KOKOMO, Ind. —Indiana University Kokomo now offers a sport and recreation management degree, leading to potential careers including game day operations, sports marketing, product development, and facility management.
John Hughey, chairperson of the Division of Allied Health Science, anticipates 25-40 students choosing the major each year.
“It’s really driven by students,” Hughey said. “We listened to the students and gave them not just a program they want, but one that leads them to successful careers. I think it’s going to be a well-received degree, not just by athletes, but others who want a career in a sports-related business.”
The four-year degree goes well beyond just preparing someone to manage a sports facility — it also prepares for the marketing and people management that go with the job.
“To succeed, you have to get people to the stadiums,” he said. “It’s not just the game, it’s the event, and the experience that one will be able to get. You have to know more than how to play the day. If you’re running a local YMCA, you are competing with other organizations. You have to know how to make yours stand out.”
Opportunities in this job market continue to increase in north central Indiana, with the opening of Grand Park in Westfield, and similar facilities planned in Noblesville and Fishers in the near future, Hughey said.
There are also opportunities at YMCAs, park and recreation departments, sports teams including the Kokomo Jackrabbits and the Lafayette Aviators, and others within the region.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this sector is expected to grow by 10 percent by 2024, particularly as more emphasis is placed on the importance of exercise.
Median salary for graduates of sport and recreation programs range from about $47,000 to $127,000 per year, depending on which area they choose. Potential jobs could include sports marketing and promotion, event planning, public relations, college athletic director, or athlete.
Classes will be offered online and in person, and all students will have hands-on learning experiences throughout the program, including an internship.
There is also an opportunity to earn a business minor with the sport and recreation management degree, or to take electives for direct admission to IU Kokomo’s Master of Business Administration program.
“This is a degree that leads to many opportunities for our graduates,” Hughey said.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.