After the “inferior” performance of the US Olympians in the 1972 Munich games, a need for a national sports school was indentified to help with “poor administration…lack of medical support, and unscientific coaching and training”. Looking to streamline the process and design programs meant to prepare both undergrad and graduate students for jobs as “teachers, coaches, sports medicine specialists, and administrators”, the United States Sports Academy was created in Daphne, Alabama.
A “university without walls” that offers all of its individual courses, degree programs, and certifications completely online as well as on campus, the US Sports Academy is also the “first and only…accredited institution dedicated solely to professional graduate studies in sports”. Offering a Bachelor of Sports Science, a Master of Sports Science, and a Doctor of Education in Sports Management, the Academy focuses on the types of programs necessary to succeed in sports. Majors are degree specific, with undergrads having choices in Sports Management, Coaching, or Sports Studies, while Master’s seekers have the above three plus Sports Fitness/Health and Sports Medicine, as well as emphasis areas in subjects like Sports Psychology or Personal Training. PhD specializations include Leadership in Sports, Sports Marketing, and Human Resources Management in Sports.
The Academy uses a “rolling registration” for online learners, meaning that you can register and start taking classes whenever you want, without concern for semester schedules. Each course is designed to take 16 weeks to complete (with one week simply waiting for textbook delivery), “regardless of when in the term you register”, with no “live” lectures or group times when everyone must be online. Interaction and advisement is accomplished through online discussion boards, email, and messaging (including old fashioned concepts like phoning and writing). Courses are broken up into ten units, with corresponding homework, written assignments, and open book quizzes for each unit, ending when the last unit is completed and the distance learner registers for their online, proctored exam. Students requiring extra time to finish a unit may purchase and extra 60 days.
In addition to degrees, the Continuing Education department at the Academy has spent over 35 years delivering “sports certification programs to more than a quarter million people in over 60 countries”, helping those already involved in the sports field earn more money, maintain certifications, and vie for promotions. Again completely online, certificates exist in four areas (Sports Management, Coaching, Human Performance, and Collegiate Compliance), as well as certifications in another 11 programs, and sports diploma programs. Because all certifications are accredited regardless of format, you only need to be certified once and you’re good wherever you are. Distance learners can take either full certificate units or just individual classes, as well as design their own certifications should the Academy not have the program in place for you already.
Online tools extend even further, with an Online Writing Lab option teaching not only basic writing skills that will help students succeed in any profession, but a structure around six sports related fields such as Academic Writing in the Sports Profession and Professional/Technical Sports Writing. Students are given sports specific vocabulary, writing tips, and extra knowledge that is invaluable in any sports field.
With a mission to erase the embarrassment of the Munich Olympics through education and preparation, the US Sports Academy has elevated the level of sports knowledge, training, and skills, setting the bar higher and providing ease and access to all curious about the world of professional sports, regardless of athletic prowess.