Sport Management program

MUndergrad major

Learn the business side of sports.

Sport managers help plan, organize, and implement the nearly $500 billion sport industry. As one of two public universities in Wisconsin that offer a Sport Management major, UW-La Crosse’s program is focused on providing practical experiences, teaching best practices, and building conceptual skills to be leaders in the sport industry.

UWL’s reputable program and strong alumni network have helped graduates find successful careers in a highly competitive sports industry for more than three decades, including positions with the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers, Milwaukee Brewers and many more. 

What is a sport management major?

Sport management prepares students for a variety of sport-related careers within professional sports, intercollegiate athletics, community/recreational sports, corporate sports organizations, non-profit organizations, and the fitness industry.

UWL gave me so many things. It was a huge part of my development not only professionally, but as a person. - Brian Gutekunst, Green Bay Packers general manager. Photo courtesy of The Green Bay Packers.

Brian Gutekunst

Careers in sport management

One of the oldest programs in the nation, UWL’s Sport Management Program has been a major at UWL since 1986. Alumni from the program have impacted the sport industry both nationally and internationally. 

Sport Management is also an attractive major for those considering graduate studies.

UWL graduate careers

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Chicago Fire Soccer Club
  • Georgia PGA
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • International Paralympic Committee
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Ohio State University
  • Sacramento Kings
  • South Texas PGA, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Special Olympics Wisconsin
  • University of Denver
  • Wisconsin Badgers
  • Many more

Career paths

  • Broadcasting
  • Compliance
  • Event management
  • Facility operations
  • Financing
  • Fitness centers
  • Fundraising
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Recreation management
  • Sales
  • Social media
  • Sport information
  • Sport psychology
  • More

What distinguishes UWL’s Sport Management Program?

Reputation as a great value school

UWL is ranked in the top 20 colleges for Return on Investment by Great Value Colleges, the only Wisconsin university to appear on the list. Also, U.S. News & World Report has ranked UWL as the No. 1 comprehensive university in the UW System on the national universities ranking.

Small class sizes

UWL boasts at 19:1 student-faculty ratio. Just over 90% of classes have fewer than 50 students, leading to a strong relationship between faculty and students with individualized attention.

High-profile internships and job opportunities

Students complete the program with an internship. They select from a wide variety of high-profile sports organizations. The strong historical reputation of UWL’s Sport Management program has helped students land internships or jobs with the Forward Madison FC, Packers, Bucks, Brewers, Milwaukee Admirals, Milwaukee Herd, the University of Wisconsin – Madison Badgers, Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, American Junior Golf Association, United States Olympic Committee, and more.

Gain practical experience in the La Crosse area

Students have opportunities to get involved in other practical experiences outside of class. La Crosse offers experiences that range from college sports and recreation to local sport organizations such as golf clubs, ski resorts, and youth community centers.

Flexibility to add a minor

A total of 120 credits are required to graduate with a bachelor's degree in Sport Management. These credits include general education credits, elective credits and credits in the Sports Management program. Students are encouraged to add a minor in areas such as Business Administration, Communication Studies, or Recreation Management, tailoring their studies according to their professional interests.

Join an athletic or rec sports team

The university has 31 NCAA DIII athletic teams that have accumulated 71 national championships. Those not interested in joining a UWL athletic team can still participate in sports. Roughly 85% of UWL students participate in one of the many recreational sports, intramural sports, and sport clubs on campus.

Mind and body is campus culture

UWL’s motto is “Mens Corpusque”, Latin for “Mind and Body.” While the university offers more than 130 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, a focus on balancing mind and body is part of the university’s history and culture.

Notable alumni
  • Aaron Aanonsen (2005) – Director of Athletics, Wisconsin Lutheran College
  • Hailey Aderman (2016) – Athletic Director, Special Olympics Wisconsin
  • Nick Bernhardt (2006) – Athletic Director, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse
  • Katie Ehlen (2014) – Director of Basketball Operations, Illinois State University
  • Scott Geary (2011) – Executive Director, Georgia PGA
  • Brian Gutekunst (2016) – General Manager, Green Bay Packers
  • Josh Moon (2003) – Athletic Director, UW-Green Bay
  • Kristina Navarro (2006) – Athletic Director, UW-Platteville
  • Amy Ufnowski (2004) – Communications Manager, ESPN
  • Krissy Zegers (2002) – Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and Stadium Tour Manager
Application is required

Prospective UWL students must first apply for general admission to UWL. A UWL cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better and 30 credit hours including general education courses is required to apply for the Sport Management program. Applicants must also earn a "C" or higher in pre-admission core courses (BIO 100 or BIO 105 or MIC100; and ESS 110)

The application process aims to help students gain professional experiences. It includes:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Two completed job shadow or informational interview reports
  • Sport management related experience
  • Interview with a screening committee

Sample courses