Information Session | MA in Athletic Leadership

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Learn more about Rider University’s online Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership program as the Program Director gives an overview highlighting requirements and typical student affinities.

Transcript

AJ Arroyo:

Hi everybody, my name is AJ, I am one of the enrollment advisors here at Rider University. I just want to take a second to thank everybody for joining us today on our information session regarding the online Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership. I would like to take a second and just introduce our enrollment team.

AJ Arroyo:

Obviously, there’s myself, Aj Arroyo, we also have Valeria Bernard, Paul Eames, Cathy Rodriguez and Noel Sepulveda. We are all here to help students answer any questions that you guys might have, and then also just help guide you through the application process. Today I’m joined by our program director, Dr. Gary Brosvic. Thank you so much for joining us today, Gary. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Gary Brosvic:

Be happy to. The last 50 odd years I’ve spent my time as a martial artist, came out of the military. Was deeply impressed early on in the martial arts, that there was a connection between your mind and what your body could do, and that your mind could tell your body to do virtually anything. What I offer here is the phrase, well, do you think you can do it, or you can’t do it, if each were true. I was able to take the martial arts and put that together through the military, and when I went to college, I discovered something that didn’t exist yet, and that was called sports psychology.

Gary Brosvic:

I spent the last 30 odd years teaching sports psychology, working with our athletes, teaching them to push beyond the physical, their mental barriers, work on mental toughness, and to understand that their discipline, which helps build their bodies, is discipline. It’s the same discipline in gym as it is in the classroom. They simply haven’t learned how to connect it. I spent a good chunk of my life trying to help people make that connection.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome. Thank you very much, Gary. As far as the admissions requirements go for the program here, the first thing that you’ll need to do is complete your online application with the $50 non-refundable application fee. That’s going to be the most important part. Secondly, students will be to have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited school. We will need the transcripts from that program. We’ll also need two professional letters of recommendation, providing us their name, phone number, and email address so that we can contact your references, as well as a written personal statement. Pretty much just describing what it is that you want to do within athletics or athletic administration. At this point, we don’t have a minimum GPA for the program, and we actually don’t require any standardized testing. Gary, would you like to speak a little bit about that to that?

Gary Brosvic:

I would and thank you. The reason why we don’t have those requirements, which many school do, is that they don’t predict your success in the program. You may have only gone to college to play. Or you may have been in college and you just really didn’t care. If you’re like me, you were a high school dropout and you found college to be incredibly challenging and you went and just to play ball. What I’m really looking for in that letter is your passion. Why it is you want to do this? Why it is you think you’d be good at doing this? And how it is you think the program can help you? Because that passion and the discipline you had to play at one time, that’s what’s going to carry you through the program. It’s going to carry you through life.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome. Thank you so much, Gary. Would you be able to give us a little bit of an overview of the program?

Gary Brosvic:

When we looked across the country, what we couldn’t find was a program in athletic leadership. There were programs in sports, there were programs in sports business, there were programs of sports management, what there really wasn’t was a program that would help you understand the entire athletic enterprise. We went to the coaches and asked the coaches, “What do people need to know about what you do to do their jobs better and to help you do yours better?” We did the same thing with the administration, we did the same thing with the athletic trainers. When we were all said and done, we came up with a total of 36 hours, entirely online. The goal of the program is to introduce you to the basics of the athletic enterprise, here using the university level Division I model, but it’s also adapted down to the junior high school, at the high school level, DII, DIII, et cetera.

Gary Brosvic:

The program has four tracks and we’ll be going through these tracks separately toward the end of the presentation here. Tracking coaching, tracking athletic administration, one in sports psychology, and what is called a career exploration track. The important thing is that you can see yourself in one of these tracks. There are some that are specific to jobs you may be holding now that you want to be better at, there are some that might apply specifically to jobs you would like to have somewhere inside the future, but across these, you’re going to get a solid education in the athletic enterprise.

Gary Brosvic:

Probably the most unique feature of the program is that you’re only going to be taught by people who actually do what they teach. Those who happen to teach coaching are professional coaches. As far as the [inaudible 00:05:08] goes, those who teach administration, they’re the people who are on the field, setting up the field, they’re the ones working on governance issues, they’re working on the finance issues, they’re working on the communications issues. For example, if you take the course in communications, that will be taught by the associate athletic director, her specialty is communications, and she takes care of that for all 20 Division I teams.

Gary Brosvic:

Or you come to sport psychology, you will be taught by someone who actually does this work professionally with civilians, with the military, most attracted to the programs. The important thing here to keep in mind is a certain sense of reality, and a certain sense of local circumstances. For some people, you need a master’s for promotion. They’re assistant coaches who want to move up, they happen to be members of an athletic staff who need a master’s to move up, they might be established professional coaches, relatively accomplished, who also need a master’s to move up. For some people, they need a master’s. What they don’t want to take is a master’s in a discipline or an area that they have no interest in and they really can’t use. The athletic leadership works very well for them.

Gary Brosvic:

Then there is another group. This is a group that went to college so that they could play ball, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some of our best students in the program had perfect 2.10 GPA’s when they graduated and everybody told them they were finished. What they didn’t appreciate is that they could take their time playing, and take that discipline we talked about before, and they could apply it to academics and they could make the program athletic leadership work for them. That’s the reason why we don’t care about a particular GPA coming in. I really care about your passion. These are people who absolutely excel, but they have a new opportunity in front of them and they have a program that will help them move to their next particular level.

Gary Brosvic:

Then honestly, there are some people who are just looking several steps down the road. These are people who are relatively accomplished athletes. They may or may not have made it professionally. They may have played professionally and then they may have been injured. They want to come back in and they want to do coaching or athletic administration, but what they see upfront is a need for a graduate degree. Once again, not any graduate degree, going for an MBA or going for some particular degree, but something that connects to their passion and to their career path. That is athletic leadership.

Gary Brosvic:

Think about internship requirements, first thing you want to have is a sense [inaudible 00:07:34]. You want to think about where you are, you want to think about what you can do, you want to keep in mind NCAA Division I rules or Division III rules if you happen to be trying to work at a college or a university, and you want to ask yourself, “What can I do in the area that I happen to be in?” As a general rule of thumb, 50 hours of contact time, and if you happen to be a coach or assistant coach, that can come very, very quickly. It is the equivalent of one credit hour of work. You’re looking for opportunities where you can put in roughly 150 hours. There’s some understanding that seasons will be different, locations will be different, sports will be different, things happen like rain days. The exact number, it’s not the defining issue.

Gary Brosvic:

But what you really want to be able to do is to look where you are and ask yourself, “Are you already on a team, and on that team, could you help out?” Do you happen to be in an area where there happen to be club sports that you could help out with. In your neighborhood, are there organized sports where you can help out with? If you went back to your local high school, when you were an athlete there, is it possible you could help out with one of the teams you may have been part of? You go and talk to your employer and you’d ask yourself, “Hey, can I use my current job,” if it happened to be connected to athletics, “for interest of credit,” and the answer to that for me is sure.

Gary Brosvic:

Or is it the case that your employer happens to sponsor? I’ll give you this as a working example. One of our students is a state trooper, and on his rotating shifts, he can never get near a sports team somewhere. In some cases, he runs across individuals on sports teams he may have had legal matters to deal with. My suggestion to him is why don’t you go to the police athletic [inaudible 00:09:22]? When you go to the police athletics, you suddenly discover that you have access to many sports, they directly connect to your job, and it gives you an opportunity to put your internship around what you currently happen to be doing.

Gary Brosvic:

Credit for prior experience for academic specialization. The bottom line is that New Jersey requires 30 post BA credit hours for a master’s degree. The program is 36 hours. That leaves a possibility of getting credit for up to six credit hours. That can be done in several ways. You may have coached, helped a coach, and we’d be willing to exchange three credit hours of internship for one season of having coached or helping the coach. You may have worked in a management capacity in something related to athletics. You may have worked somewhere in exercise science, physical therapy, or rehab. Once again, we’d be exchanging one year of experience there for each of the internships.

Gary Brosvic:

When it comes down to particular courses, in terms of specialization, well, that’s going to require a personal conversation between you and me. I will tell you the following things. If you majored in accounting or finances, you’ve probably already covered the materials for the finance and sports course. That could be a reasonable exchange. If you majored in exercise science, you probably already have the fundamentals of athletic training and athletic wellness and risk management. Those would be reasonable exchanges.

Gary Brosvic:

If you were a communications major, then the mass media course and marketing in sports, it’s probably always been covered for you. If you were in the health sciences, you probably had a course in kinesiology, in which case, strength and conditioning would probably be covered for you. These are all, once again, possibilities that all require particular experiences, and they require particular conversations with the program director.

Gary Brosvic:

The career exploration track, often referred to as a generalist track, was how the master’s in athletic leadership originally started. The goal behind that program was to make sure that you had a solid introduction to the athletic enterprise. You came in, you had a course in sports psychology, you had a course in evaluating interventions, you had a course in athletic leadership, and you had the two internships. From there, you had specialties that you could go into, which could be one of the tracks we’re going to talk about shortly, or it could very well be the case that you might look in your local area and go, “I should take the course in athletic facilities, because if I understand how facilities are put together and how to care for them,” and that’s taught by our director of athletic facilities who does exactly that, “that’s a pathway into the field of athletics.” No one gets to start as the head coach, no one gets to start as the athletic director. You start at the lowest possible level and you work your way up into the system.

Gary Brosvic:

Every course you would be taking in that generalist track, was a pathway. Whether it was communications, it was working in athletes and strength and conditioning, whether you wanted to work with people in the finances, each one of those was a pathway into the athletic enterprise. The coaching track is not designed to make you a coach. You might be coming into the program as an experienced coach. You might be coming in as an assistant coach. You might be coming in as someone who’s going to be helping the assistant coach. That happens to be an excellent way to work your way on to a team. Probably the highlight of the coaching track is the two-course sequence. The first of those courses is principles of coaching, where you lay out the entire spectrum of concepts that goes into being a coach, problem identification, problem solution.

Gary Brosvic:

Then the second part. The second part’s a very critical part, and you’re going to hear part of this in the athletic administrative track description as well. The second part is a course I wrote, it’s called developing a philosophy of coaching. When you do that, I’m not talking about, here’s my philosophy of coaching. We’re talking about working your way through probably 100 or more case studies with an experienced coach. As you’re working through the case studies, which you were doing as you were learning to ask a series of questions, who was involved? What the problem could be? What the mitigating factors could be? What the solutions could be? What are the legal implications of doing something? What are the practical implications of doing something for a team? And then coming up with evidence-based solutions for this.

Gary Brosvic:

What this allows you to do is to find yourself in an interview, when someone looks at you and says, “Please tell me your philosophy of coaching.” When that happens to you, your mind will go blank, but here, you’ll be able to fall back. When someone says, “In this situation, what would you do?” That you’ve been trained to that 100 odd series of case studies to be able to identify problems, to come up with good solutions, and most importantly, to be the kind of person who says, “Here’s the problem,” which anybody can do, but you can also offer up a solution. That is the way to advance your career.

Gary Brosvic:

Athletic administration track. It’s also a four-course sequence. Like the coaching track, it has a highlight piece. That highlight piece is taught to you by our senior associate athletic director. This is the person who deals with nothing but problems all day long. What he will teach you about will be the principles of athletic administration, heavy on governance, that of course will be dictated by the school system you happen to be working on. Junior high schools being different from high schools, being different from colleges, be it Division I, II or III. You will understand the rules, if you will, by which sports have to be played, at the level of governance.

Gary Brosvic:

The second part of that is very much like the coaching track. It’s over 100 odd sets of case studies, and what your faculty member will do with you is to work through each and every case study. Once again, teaching you to pull out the facts of the matter, being able to identify who is involved, being able to document who said what about what, being able to determine what policies are in effect, which policies may have been violated, and most importantly, not being the person who says, “You did something wrong. This was bad, this is horrible,” but you’re going to be able to do solutions. Imagine yourself when someone asks you later on, “Here’s the problem, how should we fix it?” People go, “I don’t know.” You will be trained to come up with those answers. That’s the way you advance yourself in athletic administration.

Gary Brosvic:

In the sports psychology track, you will see three courses. There’s also a fourth one, that’s the introductory sports psychology class, athletic 501. You actually have the opportunity to take four courses in sports psychology. Now for a master’s program, I want to be honest with you. You probably won’t get those four courses in a PhD program in sports psychology, because very few programs offer what we have. This program is not going to make you a sports psychologist. Psychologist is a legal term that comes with the license, it comes with the state and the national examination, so I want to be crystal clear with you on that. These courses could well take you along the way to becoming a first step, which is called a certified mental performance coach, and a certified mental performance coach takes five courses, plus 250 hours of supervision, and that’s a career.

Gary Brosvic:

If you look online, you will see those people who are actually being hired as those certified mental performance coaches, largely by professional teams. This morning, for example, three ads popped up on a national website looking for military people. They have people willing to go to military bases and work with special ops people, which is something I do. There are also two that came up this morning for the Philadelphia Phillies. Those are real positions. Now this program won’t take you there. It will take you part of the way.

Gary Brosvic:

What these courses offer you is an incredible insight in working with athletes. Not just in terms of their performance, not in terms of their technical skills, but in terms of their personalities. Because they are people too. Unlike most people, when we happen to have a bad day at work, we get to start all over again. But for an athlete, you don’t. That meet, it came and it went and you’re done. You’re known by virtue of that performance that day. You might be the person who doesn’t want to do all the work to become a sports psychologist, and there’s a lot that has to be done.

Gary Brosvic:

You might be the person who wants to be the resource individual, who was the old man or woman or the seed per se, who’s just been around a long time, who is very good at talking to people and working out some low level personal problems with them. That would be fine. As long as you don’t ever present yourself as being a counselor. What the track gives you, is I think honestly, something you won’t see in really any PhD program in the country. Go to Europe, you might find something close to it.

AJ Arroyo:

Awesome. Gary, thank you so much for all of that information. Definitely eyeopening and a lot of great stuff there. Thank you everybody for watching our webinar today and listening in. I just want to let everybody know that we are currently accepting applications for the athletic leadership master’s program. Feel free to give us a call at (877) 856-5140, you can email us at admissions@online.rider.edu, or you can schedule an appointment with us using our live vCita link, which you see right here on the page. Thank you so much for joining us everybody, take care.