Frequently Asked Questions

General Information Questions – GVSU Sport Management

Q: What is the difference between Sport Management, sport leadership, and sport administration?

A: In higher education programs these terms are used interchangeably for degrees that train professionals to manage within sport organizations and programs. In these academic programs students learn to lead organizations through applying leadership, management, general business, leisure, communication and socio-cultural theory in sport specific settings.

Q:  What kinds of jobs (and at what kinds of salaries) will I be qualified for if I study Sport Management?

A: Many jobs fall under the broad heading of Sport Management. There are jobs in the public sector such as with sport, fitness, and recreation organizations (for example, YMCA, city parks and recreation departments), interscholastic or intercollegiate athletic programs (athletic directors, sports marketing, sports promotions, sports information, facilities and events management), or professional athletics (ticket sales, promotions, personnel). The area you’re best suited for will be a function of your personal interests and your experiences (including where you do your practicum and internship).  It goes without saying that the harder you work and the more mature you are, the more likely it will be that you’ll get the job you’re after. The website www.sportjobmatch.com can help you identify your potential interests in the sport industry.

Q:  I’d really like to stay in West Michigan after graduation.  Are there sport management opportunities here?

A: Like most mid-size cities, West Michigan has its fair share of sport management opportunities. There are several minor league professional teams in the area (for example, West Michigan Whitecaps, Grand Rapids Griffins, Muskegon Timberwolves, Grand Rapids DRIVE). There are also organizations such as the West Michigan Sports Commission and colleges, universities, and K-12 schools that might offer what you’re looking for. There are privately owned facilities as well as parks and recreation departments that offer sports and many other activities in several cities such as Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Kentwood. The important thing to remember is that the more you limit yourself to a specific location, the more you’ll also be limiting yourself in terms of jobs that are available.  If you have push yourself in the classroom, network, and seek to gain work experience while in college, you will put yourself in the best possible position to compete with others who also wish to remain in the area. The best approach is to be flexible in regard to both the type of job you’re willing to take and the geographic location you’ll accept (especially when you’re first starting out). 

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Course Requirements

Q:  Is it advantageous to pursue a minor in addition to the Sport Management emphasis?

A: Yes. You can further pursue an area in which you are interested. A minor shows drive and willingness to diversify your educational background.  You may investigate a list of minors available on the GVSU website. While any minor is beneficial, many Sport Management students pursue a minor in general business because some of the coursework overlaps.   

Q: What classes do I need to get a minor in business while completing the Sport Management Emphasis?

A: If you are completing the Bachelor of Science in Sport Management you are well on your way to fulfilling the requirement for a minor in business from the Seidman College of Business at GVSU.  Specifically, the College of Business requires six courses for a minor.  A student's faculty advisor or an academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences can assist with clarifying requirements for any minor.  Additional information about the general business minor can be found on the Seidman College of Business website. PLEASE NOTE: A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required to register Seidman classes. 

Q:  I am in the Sport Management major but I am also interested in eventually becoming a coach.  Is there any way I can receive training to be a coach in addition to my training in Sport Management?

A: The Certificate in Sport Coaching provides prospective coaches with theoretical knowledge and practical experiences in accordance with the National Standards for Sport Coaches. The focused coursework consisting of MOV 201: Psycho-social Aspects of Physical Education and Sport, MOV 217/218: Modern Principles of Athletic Training/Lab, SPM 355: Current Topics in Coaching, and SPM 360: Fieldwork in Sport Management (Coaching) stresses the importance of developing an athlete-centered coaching philosophy and a scientifically-based understanding of current issues in sports medicine, motor learning and coaching theory.  Students completing the Certificate in Sport Coaching will have a record of this accomplishment appear on their academic transcript.

Notice that you will be required to complete a second “Fieldwork” in addition to the one required for your Sport Management Concentration.  This one must be in a coaching setting.

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Q:  How do I register for 300-400 level classes offered in the Seidman College of Business?

A:    There are some 300-400 level courses offered through the Seidman College of Business that are part of the Sport Management concentration. Please be aware that the College of Business has the following special requirements you must meet in order to register for their 300-400 level classes:

(1)  As a Non-Seidman College of Business major, you need a 2.5 or higher overall GPA in order to be eligible for 300-400 level Seidman College of Business courses. All students (majors and non-majors) need to have 55 or more earned hours to enroll in 300-400 level Seidman courses.

(2)  If you have earned 55 credits and have an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher, you can register for 300-400 level courses in the Seidman College of Business. You may need to complete an override request form through Banner. 

(3)  If you have an overall GPA below a 2.5, you will to need to request admission into Seidman classes by completing an override request through Banner.

(4) If you have an overall GPA below 2.5, you cannot register for some classes offered through the Seidman College of Business (MKT 350 and MKT 352).

 Fieldwork and Internships Questions

Q: Will the Sport Management Program at GVSU find my fieldwork or internship placement site for me?

A:  No. It is your responsibility to contact appropriate sites that will offer you the best possible field experiences. Once you have made initial contact with a site that you feel can provide you with the experience you’re looking for, it needs to be approved by the Sport Management fieldwork/internship coordinator.  There are two main reasons it is in your best interest to find your own practical experiences.  First, you know the kinds of training you’re interested in… the types of experiences you’re looking for. If we “placed” you in a position, it might not be the kind of thing you find interesting.  Second, when you take the initiative to contact a prospective job site supervisor, you are demonstrating your ability to be a mature and responsible professional.  If you were going to hire someone, wouldn’t you be far more impressed if the prospective applicant contacted you him/herself rather than have a faculty member call on his/her behalf? Although it’s your responsibility to set up the initial contacts, the faculty in the program might be able to give you a suggestion or two to get you started.

Q:  When should I start planning for my fieldwork and internships?

A:  The earlier you start thinking about what kind of position you’d like to get during your practical experiences, the more likely you’ll get a valuable and productive experience. Think about the kinds of jobs that interest you.  It’s not enough to simply say, “I don’t know what I want to do…I just know I want to somehow be involved in sports.”  You have to do some homework by talking to people, exploring the web, writing papers for your other classes, etc. that will help you discover what kinds of jobs are available and whether you find them interesting.

Q:  What courses do I have to complete BEFORE going on my fieldwork (SPM 390) or internship (SPM 490)?

A: Before going on your internship (SPM 490) you MUST satisfactorily complete (or currently be enrolled in) your fieldwork experience (SPM 390). If you are in the Sport Management major  (and therefore planning for a Sport Management fieldwork) you will take SPM 390, and will need to have completed MOV 102 (First Aid and CPR), and SPM 356 (Current Topics in Sport Management). If you are in the coaching certificate, you will complete SPM 360, and you must have completed either MOV 102 (First Aid and CPR) or MOV 217 (Modern Principles in Athletic Training), and SPM 355 (Current Topics in Coaching). Please note that SPM 355 and SPM 356 have their own prerequisites. Enrollment in SPM 360 or 390 also requires that you be of at least Junior status and have the instructor’s permission to enroll.

Q:  Can I take SPM 390 (Fieldwork) and SPM 490 (Internship) in the same semester?

A:  No. The two field experiences are designed to build on one another.  The valuable experience you gain during your fieldwork will make it more likely you'll have a great experience during your internship.  With this in mind, notice that SPM 390 is a prerequisite for SPM 490.

Q:  Can I do my fieldwork (SPM 390) and my internship (SPM 490) at the same placement site?

A:  Generally speaking, no. The main purpose of these practical experience courses is to provide you with a wide range of educational experiences and prepare you for a variety of potential career positions. Completing both field experiences at the same site will usually limit you to working in that particular area.  If…and this is rather rare… you can work at the same placement site but in a totally different job and under a different on-site supervisor, then it might be possible to complete both your fieldwork and your internship at the same location.  This is very unusual and you MUST get prior approval for this from the faculty in Sport Management. Remember, our main concern is that you ultimately receive the best (and broadest) educational experiences possible.

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Q:  What’s the difference between SPM 390 (Fieldwork in Sport Management) and SPM 490 (Internship is Sport Management)?

A: In addition to the fact that the 6- to 12-credit hour internship requires much more of a time commitment compared to the the 3-credit hour fieldwork, the primary difference is the level of training and experience you are expected to have – and therefore the assumptions about your ability to perform higher level assignments that comes with SPM 490. During your fieldwork experiences (SPM 390: Sport Management Practicum; SPM 360: Coaching Practicum) you are expected to be an “entry-level” worker.  You are not necessarily expected to arrive with a great deal of previous training or practical experience.  On the other hand, during your internship (SPM 490) your supervisors should be able to expect more from you – both in terms of the quality and quantity of the work you perform.  After all, you have already completed at least 135 hours of practical work experience in a similar setting (as part of your SPM 360 or 390 prerequisite). Because of this, your supervisors will often give you additional responsibilities and set higher performance expectations for all your assignments.

Q:  Is there a difference between the SPM 360 and SPM 390 practical experiences for students interested in Sport Management versus those interested in Coaching?

A: Yes and no. Obviously, the intent is the same – to give every student in the program a valuable practice learning experience in their chosen field before they graduate. If you’re interested in coaching, the most important thing to do is get as much coaching experience as possible before you go onto the job market, which includes a fieldwork experience (SPM 360). If you are interested in being trained for a sport management job, you need to have as much sport management experience as possible – that means fieldwork and internships in sport management.  You are allowed to do both practicums (SPM 360 and SPM 390).  Those students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management complete SPM 390 and SPM 490.  If a student in interested in the coaching certificate, they would take SPM 360. 

Q:  How many hours do I have to work on site during my fieldwork and internship in order to meet the minimum requirements for credit in my fieldwork (SPM 390) and internship (SPM 490)?

A:  For SPM 360 or SPM 390 (Fieldwork) your MINIMUM obligation is 135 hours during the semester.  For the 6 credit SPM 490 (Internship) your MINIMUM requirement is 270 hours of work during the semester.  For a 9 credit SPM 490, the MINIMUM number of hours required is 405 hours per semester. For the 12 credit SPM 490 (internship) the MINIMUM number of hours required is 540 hours per semester. It’s important to remember that many (if not most) placement sites will require you to work beyond these minimum requirements. It’s important to think of additional hours – beyond these minimums – as tremendous opportunities for you to get extra experience and training for free!

Q:  Beyond the number of hours of work required, what’s the difference between the 6-, 9-, and 12-credit hour internships (SPM 490)?

A:  Nothing. The number of hours you are required to work is basically the only difference. Remember, in order to graduate, you must complete the 3 credit fieldwork (SPM 460) and at least the 6 credit internship (SPM 490).  The reason we offer an additional internship option of 12 credit hours is so that you can accept in an internship position anywhere.

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Advising Information

Q:  Whom should I contact if I need more information about the Sport Management program?

A: The best place to start is at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Advising Center located in C-1-140 Mackinac Hall (MAK). They can help with general questions about the program and GVSU requirements for graduation.  If you have specific questions, you can contact any of the Sport Management Program faculty members and you will also be assigned a faculty advisor once you declare the Sport Management major. 

If you’re already enrolled in the Sport Management Program the name of your advisor can be found on myBanner --> Student --> Registration --> Major and Advisor information