by Bethel University
The sports management major at Bethel University goes beyond the classroom and emphasizes experiential learning that allows students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.
As program coordinator and assistant professor of sports management, Dr. Josh Greer explained, "Experiential learning is a way to introduce students to the sports industry and provide them with opportunities to begin to explore what the industry has to offer. This type of learning is vital to break into the world of sports."
Bethel's sports management department has worked with the National Football League (NFL), NCAA college football, Super Bowl host committees and local sports councils to provide students with opportunities to network and gain experience for future employment.
Students have been behind the scenes of some of the nation’s largest sporting events, including the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Rock-n-Roll Music City Marathon, NCAA College Football National Championship in New Orleans and the Super Bowl in Miami.
Super Bowl LV will be added to the list of national sporting events that students have gained experience from. Four students will be heading to Tampa Bay for the upcoming Super Bowl where the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs will play the National Football Conference champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 7.
Senior Mark Craven is one of the first students to go through the sports management program at Bethel. The program started with a club and minor in 2018-19 and in 2020 a sports management major was created. Craven participated in every event, experience and opportunity provided by the program.
"We got to be a part of the NFL Super Bowl Host Committee where we helped oversee the NFL Live and Fan Experience,” Craven explained. "We assisted fans in taking pictures with the Super Bowl's Vince Lombardi Trophy, receive autographs from players, compete in professional practice drills and other fan experiences. All of the different logistics that have to be put together for an event like that to be successful is hard to believe sometimes. It is a nice feeling knowing that the Bethel Sports Management Program had a little part in putting everything together."
Riley Wood, senior business management major with a minor in sports management, participated in the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville and the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami, Florida, and learned valuable information from his experiences.
"At the NFL Draft, I learned how vital connections are in the sports world and how to start making those connections," Wood said. "I was able to attend a sports industry conference while at Super Bowl LIV and learned a lot about the business side of sports and the different roles of a sports agent."
Lessons come to life through experiential learning. Students are continually learning outside the classroom through these unique trips and one-of-a-kind courses that focus on earning a skillset in sports management and finding employment in a fast-growing field.
"These experiences gave me knowledge that will help me as I plan to pursue a career in sports management," Wood explained. "I was able to make connections, learn about different opportunities in the field and understand what it takes to get into the sports industry."
"People want to hire folks with experience in the field, and we want to be able to offer that opportunity to our students," Greer added. “We provided experiences for the students with an opportunity to work the largest sporting events in the world."
A Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Performance, Sports Management equips students with skills and concepts related to management, finance, marketing and law pertaining to the sports industry. Courses give an overview of the business side of a sports organization with the use of the latest trends and technologies. This program trains students who want to become involved in the planning, organizing, managing and budgeting of sports or physical activities.
"I have always had a passion for sports, and this major allows me the opportunity to turn my passion into a reality," Craven said.
Learn more about this program.