Sport Management receives accreditation

Wichita State’s Sport Management program has been working to receive accreditation from the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation for more than a year.

Starting this fall, the program will be one of only nine schools in the country to be accredited by COSMA.

“When COSMA was first formed, Wichita State immediately joined. We were one of the charter members of the organization,” Sport Management department chair Clay Stoldt said. “When COSMA established what its accreditation principles would be, we began making our application for review.”

The department had to submit an application to COSMA to be reviewed to receive the accreditation. The application process was a lengthy one, requiring a year of time and effort from the department and university.

COSMA has eight standards that each Sport Management program has to meet to receive the accreditation. WSU’s Sport Management program had to develop a self-study program that met and achieved all eight of the standards. Stoldt’s and the Sport Management department created two different documents of more than 400 pages that set out how WSU meets the standards for accreditation.

“We submitted our self-study and then a site visit team comes to document that all the evidence at hand is in alignment with what we said about ourselves in the self-study,” Stoldt said.

The site visit occurred in January and COSMA announced its decision in May after its board meeting in Seattle.

“We had four months where we just had to wait for the decision to be announced,” Stoldt said. “But we felt pretty good after the site visit.”

The profession of Sport Management has always been a competitive work field and Stoldt sees the accreditation as something to help students stand out from competition at other schools.

“I think it helps us standout in the competitive landscape of Sport Management,” Stoldt said.

There are 330 colleges and universities that offer some form of a sport management program. The accreditation will help WSU students gain an edge in receiving internships over students from other universities.

“We had an alumni reunion in April and one of our recent graduates came back to talk about a job she got at Disney Sports. The job she applied for had over 1,100 applicants,” Stoldt said. “Those internships are really critical. The COSMA accreditation will help our students standout in the competitive landscape of internships.”

Stoldt believes that a major part of the reason the program was able to receive the accreditation was a team effort by the Sport Management department and the entire university. When the COSMA team came on its visit, it wanted to meet with alumni, students and the advisory council.

“All of those people just knocked the visit out of the park,” Stoldt said. “On the last night that the team was here, the group couldn’t stop talking about the students. For us, the fact that they had such a high level of respect for the students in our department was probably the best part of the site visit.”