As the United States Sports Academy enters its 40th year as the only free-standing, accredited sport university in the United States, it is also significant to note that this year will see the college confer its 4,000th Master of Sport Science degree. Both milestones are truly remarkable and a cause for celebration.
The Academy was founded in 1972 in the wake of two seminal events in the history of American sport—the U.S. Olympic team’s dismal performance in the Munich Olympiad and the publishing of the Blythe-Müeller Report. The result was the realization by the leadership of the Academy (the founding CEO and three of the five founding board members still serve the institution) that the answer to improving the skill levels of coaches and the performances of athletes was better sports education. Thus, the Academy was born on April 22, 1972.
The Academy began as a special-mission graduate institution, offering master’s degree programs in sport disciplines and quickly became known around the world as “America’s Graduate School of Sports.” It had a Master of Sports Science degree in Sports Coaching, Sports Fitness, Sports Management, Sports Medicine and Sports Studies.
While the course content of these programs has evolved over time, the overall structure of the master’s degree programs has remained remarkably unchanged and true to its founding principles. The philosophical underpinning was the integration of sports science theory taught in the classroom combined with a strong experiential component called the “mentorship.” This allowed students to apply these principles under the guidance of an established professional in the field.
While the mentorship remains the preferred means for Academy students to prepare for the profession, the university also accepts a research thesis and a “three-course emphasis,” which allows students to receive additional online education in a specialized area of sport.
From day one, the Academy has always had a non-traditional orientation. Students could take traditional classroom-based instruction, experiential education through the mentorship, and correspondence study for those who could not relocate or give up employment to purse their educational aspirations. Then more than a decade ago, the Academy became among the first colleges in the nation to embrace the web for distance learning. The university became recognized for its innovation in this area, becoming among the few, for example, that were selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Distance Learning Demonstration Project. Today, virtually all of the Academy’s students pursue their degrees through web-based instruction.
The Academy has grown into “America’s Sports University” with the addition of both bachelor’s and doctoral degree programs. With more than 4,300 graduates total at all three degree levels and thousands more who have benefited from its non-degree programs, the Academy has had a profound impact on sports in this country during its 40 year history. Even more gratifying is the fact that more than 2/3 of Academy graduates work in the sport profession. The Academy is proud of the accomplishments of its alumni and looks forward to many more years of excellent service in the future.
Please visit our website for more information on the Academy’s academic programs.