GC’s Sport Management program receives final approval

Garrett College has received final state approval for a new Sport Management degree program designed to make graduates employment-ready.

“As a four-season resort region, Garrett County offers a wide variety of employers who will value GC graduates with a degree in sport management,” said Kim Windstein, director of physical education programs at Garrett College.  “We intentionally built a field experience requirement into the program so that students are connecting with local employers before they graduate, which increases the opportunity for employment after graduation.”

While graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree – meant for immediate entry into the workforce – Windstein said Garrett College will be working on articulation agreements with universities offering baccalaureate sport management programs.  The goal will be to clearly identify with each partner the transferrable credits so that students who wish to seek a baccalaureate degree in the field have a clear pathway.

“While the associate’s degree will help students enter the workforce, we also want the degree to provide the foundation for a four-year degree for those who wish to continue,” said Windstein.  “Particularly for jobs in professional and intercollegiate sports, a four-year degree is either required or desired.  We want students to have as many options as possible to either go directly into the workforce or go on for a baccalaureate degree.”

Dennis Gibson, Garrett College’s director of athletics, said a career in sport management allows sports enthusiasts “to turn their passion into a career.”

“Very few people are going to be professional athletes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work in the sport management field,” said Gibson.  “There are all kinds of careers that involve working in the sports world – sports agents, sports attorneys, events management, public relations and marketing, or managing sports-related businesses like ski resorts or fitness clubs.  A lot of these occupations require four-year degrees, but our program can serve as the educational foundation.”

Gibson said Garrett College is a perfect location for a sport management program.

“First, there are all kinds of internship opportunities, starting right here on the GC campus with the Community Aquatic and Recreation Center and our intercollegiate athletic department,” said Gibson.  “You also have all of the businesses that support the resort activities in Garrett County.  And for students who want to go on for four-year degrees and work in pro or college sports, we’re within several hours of major sports cities like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia.”

Garrett’s new degree blends business coursework – Intro to Business, Intro to Management, Principles of Marketing, Business Law, Economics – with sport management-specific classes.  Intro to Sport Management, Sport in Society, Event Management, and the individually tailored field experience are all included in the program.

Garrett College is one of only three Maryland community colleges with a sport management program, and the only one in which a field experience is required.

“We think having the field experience ensures that we are blending classroom instruction with real-life work experience,” said Windstein.