Frequently Asked Questions

General Information Questions – GVSU Sport Leadership

Q: What is the difference between sport leadership, sport management, and sport administration?

A: In higher education programs these terms are used interchangeably for degrees that train professionals to run sport organizations. In these academic programs students learn to lead organizations through applying leadership, management, general business, leisure, communication and socio-cultural theory in sport specific settings.

Q:  What kinds of jobs (and at what kinds of salaries) will I be qualified for if I study sport leadership?

A: Many jobs fall under the broad heading of sport leadership. There are jobs in the public sector such as with sport, fitness, and recreation organizations (for example, YMCA, city parks and recreation departments), interscholastic or intercollegiate athletic programs (athletic directors, sports marketing, sports promotions, sports information, facilities and events management), or professional athletics (ticket sales, promotions, personnel). The area you’re best suited for will be a function of your personal interests and your experiences (including where you do your practicum and internship).  It goes without saying that the harder you work and the more mature you are, the more likely it will be that you’ll get the job you’re after. The website will help you identify your potential interests in the sport industry.

Q:  I’d really like to stay in West Michigan after graduation.  Are there sport management opportunities here?

A: Like most mid-size cities, West Michigan has its fair share of sport management opportunities. There are several minor league professional teams in the area (for example, West Michigan Whitecaps, Grand Rapids Griffins, Muskegon Timberwolves, Grand Rapids DRIVE). There are also organizations such as the West Michigan Sports Commission and colleges, universities, and K-12 schools that might offer what you’re looking for. There are privately owned facilities as well as parks and recreation departments that offer sports and many other activities in several cities such as Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Kentwood. The important thing to remember is that the more you limit yourself to a specific location, the more you’ll also be limiting yourself in terms of jobs that are available.  If you have push yourself in the classroom, network, and seek to gain work experience while in college, you will put yourself in the best possible position to compete with others who also wish to remain in the area. The best approach is to be flexible in regard to both the type of job you’re willing to take and the geographic location you’ll accept (especially when you’re first starting out). 

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Course Requirements

Q:  Is it advantageous to pursue a minor in addition to the sport leadership emphasis?

A: Yes. You can further pursue an area in which you are interested. A minor shows drive and willingness to diversify your educational background.  You may investigate a list of minors available on the GVSU website. While any minor is beneficial, many sport leadership students pursue a minor in general business because some of the coursework overlaps.   

Q: What classes do I need to get a minor in business while completing the Sport Leadership Emphasis?

A: If you are completing the Sport Leadership Emphasis you are well on your way to fulfilling the requirement for a minor in business from the Seidman College of Business at GVSU.  Specifically, the College of Business requires six courses for a minor.  Three of the six are also required for our Sport Management Concentration (ACC 212, BUS 201, MGT 331).  Another course (MKT 350) is one of the options you have to fulfill a "Sport Resource Management" requirement in our program. Additional information about the minor can be found on the Seidman College of Business website.

Q:  I am in the Sport Management Concentration but I am also interested in eventually becoming a coach.  Is there any way I can receive training to be a coach in addition to my training in the Sport Management Concentration?

A: The Certificate in Sport Coaching provides prospective coaches with theoretical knowledge and practical experiences in accordance with the National Standards for Sport Coaches. The focused coursework consisting of MOV 201: Psycho-social Aspects of Physical Education and Sport, PED 217/218: Modern Principles of Athletic Training/Lab, PED 355: Current Topics in Coaching, and PED 460: Fieldwork in Sport Leadership (Coaching) stresses the importance of developing an athlete-centered coaching philosophy and a scientifically-based understanding of current issues in sports medicine, motor learning and coaching theory.  Students completing the Certificate in Sport Coaching will have a record of this accomplishment appear on their academic transcript.

Notice that you will be required to complete a second “Fieldwork” in addition to the one required for your Sport Management Concentration.  This one must be in a coaching setting.

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Q:  How do I register for 300-400 level classes offered in the Seidman College of Business?

A:    There are several 300-400 level courses offered through the Seidman College of Business that are part of the Sport Management concentration. Please be aware that the College of Business has the following special requirements you must meet in order to register for their 300-400 level classes:

(1)  As a Non-Seidman College of Business major, you need a 2.0 or higher overall GPA in order to be eligible for 300-400 level Seidman College of Business courses. All students (majors and non-majors) need to have 55 or more earned hours to enroll in 300-400 level Seidman courses.

(2)  If you have earned 55 credits and have an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher, you can register yourself for 300-400 level courses in the Seidman College of Business.

(3)  If you have an overall GPA between 2.0 and 2.749, you have to contact the College of Business office at 616-331-7500 for an override permit.

(4) If you have an overall GPA below 2.0, you cannot register for 300-400 level classes offered through the Seidman College of Business (as was stated in #1 above).

Q:  One of the courses I have to take in the Sport Management Concentration is CAP 305.  I can’t find it in any of the course listings.  Where is information on this course located?

A:  CAP 305 is “Sports Promotion” and the abbreviation CAP stands for Communications: Advertising and Public Relations.  In University publications it can be found under the heading “Advertising/Public Relations.” Don’t confuse this with your “capstone” (PED 495) requirement.

 Fieldwork and Internships Questions

Q: Will the Sport Leadership Program at GVSU find my fieldwork or internship placement site for me?

A:  No. It is your responsibility to contact appropriate sites that will offer you the best possible field experiences. Once you have made initial contact with a site that you feel can provide you with the experience you’re looking for, it needs to be approved by the Sport Leadership fieldwork/internship coordinator.  There are two main reasons it is in your best interest to find your own practical experiences.  First, you know the kinds of training you’re interested in… the types of experiences you’re looking for. If we “placed” you in a position, it might not be the kind of thing you find interesting.  Second, when you take the initiative to contact a prospective job site supervisor, you are demonstrating your ability to be a mature and responsible professional.  If you were going to hire someone, wouldn’t you be far more impressed if the prospective applicant contacted you him/herself rather than have a faculty member call on his/her behalf? Although it’s your responsibility to set up the initial contacts, the faculty in the program might be able to give you a suggestion or two to get you started.

Q:  When should I start planning for my fieldwork and internships?

A:  The earlier you start thinking about what kind of position you’d like to get during your practical experiences, the more likely you’ll get a valuable and productive experience. Think about the kinds of jobs that interest you.  It’s not enough to simply say, “I don’t know what I want to do…I just know I want to somehow be involved in sports.”  You have to do some homework by talking to people, exploring the web, writing papers for your other classes, etc. that will help you discover what kinds of jobs are available and whether you find them interesting.

Q:  What courses do I have to complete BEFORE going on my fieldwork (PED 460) or internship (PED 490)?

A: Before going on your internship (PED 490) you MUST satisfactorily complete (or currently be enrolled in) your fieldwork experience (PED 460).  The courses you need to take in order to enroll for this fieldwork (PED 460) depend on whether you are in the Sport Management or the Coaching Concentration. If you are in the Sport Management Concentration (and therefore planning for a Sport Management fieldwork) you need to have completed MOV 102 (First Aid and CPR), and PED 356 (Current Topics in Sport Management).  If you are preparing for a coaching fieldwork, you must have completed either MOV 102 (First Aid and CPR) or PED 217 (Modern Principles in Athletic Training).  In addition, you need to have completed PED 355 (Current Topics in Coaching). Please note that PED 355 and PED 356 have their own prerequisites. Enrollment in PED 460 also requires that you be of at least Junior status and have the instructor’s permission to enroll.

Q:  Can I take PED 460 (Fieldwork) and PED 490 (Internship) in the same semester?

A:  No. The two field experiences are designed to build on one another.  The valuable experience you gain during your fieldwork will make it more likely you'll have a great experience during your internship.  With this in mind, notice that PED 460 is a prerequisite for PED 490.

Q:  Can I do my fieldwork (PED 460) and my internship (PED 490) at the same placement site?

A:  Generally speaking, no. The main purpose of these practical experience courses is to provide you with a wide range of educational experiences and prepare you for a variety of potential career positions. Completing both field experiences at the same site will usually limit you to working in that particular area.  If…and this is rather rare… you can work at the same placement site but in a totally different job and under a different on-site supervisor, then it might be possible to complete both your fieldwork and your internship at the same location.  This is very unusual and you MUST get prior approval for this from the faculty in Sport Leadership. Remember, our main concern is that you ultimately receive the best (and broadest) educational experiences possible.

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Q:  What’s the difference between PED 460 (Fieldwork in Sport Leadership) and PED 490 (Internship is Sport Leadership)?

A: In addition to the fact that the 6 credit hour internship requires twice as much time commitment as the 3 hour fieldwork, the primary difference is the level of training and experience you are expected to have – and therefore the assumptions about your ability to perform higher level assignments that comes with PED 490. During your fieldwork experiences you are expected to be an “entry-level” worker.  You are not necessarily expected to arrive with a great deal of previous training or practical experience.  On the other hand, during your internship (PED 490) your supervisors should be able to expect more from you – both in terms of the quality and quantity of the work you perform.  After all, you have already completed at least 135 hours of practical work experience in a similar setting (as part of your PED 460 prerequisite). Because of this, your supervisors will often give you additional responsibilities and set higher performance expectations for all your assignments.

Q:  Is there a difference between the PED 460/PED 490 practical experiences for students interested in the “Sport Management” versus those interested in “Coaching”?

A: Yes and no. Obviously, the intent is the same – to give every student in the program a valuable practice learning experience in their chosen field before they graduate. If you’re interested in coaching, the most important thing to do is get as much coaching experience as possible before you go onto the job market.  That means a fieldwork (PED 460) and an internship (PED 490) in a COACHING setting –not in sport management.  On the other hand, if you are interested in being trained for a sport management job, you need to have as much sport management experience as possible – that means fieldwork and internships in SPORT MANAGEMENT – not in coaching.

Q:  How many hours do I have to work on site during my fieldwork and internship in order to meet the minimum requirements for credit in my fieldwork (PED 460) and internship (PED 490)?

A:  For PED 460 (Fieldwork) your MINIMUM obligation is 135 hours during the semester.  For the 6 credit PED 490 (Internship) yourMINIMUM requirement is 270 hours of work during the semester. For the 12 credit PED 490 (internship) the MINIMUM number of hours required is 540 hours per semester. It’s important to remember that the many (if not most) placement sites will require you to work beyond these minimum requirements. It’s important to think of additional hours – beyond these minimums – as tremendous opportunities for you to get extra experience and training for free!

Q:  Beyond the number of hours of work required, what’s the difference between the 6 and 12 credit hour internships (PED 490)?

A:  Nothing. The number of hours you are required to work is basically the only difference. Remember, in order to graduate, you must complete the 3 credit fieldwork (PED 460) and at least the 6 credit internship (PED 490).  The reason we offer an additional internship option of 12 credit hours is so that you can accept in an internship position anywhere.

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Advising Information

Q:  Whom should I contact if I need more information about the Sport Leadership program?

A: The best place to start is at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Advising Center located in C-1-140 MAK. They can help with general questions about the program and GVSU requirements for graduation.  If you have specific questions, you can contact any of the Sport Leadership Program faculty members and you will also be assigned a faculty advisor.

If you’re already enrolled in the Sport Leadership Program the name of your advisor can be found on myBanner--> Student--> Registration--> Major and Advisor information