marketers, athletic directors, or community relations specialists, to name a few. Concordia University St Paul’s best online sports management degrees include 45 semester hours of major core coursework like sports management, law, and sport, sports business, exercise physiology, plus an eight-credit advanced placement internship. Undergraduate Alumni ranks CSP’s graduates among the highest paid salaries in Minnesota.

Concordia University St Paul was founded in 1893. The university’s urban campus in St. Paul serves more than 5,00 students. 

Highlight: The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod – which is the 2nd largest Lutheran operating body in the country – operates the Concordia University System, of which Concordia University St. Paul is a member school.

Degree: Sport Management B.A.

3. University of Louisville

u louisville

The University of Louisville offers a BS in Sports Administration that requires the completion of 123 semester credits to meet program requirements. U of L’s best online sports management degrees have received accreditation from COSMA and recognized among the best by US News and World Report. Classes offered by U of L’s undergraduate online sports management program includes principles of sport administration, ethics in sports, sports leadership, sports governance, sports finance, plus an internship in sports administration, to name a few. 

The University of Louisville was founded as a seminary in 1798. U of L is a member institution of the Kentucky State University System. The university operates several campuses that serve more than 21,100 students. 

Highlight: The medical school at the University of Louisville is home to the country’s first hand-transplant surgery.

Degree: Sport Administration, BS

4. Grand Canyon University

grand canyon u

Grand Canyon University Colangelo College of Business offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Sport Management that is considered one of the best online sports management degrees. Students graduating from Grand Canyon University’s undergraduate sports management program find rewarding careers in sports marketing, sports merchandising, athletic administration, or event planning, to name a few. Degree candidates must complete 120 semester credits to meet GCU’s program requirements. Core coursework for GCU’s undergraduate degree includes organizational behavior, sports event planning, business statistics, sports ethics, business finance, plus strategic management, among others.

Grand Canyon University was founded as a Baptist college in 1949 but now operates as a for-profit non-denominational Christian institution of higher learning. The university’s urban campus in Phoenix serves more than 20,000 students, with another 80,000+ students studying for academic degrees online. 

Highlight: Grand Canyon University was initially established in Prescott, Az.

Degree: Sports Management, BS

5. McKendree University

mckendree u

McKendree University offers a BBA in Sport Management that is recognized among the best online sports management degrees in the Midwest. McKendree University’s degree candidates can complete the undergraduate program entirely online and then enter the workforce as fitness center managers, facility managers, event planners, community organizers, to name a few. Classes include sports marketing, health psychology, sports management legal aspects, sports budgeting, and event management, to name a few. Classes are offered in 8-week formats. Many students opt to accelerate their degree by taking more than one class each eight-week format.

McKendree University was founded as a seminary in 1828. McK’s suburban campus in Lebanon is home to nearly 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students who follow the United Methodist Church traditions.  

Highlight: When first opened as a seminary, McKendree University is considered the oldest institution of higher education in Illinois.

Degree: Sport Management, BBA

6. Wilmington University

wilmington u

Wilmington University offers a BS in Sports Management that is ranked as one of the best online sports management degrees available by Best Online Bachelors and TheBestSchools.org. The curriculum for Wilmington’s undergraduate sports management degree includes sociology of sports, media relations, sports marketing, ethical issues in sports, facilities management, plus two sports management advanced placement internships. Wilmington students’ previous internships include the many professional basketball, football, and baseball teams located within the general vicinity of Wilmington University. The program has received accreditation from the IACBE.

Wilmington University was founded in 1968. The university operates a main campus in New Castle, plus fourteen academic centers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Wilmington University’s suburban campus is home to more than 20,000 students. 

Highlight: US News recognizes Wilmington University among the top regional schools.

Degree: Sports Management, BS

7. Shorter University

shorter u

Shorter University’s Ledbetter  College of Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a concentration Sport Management that is accredited by the Commission on Sports Management Accreditation. Shorter University’s best online sports management degrees require students to complete 123 semester credits to meet program requirements. Classes include legal aspects of the sport, sports ethics, even management, sports finance, sports psychology, and coaching, plus an internship in sports management. For Shorter University’s degree, internships include the Atlanta Hawks, Rome Braves, FedEx Forum, and the Memphis Grizzlies, to name a few. 

Shorter University was founded as a Cherokee Baptist Female College in 1873. Shorter University is a private institution of higher learning with a student enrollment that exceeds 1,700 students. The majority of incoming students hail from within the state of Georgia. 

Highlight: Shorter University became a coeducation institute of higher education in the mid-1950s.

Degree: Sport Management, BBA

8. Liberty University

liberty university

Liberty University School of Business: Sport, Event, and Tourism Management offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Sports Management that is considered among the best online sports management degrees. LU’s undergraduate degree in sports management has received an accredited residential degree from COSMA. Students who are graduating from Liberty University’s enter the workforce in event management, advertising for sports memorabilia, facility management, or athletic administration, to name a few. Liberty University’s program requires the completion of 120 semester credits to meet the program’s requirements.

Liberty University was founded as a Baptist college in 1971. The university’s campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, serves about 15,000 students, with an additional 90,000+ students studying online. Students must align themselves with the school’s honor code. 

Highlight: LU holds the distinction of being one of the biggest evangelical institutions of higher learning across the globe.

Degree: Sports Management, BS

9. University of Northwestern Ohio

u northwestern ohio unoh

The University of Northwestern Ohio offers a BS in Sports Marketing and Management that can be completed entirely online. UNOH’s best online sports management degrees include classes in sports law, sports psychology, sports in society, fitness concepts, event management, US sports history, sports marketing, plus two advanced field placement internships and a capstone project to meet program requirements.

The University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) was founded in 1920. UNOH’s campus in Lima is home to more than 4,400 students hailing from more than 60 different countries. The University of Northwestern Ohio holds the distinction of being the first college in Lima and the first college in Ohio to offer an automotive diesel program. 

Highlight: The University of Northwestern Ohio operates as an open admissions institution of higher learning.

Degree: Sports Marketing and Management, BS

10. Thomas College

thomas college

Thomas College offers a BS in Sports Marketing and Management that has been considered by US News and World Report among the best online sports management degrees. Students enrolled in Thomas College’s undergraduate degree in sports management must complete 121 semester credits, including an internship to meet the program’s requirements. In Thomas College’s degree program, classes include sports facility management, sports finance, ethics in sports management, public relations, and athletic administration, to name a few.

Thomas College was founded as a private institution of higher education and business school in 1894. Initially, the school trained secretaries and accountants on its residential campus. The college’s campus in Waterville, Maine, is home to more than 1,200 students studying on the school’s rural campus. 

Highlight: The campus of Thomas College is situated along the shores of the Kennebec River.

Degree: Sports Management, BS

11. Johnson & Wales University

johnson wales u

Johnson & Wales University offers a BS in Sports, Entertainment, Event (SEEM) Management program that is ranked among the best online sports management degrees by US News and World Report. Students enrolled in Johnson & Wales University’s undergraduate degree program in sports management can opt from several concentrations – Sports Management, Event Production, International Exhibitions & Events, tournament management, Weddings and Ceremonies, Athletic Coaching, and Athletic coaching, to name a few.

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) was established as a business institute of higher learning in 1914. By two women Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales. Johnson & Wales University operates campuses in several states, Providence, Charlotte, North Miami, and Denver. The school’s campuses serve nearly 13,000 students. 

Highlight: Johnson & Wales University is world-renowned for its culinary academic degree programs. 

Degree: Sports, Entertainment, Event Management, BS 

12. Davenport University

davenport u

Davenport University offers a BBA in Sport Management that has been accredited by COSMA – one of only two institutions of higher education in Michigan to be awarded this certification. Davenport University’s best online sports management degrees offer internships with the Detroit Lions, Red Wings, and Vikings, plus the West Michigan Sports Commission and Michigan Whitecaps. Classes include a senior capstone project plus sports analytics, sports governance, sports planning, human resource management, sports communications, and promotions.

Davenport University was founded in 1866 by a Union army veteran who returned to his home state of Michigan. This private institution of higher education’s suburban campus covers more than 60 acres and serves more than 7,100 students. 

Highlight: Davenport University operates several academic centers throughout Michigan, in Holland, Lansing, Warren, and Midland, plus partnerships with several state community colleges.

Degree: Sport Management, BBA

13. Southern New Hampshire University

southern new hampshire snhu

Southern New Hampshire University offers a BS in Sports Management that can be completed entirely online. Southern New Hampshire University’s best online sports management degrees have received accreditation from the ACBSP. Students transferring to SNHU’s undergraduate degree in sports management allow for up to 90 eligible credits of the required 120 semester credits. Students have the opportunity to join the university’s accelerated bachelors to masters academic track. Students graduate to find rewarding careers as facilities managers, media relations specialists, special events coordinators, tournament directors, or athletic directors, to name a few.

Southern New Hampshire University was established in 1932 as a secretarial school. SNHU follows an open enrollment protocol and serves more than 90,000 students on-campus and online. 

Highlight: The university is recognized among the fastest-growing institutions of higher education due to its successful distance learning platform.

Degree: Sports Management, BS

14. Midway University

midway u

Midway University offers a Bachelor’s in Sports Management that is available entirely online. Midway University’s best online sports management degrees require the completion of 120 semester credits, plus an internship to meet the program’s requirements. BestColleges.org considered Midway’s undergraduate sports management program among the top ten online sports management programs at the bachelor’s level. Students graduate to find rewarding careers as an athletic agent, an event manager, a fitness manager, an athletic coach, or a sports information director. The student to faculty ratio for classes at Midway University is 16 to 1.

Midway University (MU) was founded in 1847 as a women’s school. Midway University maintains an affiliation with the Disciples of Christ. The university’s rural campus serves more than 1,700 students on the school’s 200+ acre farm. 

Highlight: Until 2016, Midway University held the distinction of being the only college in Kentucky dedicated to women.

Degree: Bachelor’s in Sports Management

15. Toccoa Falls College

toccoa falls

Toccoa Falls College offers a Bachelor’s in Sports Management that is available on-campus or entirely online. Toccoa Falls College’s best online sports management degrees integrate a biblical perspective by integrating the practice of faith throughout the coursework. Classes include sports finance, sports ethics, and law, sports organizations, prevention of injuries, event planning, plus an internship. Students graduating from Toccoa Falls College’s undergraduate sports management degree program receive a national coaching certificate upon degree completion.

Toccoa Falls College was founded as a private institution of higher learning in 1907 in North Carolina. The college maintains a religious affiliation with the Christian Church. Toccoa Falls College’s rural campus covers more than 1,00 acres and serves more than 1,500 students. 

Highlight: Toccoa Falls, situated on the school’s campus, is a vertical drop of over 175 feet. 

Degree: Sports Management, BS

Why Should I Get My Sports Management Degree Online?

Online degrees in sports management also allow you to take accelerated courses. You are not limited to the standards of a traditional college format, so you can work at a faster pace to finish your degree without wasting time. That allows you to start working in your career at a faster pace when compared to previous generations.

The final reason to consider an online degree in sports management is the cost involved in obtaining the degree. While specific expenses and costs may vary by school and program, you will notice that online programs often offer lower rates and fewer fees when compared to traditional degree programs. Since the program allows the school to offer recorded lectures and related resources, it does not have the same cost involved in student education. Students benefit from the lower costs associated with online degree programs.

What is Sports Management? 

When you are looking at the sports management job description, you may have some questions about your responsibilities and role within the sports industry. By evaluating the sports administration definition, you are able to clarify the position and ensure that you understand your role within the industry.

As a general rule, sports management refers to professional roles that emphasize business as it relates to a sport, as well as maintaining different roles within a sporting activity. For example, a professional with a sports management degree may work in guest relations, marketing, or sales. You may also focus on specific events or tournaments, so the specific responsibilities of the role may vary widely based on your position.

Since a sports manager or a sports management position may apply at a variety of different levels, you may work in colleges or universities, as well as professional sports teams. In some cases, you may even work with local community services to address concerns about sports among youths and children. Since you have a variety of opportunities and options, the specific responsibilities you may focus on in your career may vary.

Sports management emphasizes different aspects of business and ensures that a sport is able to continue over time. It emphasizes sustainability as it relates to the financial and business aspects of a sport, while also ensuring that professionals handle different aspects of the company’s growth and development.

Are Sports Management Degrees Accredited? 

A critical part of evaluating any degree program is the school’s accreditation as well as the program accreditation. You do not want to attend any school that is not accredited for the program you are considering for your career.

In the case of sports management degrees, you have a few accreditation options that are respected within the industry. 

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education, or NASPE, is one of the primary accrediting bodies for students who are planning to study sports management or a related field. The accrediting body has a long history and has ensured a high standard of education for students in fields associated with physical education and sports since it was founded. 

If a program is not accredited by the NASPE, you may consider alternative accreditation. Sports management accreditation from the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation is a good choice for any program that emphasizes sports management. COSMA accreditation is specifically geared toward sports management careers and sets a high standard as it relates to the specific challenges that arise from the business side of a sport. 

You can also look into NASSM sport management programs for an accredited option for your degree program. It is a respected and reputable accrediting body that ensures that the program meets or exceeds a specific standard.

As a rule, sports management programs do have accredited options for students. You want to avoid any program that does not have accreditation from an appropriate source, since it may not meet the standards of education an employer expects from new graduates. Accredited programs assist with your career goals while a program that is not accredited may hinder your plans. In some cases, employers will refuse to hire students who do not have a degree from an accredited program.

Related Rankings:

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