New Sport Leadership and Management Department Will Meet Rising Industry Demand and Soaring Student Interest

James M. Loy, Miami University

As the sport industry continues to boom with professional opportunity and public interest, Miami University welcomes the new department of sport leadership and management (SLAM) into the College of Education, Health and Society (EHS).

Dean Michael Dantley

“I am very pleased and excited about the creation of the sport leadership and management department,” says EHS Dean Michael E. Dantley. “The creation of this department comes after several years of deliberation and upon the recommendation of the external reviewers who came over three years ago to serve in the Program Review process for the department of kinesiology and health.”

Previously, SLAM was housed within the department of kinesiology and health (KNH). But as KNH became increasingly focused on the study of health and wellness, and as SLAM began to explore the business sides of sport, the decision to split into a new department became clear.

“As we really explored what this would mean for our students, for our faculty, and for the future of the program, it just made more sense to be able to pursue our own mission,” says SLAM Professor Melissa Chase.  

 melissa chase

SLAM will officially become an independent department on July 1. Going forward, the department will continue to focus on the management, coaching, journalism, and media aspects of sport, while also adding two new areas of study including a focus on eSport management and sport analytics in the coming months. 

Created through an award funded by Miami’s Boldly Creative initiative, sport analytics will first be offered during a 2020 summer academy, and then as a minor in the fall. SLAM will also collaborate with the College of Arts and Science to offer a sport analytics concentration within a data analytics bachelor’s degree.

“We are ahead of the curve in being able to offer programs in sport analytics,” Chase says. "In the near future, every sport organization will have a sport analytics department to assist with decision-making whether it is in the business of sport or performance of sport. We are excited to collaborate with colleagues across campus, such as statistics, information systems and analytics, and the Center for Analytics and Data Science, to prepare Miami students for new careers in sport analytics."

Overall demand and enrollment among Miami students studying sport have also continued to soar.

Since 2012, SLAM has risen from under 200 undergraduate majors to include over 600 today. That also includes an additional 150 students with SLAM minors.

“Our growth has been tremendous,” Chase says. “The faculty, the quality of our program has become well-known, and we're attracting students from all over the country and internationally."   

Students working at a Miami football gameFor an industry expected to soon exceed $80 billion in North America alone, part of this growth can be attributed to an availability of new career opportunities.

However, Chase says rising student interest is also due to many high profile cross-campus partnerships that further set Miami apart.

“We've had great support from EHS throughout the years and during this transition to a new department,” she says. “We also enjoy a good relationship with the Farmer School of Business, where our students take multiple courses and often pursue minors in business, marketing, or management. Miami athletics plays a key role in the success of our SLAM students by providing internship experiences each semester. All of these partnerships have had such a positive impact on our students and faculty.”

Administration is also highly supportive of the value, visibility, and opportunity SLAM will bring to campus.

“The tremendous faculty have served the academic and professional needs of the students in very careful and meticulous ways,” Dantley says. “This new department will make great contributions to the EHS community and will allow for even greater interdisciplinary collaborations with other departments and divisions throughout the university.”