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Sports management is an occupation that gives former athletes the chance to stay in the game and gives sports lovers a way to make their mark on the industry. But for professionals working in the field who need a college degree to advance, the choice can be tough. If you’re already in a career, you don’t want to leave it to go back to school and give up all the momentum you’ve built. You also don’t want to take so long that you forget why you were finishing your degree in the first place.

For working adults who are studying to complete their bachelor’s degrees, one factor could stand out – how fast can I get my degree? The fastest online sports management degree programs use a lot of different techniques to get students their degrees in a timely fashion. Many use accelerated courses, typically anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks long, so that students learn more intensively and quickly. In addition, shorter courses allow colleges to offer more terms than the traditional semester, sometimes as many as 10 or 12 a year, so students can cram more courses faster. And of course, an accelerated sports management program can accept transfer credits and offer credit for experience, so students can get their degree with fewer courses.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Sports Management Program

All of these techniques are a part of making the top 10 sports management programs for speed and convenience, and help earn a place on Bachelor’s Degree Center’s ranking of the 10 Fastest Online Sports Management Degree Bachelor’s Programs for 2019. To rank the best accelerated sports management programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center had a few criteria. First, programs had to come from a regionally-accredited institution, which indicates a fundamental level of quality and reputability. Secondly, bachelor’s completion programs had to include accelerated course structures, and be capable of finishing in less than 2 years.

Finally, colleges that meet these criteria are ranked according to an average of their cost, reputation, alumni salary, graduation rate, and job placement rate, based on data from IPEDS, College Scorecard, and Niche.

1. McKendree University

McKendree University’s accelerated sports management program is designed for former athletes who wish to work in the rapidly expanding field of sports management. McKendree University’s online BBA in Sports Management is a flexible and convenient educational delivery method for busy working learners. Coursework for this degree includes economic, marketing functions, Sports Psychology and social applications in the world of sports. This sports management degree program requires the completion of 120 credit hours; however, up to 90 credits may be transferred if earned from an accredited school.

McKendree University was established in 1828 by pioneer Methodists. The school holds the distinction of Illinois’ oldest college. Its 235-acre suburban campus is home to nearly 3,000 students that represent more than 20 different countries. St. Louis is about 25 minutes from McKendree University’s main campus. The university is identified for its student-focused excellence initiative.

Degree: BBA in Sports Management

Click here to learn more about the fastest sports management degree!

2. California Baptist University

California Baptist University’s BA in Sports, Recreation and Fitness Management degree can be completed entirely online. CBU’s accelerated sports management program is generally completed in only 16 months when the student completes 49 major units. Coursework includes both theoretical concepts and hands-on applications in the relevant areas of management in the sports field — Fitness, Leadership, Finance, Wellness, Economics, and Marketing, among other sports management principles. Graduates find gainful employment in the areas of Coaching, Campus Advisor, Intramural Director, and Tourism Director or Personal Trainer, among others.

California Baptist University was established in 1950 and is a private Christian institution of higher learning affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Its 160-acre suburban campus is styled in the tradition of Mission Revival architecture. California Baptist University receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). California Baptist University’s accelerated sports management program is one of the top 10 sports management programs in the western United States.

Degree: BA in Sport, Recreation, and Fitness Management

Click here to learn more about the fastest sports management degree!

3. Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University’s online Bachelor in Sports Management can be completed entirely through EKU’s distance learning platform. EKU’s accelerated sports management program prepares students for exciting careers in the challenging field of sports management by offering coursework that integrates the principles of management with a love of sports. EKU offers a generous credit transfer policy for incoming students. Additionally, the accelerated course work allows students to begin on one of the program’s six start dates throughout the year. Classes are provided in eight-week terms

Eastern Kentucky University is a public institute of higher learning that was founded in 1874 as a teacher training school. EKU operates satellite campuses throughout Kentucky, but has become especially known for its convenient and affordable online programs. Military Times recognizes Eastern Kentucky University as one of the best veteran colleges. US News & World Report recognizes Eastern Kentucky University as one of the top 10 sports management programs in the southern portion of the country.

Degree: Bachelor in Sports Management

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4. Averett University

Averett University’s accelerated sports management program was specifically created as an Individually Designed Education for Adult Learners program. Averett University’s BS in Physical Education, Sports Management degree program is an independent study completed entirely online through their distance learning platform with generous credit transfer policies — up to 90 credits. Averett University’s degree program allows students to study in a manner that meets their scheduling needs, and each student is assigned an academic advisor to guide them through the coursework. Graduates are prepared to enter the world of sports on a professional, amateur or collegiate levels.

Averett University is a private institution of higher learning that was established in 1859. It is located near the Virginia/North Carolina border. It maintains a Baptist affiliation since 2011. Although the school began as a women’s college, it was made coeducation in 1969. Averett has earned a reputation as one of the top regional colleges, and is earning still more recognition as an online educator.

Degree: BS in Physical Education – Sports Management

5. Missouri Baptist University

Missouri Baptist University’s BS in Sports Management degree can be completed entirely online. Degree candidates must complete a total of 120 credit hours, with 45 of these credit hours directly related to their sports management major. Missouri Baptist University’s credit transfer policy is quite generous as it allows for up to 96 credits to be transferred to its accelerated sports management program. Degree candidates graduate with the option to become involved in Talent Acquisition, Sports Broadcasting, Facilities Management, Sporting Public Relations, and Information Director, among others.

Missouri Baptist University was founded in 1957 as a private Christian institute of higher learning. The university currently has twelve locations that offer more than 50-degree programs in the areas of arts, interdisciplinary studies, social & behavioral sciences, humanities, and health & sports sciences, among others. Its main campus in Creve Coeur is a part of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, giving students a strong job market after graduation.

Degree: BS in Sports Management

Click here to learn more about the fastest sports management degree!

6. Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University’s BS in Business Administration in Sports Management can be completed entirely online through their online platform. Columbia Southern University’s accelerated sports management program requires the completion of 120 credit hours to earn the degree; however, applicants have the opportunity to transfer up to 90 previously earned credit toward the credit hour requirements. Coursework integrates business policies and theories into the sports industry backdrop. Graduates find gainful employment as Sports Communication Relations Directors, Facilities Management, Front Office Administrators, and members of the Coaching Staff.

Columbia Southern University is a private institution of higher learning that specializes in distance learning degree programs. This family-run school was established in 1993 and is currently accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The school consists of three colleges offering more than 25-degree programs. Columbia Southern University’s tuition rates rank among the lowest in the industry, including reduced tuition rates for active military members.

Degree: BSBA in Sports Management

7. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University’s BS in Sports Management degree is offered exclusively online by the Colangelo College of Business. Their accelerated sports management program prepares graduates with business skills and acumen to problem-solve and to think critically in the realm of sports management. GCU’s sports management graduates are prepared to enter the sports-related fields of Administration, Event Planning, Guest Relations, Merchandising, and Marketing. The BS degree requires the completion of 120 credits, of which 56 credits are within the student’s sports management major. Upon applying for the program, degree applicants may transfer up to 90 credits earned from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.

Grand Canyon University is a private Christian institution of higher learning that was established in 1949. It holds the distinction as the largest Christian university across the globe, based on student enrollment. The Southern Baptist Convention in Arizona originally founded the school, and after a number of years as a for-profit institution, GCU returned to non-profit status in 2018. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredits Grand Canyon University.

Degree: BS in Sports Management

Click here to learn more about the fastest sports management degree!

8. Mercy College

Mercy College’s BS in Business Administration Sport Management concentration allows students hands-on, real-world experience in the complex, comprehensive sports industry. Degree candidates are required to complete a total of 120 credits to earn their baccalaureate degree; however, up to 90 credits may be transferred if earned through a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. Previous corporate placements upon graduation include the New England Patriots, the NCAA, and Madison Square Garden.

Mercy College is a private Roman Catholic school that was established in 1950. The college’s 65+-acre main campus is located north of New York City in Westchester County. The school operates several satellite locations in Upper Westchester County (Yorktown Heights), the Bronx, and in Manhattan. Mercy College overlooks the majestic Hudson River and runs through the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, a prime destination for runners and hikers.

Degree: BS in Sport Management

Click here to learn more about the fastest sports management degree!

9. Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University’s online BS in Sports Management degree prepares students for leadership roles in Collegiate/Professional Organizations, Facility Management, Public Relations, and many other sports management/business related careers. CMU’s accelerated sports management program allows students to transfer as much as 90 credits to a fast bachelor’s degree completion. Degree candidates studying for CMU’s accelerated sports management program are required to complete a sports-management-related internship for 540 hours, and graduates can opt to go straight into an MBA from Colorado Mesa University.

Colorado Mesa University is a public, space-grant institution of higher learning that was founded in 1925. It was initially called Mesa State College. Besides its satellite campuses, Colorado Mesa offers many fully online courses. Colorado Mesa University’s urban campus is home to more than 11,000 students. Colorado Mesa University is recognized as Western Colorado’s Selective University.

Degree: BS in Sports Management

Click here to learn more about the fastest sports management degree!

10. Liberty University

Liberty University’s online BS in Sports Management degree is one of the best and fastest ways to complete a sports management degree. Liberty’s accelerated sports management program is designed for convenience and flexibility, with fully online, 8-week long classes and multiple start times. Students can choose from several concentrations in addition to general sports management: Conference and Event Management, Sports Administration, Sports Communication & Public Relations, Sport Outreach, and Sports Venue Management. Most importantly, as much as 75% of the program can be made up of transfer credits, helping students complete their degree much faster.

One of the most innovative Christian universities in the US, Liberty University began as a conventional Bible college in 1971. All along its history, Liberty was known for outreach to working adults, but Liberty embraced online education in the early 2000s, quickly becoming a leader in distance education. Today, with more than 100,000 students – nearly all online – Liberty has become a model of modern Christian higher education, including a top 10 sports management program.

Degree: BS in Sports Management

Click here to learn more about the fastest sports management degree!

How Fast Can I Finish My Sports Management Degree Program?

A typical bachelor’s degree takes at least 4 years to complete: 2 years of general education, and two years in your major. Many of the best sports management colleges and universities today, though, offer accelerated online degree programs for students who already have their general education from an associate’s degree. With an accelerated online business degree, it will take approximately twelve to eighteen months to complete the remaining major courses after an associate’s degree.

Most courses for accelerated online degree programs are about five to eight weeks long. Of course, it depends on the college or university that one attends. Accelerated programs may be called Flex or Flexpath, Fast Track, or some similar name. The accelerated option gives the student a way to lower their tuition costs by finishing school in a matter of months. It also aligns the student’s learning style to fit the needs of future employers.

For an Associates degree in sports management online, the average is about two years, but with a Flexpath option, completion can be done in less than a year. Bachelor degree programs take about four years full-time straight out of high school. Traditional on-campus business management programs typically do not have accelerated options.

However, accelerated online degree programs for bachelor’s may only be 12 months. Combine an accelerated associate’s degree and an accelerated bachelor’s degree, and you may have your full bachelor’s in less than 3 years.

Many undergraduate degrees will offer credit for work experience, so your bachelor of science in sport management can go even quicker. Hands-on experience shows you’re ready for sports management courses. You may study the business of sports or the legal aspects of sport.

Learn more about electives, financial aid, admission requirements, and GPA requirements.

Will Employers Trust an Accelerated Online Business Degree in Sports Management?

In the past, some businesses thought an accelerated online program was not credible, compared to the traditional college experience. Some also viewed accelerated online business degree programs as rushing students through their education, and believed the institutions were not providing hands-on applications appropriately. A division president for Insperity, a firm providing recruiting services, states, “About 75 percent of her clients have embraced online credentials. As for the other 25 percent, she doesn’t count on changing their minds.”

However, in more recent years, many employers now accept accelerated online degree programs from students that are dedicated and show promise in the sports industry. Those interested in sports will have many opportunities to show off their abilities to the businesses or agencies they are interested in attending. An accelerated path, like the Flexpath, allows students to go through school quickly, moving forward with their sports career and Employers encourage their workers to take the accelerated path. Of course, the accelerated Flexpath may not be right for every student. There are Pros and Cons to every type of educational learning style a student chooses.

Is an Accelerated Online Sports Management Degree Hard?

Sports management degree programs are a great option for students wanting to get a jump-start on an exciting and lucrative career in Sports. Many sports management degree schools offer the Flexpath option because of the cost effective strategies it provides the student. Schools like Capella University and Columbia College are among the top institutions offering the Flexpath option.

In some cases, an accelerated online business degree, like an online sports management degree, may be exhausting, and at times demanding. However, it is a rewarding career option and pretty simple to master. Although, for students who cannot handle the fast-paced classroom of an accelerated degree, it can become very difficult to keep up. Some with learning styles that require more attention to detail can struggle from the continuous amounts of coursework assigned to them each week. In addition, bad study habits can hinder productivity in fast-paced classes.

However, the good news is that the best sports management colleges and universities provide coaching or mentoring options for students who need the extra help in the classroom. No college or University wants to see a student fail, and no student wants to give up on a good education. Providing every possible opportunity for students to exceed in their studies while taking an accelerated plan will boost the student’s self-esteem and encourage success.

Sports and recreation management doesn’t just mean working for athletic programs, sports teams, or professional sports organizations. Sports management professionals work in

  • social media
  • intercollegiate education programs
  • sport law
  • sport finance
  • nonprofit
  • entrepreneurship
  • sport facility management
  • sport marketing
  • sporting events

Career opportunities include athletic director, marketing manager, and more. Your career goals might also benefit from a graduate degree like a master’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows solid growth and salaries.

To find the best sports management colleges and universities, researching is greatly involved. Looking over college websites alone is not enough. Many sports-enthusiast students search on nationally recognized sites like Payscale and the US News and World Report. Each will provide the student with updated rankings and statistics on job outlooks and career salary information for Sports Management degree schools and universities.

Related Rankings:

25 Best Bachelor’s in Sports Management Degree Programs
15 Best Online Sports Management Degree Bachelors Programs
10 Most Affordable Online Sports Management Degree Bachelor Programs

15 Best Online Training and Development Programs