Enrollment in a new sports business major at the University of Iowa is taking off. Dan Matheson — who used to work in the New York Yankees business office– now teaches as part of the U-I’s new recreation and sports business major.
“The program formed in fall 2011, and here we are a little over two years later and we’re at a little over 400 students who have declared rec and sport business as their degree program,” Matheson says.
The new major recognizes that it takes more than an athletic career to end up running the show. “It’s grown into a legitimate industry that requires competent and capable professionals to manage,” Matheson says. “Gone are the days, that a generation or two ago, former players were bumped into the front office to manage the team. You really need trained professionals.”
He says the University of Iowa is a good example. “We’ve got an $85 million athletics budget. That’s not something you can just hand an eighty-five million dollar budget over to a former coach who doesn’t have some more specific business training,” Matheson says.
The university’s website says the major covers everything from club and recreation sports to high school and college sports programs.