The Human side of Sports Management, Athletic Scandals and Athlete Behavior

Sports Management is a field that produces opportunities to work in a variety of sports-related capacities. According to Careers in Sports Management, people who work in sports management are interested in both sports and business. In school, sports management professionals learn about finance, marketing, law, and business as they apply to the world of sports. After completing their education, graduates can work in amateur, collegiate, or professional athletics in just about any type of sport and often find jobs as managers, scouts, coaches, and marketing and public relations specialists.  Stacey Marone, reported, sports management programs focus on the business and administrative aspects of the industry including sales, marketing, sponsorship, branding, operations, and economics.

Sports Management is widely seen as the business of sports. If sports management is the business of sports and athletes are effectively the business, shouldn’t people studying sports management be knowledgeable about the personal development issues and challenges facing their key asset responsible for generating or losing revenue?


“What is the ROI on personal development services for athletes?”


In interviews with college athletic and academic personnel, regarding a serious investment in the personal development for the athlete, the overall consensus seems to be “we cant measure personal development the way we can measure wins and losses or graduation rates.” Quickly followed by, “what is the ROI in personal development services for athletes?” Well, the ROI is becoming increasingly clear to many on the college and professional level. Therefore aspiring sports management professionals should take notice.


Probably the biggest and most recent example of what happens when we underestimate the personal development needs of athletes is Baylor University. SI Wire reported the widespread sexual assault scandal involving Baylor’s football program has cost the university more than $76 million. Bears for Leadership reform commissioned HSSK, a professional services firm, to estimate expenses and lost revenue due to the scandal. HSSK managing director Jared Jordan wrote, according to KWTX TV, “It is my estimation that the financial impact of the sexual assault crisis at Baylor could be as much or more than $223 million consisting of $121.7 million in costs and $101.3 million in lost revenues through 2019,”

Coaches and Administration

Athletes aren’t alone in the need to understand personal development as displayed in the Rutgers scandal. Since 2013 according to USA Today, Rutgers has spent at least $2.3 million on the scandals — a figure that includes settlements, search firms, and crisis management consultants. It’s amazing how we are surprised by coaches behavior but ignore educating coaches on athlete behavior and more importantly athlete needs.


On the professional level, it’s not just the individual athlete that lose financially when ill-advised behavior is exhibited. Shareholders of Nike, Gatorade, and other Tiger Woods sponsors lost a collective 5 to 12 billion in the wake of the scandal involving his extramarital affairs, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis.

What If…
The athlete can be considered the driving force in sports management, without athletes sports would be non-existent. What if we started educating people in the business of sports on the human side of the business of sports management? We have become so consumed with generating revenue and the bottom line of winning and losing. We have misjudged the need to provide education on the personal development and well-being of the business. To such a point that athletic scandals are becoming too common and costly.


A Sports Management degree covers all required areas of running the business of sport but has neglected to educate its potential graduates on athlete behavior and the direct relationship to achieving the goal of managing a successful athletic organization. The answer to the question, what is the ROI on PPD programs and services to the university? The ROI is in the millions if you consider, Baylor University lost $223 million, Rutgers University lost 2.3 million, shareholders of Tiger Woods lost 5-12 Billion and schools such as Ole Miss had to part ways with 7.8 million and UNC-Chapel Hill is missing 18 million. Mainly because they all misunderstood the ROI of the personal development of the key asset (the athlete) of the business of sports.





See more Interviews, Articles or Videos

Back To PPD Mag

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *