Many children dream of growing up and playing professional sports. Most of us will never realize that dream, but there are other avenues to a career in sports. This is exactly what one former high school athlete and NCU graduate did.
Dr. Janice Wardle graduated from NCU with a PhD in Business Administration with a sports management specialization.
“I was a high school athlete and sports enthusiast. Both my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in business. So, for me, sports management is a perfect fit,” she said.
Wardle chose NCU because when she began her program, it was one of the few sports management doctoral programs in the country. Today, she is the Chair of Sports Management at Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware. In that role, she teaches in the classroom and online, coordinates internships for students, develops curriculum and supervises faculty.
“The best part of the job is that my meetings focus on a sports event 99 percent of the time. Many times I get paid to go to a professional or collegiate football, basketball or baseball game or play a round of golf,” she said. “Granted, I talk business for a while, but the setting of an arena, court or course for a meeting is so much more dynamic than a hotel conference room.” The field of sports management is a hot career right now for females.
“The sports management field is wide open for women,” Wardle said. “Most sports organizations are trying very hard to diversify their front offices. If a women knows about business, she can do just about anything in sports. For example, there are positions in community relations event planning, public relations, coaching, sports information, sports broadcasting, sports analytics, ticket sales, sports marketing and the list goes on. “
And lest you think you need to be Serena Williams, you don’t have to be a former athlete to make a career in sports.
“Remember, when looking for a job in sports management, organizations are looking for those who understand the operational side of sports, not just a fan of the sport,” according to Wardle.
Earning her PhD at NCU provided Wardle an opportunity for promotions at her university and allowed her to do some sports management consulting work.
“There are very few people who have their doctorate in sports management. Since I work in academia, an advanced degree is a requirement if you plan on getting promoted and tenure. I chose a PhD over the DBA because conducting research is a requirement at most universities and a PhD prepares you for research,” she said. Wardle certainly achieved a winning game plan for her career.