Ball State Stadium

Ranked Top 10% in the world.

Our program has consistently been ranked in the top tier of graduate programs according to Sport Business. 

The sport administration program is designed to prepare graduates for a career working in sport at any level. Our comprehensive curriculum allows students to pursue both an applied and theoretical approach to sport. If your goal is to work in sport, or continue your education beyond a master's degree, our program can make it happen.

Why Study Sport Administration?

The Sport Administration Curriculum is designed to prepare students to work at any level of sport. Whether it is youth and community sport, high school, college, or professional, our program provides the courses students need.

All students will complete four core courses in sport marketing, sport law, sport finance, and sport management. Students will then choose between a variety of electives based on their career goals. Finally, students will choose an experiential/research option. For traditional students who want to earn hands-on experience and move directly into the sport industry upon graduation, the internship is the best choice. A second option is a thesis which allows students interested in doctoral work the research experience needed for a smooth transition. For working professionals, who are likely is not interested in an internship or thesis, a creative project option is available.

Coursework is a combination of in-person and online options. At the graduate level we understand that students are busy. Courses are taught mostly in the evenings, and partially in an asynchronous online format. This hybrid approach to graduate education provides the personal benefits of in-person courses and the convenience of online education. Independent studies are also available for unique learning opportunities based on students’ interests. 

On-Campus

Ball State sport administration students are fortunate to have several world-class learning opportunities at their fingertips. Our NCAA DI FBS athletic department is a tremendous resource with knowledgeable sport professionals that welcome the opportunity to help educate our students. Whether it is graduate assistants who work directly in athletics, volunteer opportunities on game days, or internships supervised by industry experts, our partnership with our athletic department is strong. Students interested in college athletics will find this resource to be unparalleled.

Local Area

Outside of our campus East-Central Indiana offers many additional opportunities. There are smaller colleges within a short drive where students have volunteered or completed internships (Taylor University, Anderson University, Earlham College). Muncie has many youth and community resources including four “Y” locations, a Boys and Girls Club, and numerous club sports including one of the most recognized volleyball clubs in the world - Munciana. If high school sports is your focus, Delaware county has nine high schools of various sizes – all of which have partnered with our graduate program to provide internships or volunteer opportunities.

In-State

Beyond Delaware County, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne provide sport opportunities rarely found in the sport industry. Indianapolis has been called the “sport capital of the world” and is home to 11 professional sport teams including the Colts (NFL) and Pacers (NBA). It is also home to the NCAA headquarters, The National Federation of State High School Associations, the Black Coaches Association, The National Institute for Fitness & Sport, and the American College of Sport Medicine. It is known as the motorsports capital (Indy 500), and houses six U.S. sport governing bodies (football, track and field, gymnastics, diving, swimming, and rowing). There are three intercollegiate conference headquarters and hundreds of smaller sport venues and high schools. With assistance from the Indiana Sports Corporation, Indianapolis regularly hosts high-level sporting events that have included the Super Bowl and numerous men’s and women’s Final Four basketball tournaments.

Preparing students for a career in sport is the top priority of the sport administration master’s program. We take professional development seriously, and students have many resources at their disposal.

Graduate Assistantships

Some students obtain graduate assistantships through the School of Kinesiology, Ball State Athletics, or in offices across campus via the Career Center. Graduate assistantships allow students to have the master’s degree funded (plus earn a stipend) while gaining real-world experience. Recent graduate assistants have been employed at every level of sport—from community and campus recreation, to high school athletic directing, to intercollegiate athletics, and some at the highest levels of professional sport with NFL, NBA, and MLB programs. Students interested in furthering their education have recently entered doctoral programs at the University of Florida, University of Louisville, University of South Carolina, and The Ohio State University. Students are interested in graduate assistantship positions in athletics or other departments outside of our School should contact those departments directly to apply.

Volunteer Opportunities

In addition to graduate assistant positions our master’s program has partnered with our athletic department, local high schools, and various other organizations in and around Muncie to offer sport volunteer opportunities. These connections are supplemented by professionals who regularly speak in our courses and offer career guidance to our graduates. Additionally, all students receive professional development education embedded within our sport management core course. This education includes partnering with our campus Career Center to address resume and cover letter preparation, job hunting strategies, interview planning and practice, and negotiation skills. Finally, during internships, students progress through a variety of interactive assignments meant to improve their professional skills.

Sport Administration Graduate Fund

Students can also take advantage of our Sport Administration Graduate Fund – a fund specifically designed for graduate students to attend professional conferences and seminars to learn more about their interests and improve their professional network. Partnerships with prominent sport job-posting sites like Teamwork Online and JobsinSports help to identify additional internship and professional opportunities.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate sport administration knowledge and skills while performing at a high level within their experiential learning environments.
  • Students will understand the historical and practical significance of ethical research protocols within human subject research.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the four core areas within the sport administration program - sport marketing, sport law, sport finance, and sport administration/management.
  • Students will participate in professional development opportunities within the sport administration field.
  • Students will be prepared for a career in the sport industry upon completion of their sport administration master's degree.

Ultimately, students should feel confident knowing that resources are in place, and that faculty will help in every step of the way.

James Johnson
James Johnson, Ed.D. -Professor & Graduate Program Coordinator

Dr. Johnson earned a B.A. in Psychology at Franklin College in 1999, and a M.S. in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Ball State University in 2001.After two years as a commodity trader in Chicago, Dr. Johnson worked seven years within intercollegiate athletics as the Assistant Coordinator of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes at Ball State University. In 2010, Dr. Johnson earned an Ed.D. from Ball State University specializing in adult, higher, and community education with a concentration in sport studies. Dr. Johnson is a Fellow in the College Sport Research Institute and has served as the sport administration graduate program coordinator since 2011.His primary research includes work in interscholastic and intercollegiate sport.


Mike Dalgety, Ed.D. -Assistant Teaching Professor
Dr. Dalgety earned a B.A. in Sport Sciences at University of the Pacific in 1997, and a M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona in 2003. He has 18 years of intercollegiate athletics experience, including roles as the Associate Director of Athletic Media Relations, Director of Compliance, and Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Affairs at Pacific. In 2012, Dr. Dalgety earned an Ed.D. from Pacific, specializing in higher education. Dr. Dalgety is now a lecturer in sport administration and has research interests in intercollegiate athletics.

Benjamin Downs
Benjamin Downs, Ph.D. -Assistant Professor
Dr. Downs earned a B.A. in History and Black Studies at the College of Wooster in 2008. After working in college recruiting and coaching, as well as professional baseball, he earned a M.S. in Sport Administration from Mississippi State University in 2016. In 2019, Dr. Downs earned a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University specializing in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Management. Dr. Downs completed his dissertation on the evolution of urban multipurpose sport facilities. His research focuses on facilities and utilizes modernization to better understand the construction and renovation trends related to multipurpose arenas. Dr. Downs is also interested in issues of diversity and inclusion in sport.

Robert Turick
Robert Turick, Ph.D. -Assistant Professor
Dr. Turick earned a B.S. in Sport Administration at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2012, and a M.Ed. in Sport Administration from Bowling Green State University in 2014.  In 2018, Dr. Turick earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida specializing in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Sport Management.  Dr. Turick completed his dissertation on the underrepresentation of black coaches in college football.  After graduating from UF, Dr. Turick is now an assistant professor at Ball State.  His research focuses on studying social issues in sport, with a specific focus on racial and ethnic discrimination in sport.  Dr. Turick is also interested in issues related to student-athlete well-being. 

Khirey Walker
Khirey Walker, Ph.D. -Assistant Professor
Dr. Walker earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing at Elon University in 2011, and a M.S. in Sport Administration from Louisiana State University in 2012. In 2017, Dr. Walker earned a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University specializing in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Management. Dr. Walker completed his Dissertation on the organizational misconduct within intercollegiate athletics, specifically the National Collegiate Athletic Association. After graduating from LSU, Dr. Walker has arrived at Ball State as an assistant professor. His research includes work in intercollegiate athletics, primarily involving rule governance, leadership studies, and student-athlete fulfillment.

 

Admissions

How are admission decisions made? 

After the application deadline, the graduate coordinator evaluates all complete application files. Admission decisions are based on quality of application materials and available openings in the program.

What is the minimum undergraduate GPA accepted for admission?

  • The graduate school has set the minimum undergraduate GPA for admission to 2.75. The same minimum is used for admission into the School of Kinesiology.
  • GPA is used as one piece of information that is combined with all other application materials to create an applicant’s admission file.
  • Typically, GPAs above 3.3 are desirable. GPAs below 3.0 would be considered low and would require the rest of the application file to be strong. These GPAs are approximations and are relative to the number and quality of applicants in addition to the available openings in the program. The graduate coordinator reserves the right to make subjective evaluations of all application materials.

Is the GRE required?

  • No – GREs are not required.
  • If a student elects to take the GRE there are no minimum GRE scores. If provided, GRE scores are used as one piece of information that is combined with all other application materials to create an applicant’s admission file.
  • GMAT scores are also acceptable, but not required.

If I have an undergraduate degree other than sport management/administration, can I apply to the program?

Yes, students with any undergraduate degree can apply. There are no prerequisites for students without a sport administration degree. However, students should attempt to gain as much sport industry experience as possible before applying.

If I have an undergraduate degree other than sport management/administration will I be behind other students?

Students without a sport management/administration background will have to adapt a bit faster, but concepts will be advanced for all students. There are several students currently in the program that have undergraduate degrees other than sport management/administration.

How many students normally apply, and how many are normally admitted?

  • For the March 1st application deadline (summer or fall enrollment) there are typically 20-30 applicants. Approximately 15-25 students are admitted.
  • For the November 1st application deadline (spring enrollment) there are typically 3-7 applicants.
  • These numbers vary annually. The number of students admitted depends on the quality of applicants and number of available openings in the program.

Program

How many students are in the program? 

At any given point there are 25-35 students in the program. Numbers vary from year to year based on the amount of students admitted and retained.

Are any of the courses online?

Yes. Some elective sport administration courses will be available online. These online courses are designed to accommodate students who are completing internships or are away from campus during the summer. Occasionally there are some online elective courses offered during the fall and spring semesters. Overall, students should plan to take most of their courses on-campus during the fall and spring with online courses offered occasionally.

When are classes usually held?

During the semesters (fall and spring) each sport administration course is typically held one day a week on campus from 6:30-9:10pm. Occasionally, elective courses are held at other times depending on a variety of factors. Classes normally start after 5pm to accommodate working professionals.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The 33-hour program is designed to be completed in a two-year period taking 6-9 credit hours (2-3 courses) per semester. It is possible to finish the program in less than two years by taking 9-12 credit hours (3-4 courses) per semester.

Graduate Assistantships

What GA positions are available?

Students in the sport administration program regularly receive GA positions in a variety of different areas on campus. Prospective students are encouraged to seek GA positions anywhere on campus. Most students with GA positions are located in SOK or Athletics. Check out the Graduate Assistantships page for more information.

  • Kinesiology – 3-4 GAs are assigned to faculty members in the sport administration program to assist with faculty research and help teach physical fitness and wellness courses. There are 1-2 positions open each year.
  • Athletics – A variety of administrative and coaching GA positions exist in athletics. The sport administration program and SOK do not choose these GA positions. Interested students should contact the athletic department directly to inquire about open positions.

What are the benefits of being a graduate assistant?

GAs are expected to work 20 hours per week for their respective department in exchange for tuition reimbursement, stipend, and other perks. The stipend amount varies by department and funding cycle but is usually more than cost of living. GAs must pay student fees each semester.

Is there a separate application for a GA position?

No, there is not a separate GA application for GA positions in our department. When you complete the application to enter the sport administration graduate program there is a question that asks if you are interested in a GA position. If you check that box you will be considered for a GA position in SOK. If you desire a GA position in another department (e.g., athletics or recreation), you should contact those departments directly to inquire about their application process. Other GA positions on campus can be found through the Career Center page with posted assistantships.

Professional Development

Does the program help identify professional development opportunities?

Yes, students are provided access to a variety of professional development seminars, conferences, and workshops. Additionally, the department subscribes to sport-specific job-posting websites regularly utilized to find internships and jobs. Furthermore, during the spring of the first year a professional development section is included within the sport administration course and focuses on finding internships and jobs in conjunction with resume development and interviewing skills. Finally, faculty members assist in all areas of professional development.

What are the job prospects for someone graduating from this program?

Most graduates immediately find jobs in the sport industry, and many find full-time employment from their internship organizations. Some students choose to continue graduate school by enrolling in PhD programs or other master’s programs. Employment placement rates are near 100% but vary slightly from year to year

How do I set up a visit?

To set up a visit, please contact Amy Vold. Amy is the administrative coordinator for graduate programs within SOK. Amy will customize a visit based on your interests. Amy’s email is avold@bsu.edu. Her phone number is 765-285-4453.

Program Requirements

Students have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) depending on their career goals.

Total Credits: 33

Courses

Master of Arts

Students need to complete a 33-credit curriculum highlighted by an onsite internship or a research project supervised by a faculty mentor. The MA focuses on applied experience that can translate to employment after graduation.

Core Courses

12 Credits
  • SPTA 611: Sport Marketing and Promotions
  • SPTA 615: Sport Law
  • SPTA 617: Financial Principles in Sport
  • SPTA 676: Sport Administration Theory and Policy Development

Research Requirements

9 Credits

Students must choose one of the following options.

Internship Option (MA)

  • PEP 601: Research Applications (non-thesis)
  • SPTA 698: Internship

Research Paper/Creative Project Option (MA)

  • PEP 601: Research Applications (non-thesis)
  • EDPS 641: Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • RES 697: Research Paper OR
  • CRPR 698: Creative Project

Electives

12 Credits 
  • SPTA 603: Sport Administration Ethics and Philosophy
  • SPTA 605: Organization and Administration of Recreation Programs
  • SPTA 619: Sport Facility and Event Administration
  • SPTA 620: Seminar in Sport Administration
  • SPTA 628: International and Comparative Administration of Sport
  • SPTA 677: Intercollegiate Athletics Policy
  • SPTA 691: Historical Foundations of Sport

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

View Catalog

Students need to complete a 33-credit curriculum highlighted by the completion of a research (thesis). This option is ideal for students interested in pursuing further education at the doctoral level.

Core Courses 

12 Credits 
  • SPTA 611: Sport Marketing and Promotions
  • SPTA 615: Sport Law
  • SPTA 617: Financial Principles in Sport
  • SPTA 676: Sport Administration Theory and Policy Development

Thesis Option

12 Credits 
  • EXSC 611: Research Design and Data Analysis
  • EDPS 641: Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • THES 698: Thesis

Electives 

9 Credits 
  • SPTA 603: Sport Administration Ethics and Philosophy
  • SPTA 605: Organization and Administration of Recreation Programs
  • SPTA 619: Sport Facility and Event Administration
  • SPTA 620: Seminar in Sport Administration
  • SPTA 628: International and Comparative Administration of Sport
  • SPTA 677: Intercollegiate Athletics Policy
  • SPTA 691: Historical Foundations of Sport

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

View Catalog

 

Paying for Your Education

 

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Then you will need to meet our admissions criteria and apply.

Apply Now

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or, if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.