Fau football sports management – owlaccess.com

Yes, Lane Kiffin coached a high-powered offense badly in need of a starting center to fill the roster void created by All-Conference USA selection Antonyo Woods’ graduation. But Diaz, who already secured a prestigious undergraduate degree from Tulane University in management marketing, found something of value for his post-football career, too.

“Jim Riordan’s been great,” Kiffin said, “He even meets with these kids when they come and visit on their unofficial or official visits. Obviously a great program over there. A number of kids have gone through it. That’s all part of kids choosing where they go is there are all kinds of different things that go into that. Sometimes the ones that have figured it out, the education aspects are a big part of that.”

Truth is, the FAU Sports MBA program, a program that would by its nature draw the interest of athletes, is rather exclusive. Of the approximately 75 students currently in the program – 30 taking classes on campus, another 45 or so taking online classes – about a quarter of the participants are either athletes, both male and female, or are currently affiliated with the athletic department.

“We don’t give any special attention to athletes,” Program Director Jim Riordan said. “They have the same rules for admission requirements that every other regular student has. If there’s somebody that comes in who has a little bit a of a test score or GPA [question], what we do is conditionally admit them. They can’t get a grade lower than a B for the first academic year. They’ve been able to do that. We haven’t had to dismiss any of the athletes so far.”

“A lot of colleges and universities look for the sports management program to be a dumping ground for their athletes,” Riordan said. “That’s why we don’t have an undergraduate program here. Kids aren’t sure what they want to do. We look for the sports business executive person that wants to be the sports business student as opposed to be the sports business fan.”

Launched in 2000 when it was housed on FAU’s Fort Lauderdale campus, the Sports Management MBA program didn’t admit its first football player until quarterback Quez Johnson enrolled in 2015. Johnson received his degree and worked in FAU’s athletic department as a student athlete development coordinator before recently moving to the school’s admissions department.

Non football-playing graduates from the program have gone on to become the Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission (George Lindley), the CFO for Tennessee’s athletic department (Brett Huebner), the Miami Heat’s Director of Interactive Marketing and New Media (Jennifer Tobias), and, for the Florida Panthers, manager of hockey operations (Mike Dixon), assistant to the general manager (Braden Birch), and manager of hockey administration (Sydney Bell).

As a result, the number of non-athlete members in the MBA program who either hold internships with or are directly employed by the FAU athletic department often reaches double digits. The commute from work to the classroom for many of them will be shortened in the coming years when the $50 million Schmidt Athletic Complex, currently under construction next to Howard Schnellenberger Field, is complete. The Sports Management MBA program will remain under the umbrella of FAU’s business school, but the offices and classroom will reside in the Schmidt complex.

“I think having the athletes – in knowing about winning and losing, about fair play, about ethics, about social responsibility – I think they experience that in their practices, in their team situations, in their games and competitions,” Riordan said. “They add very well to the discussion when we talk about those things. I think they do bring something special.”