If you're searching for a way to turn your passion for sports into a professional career, sports management scholarships could help.
Though you may not have the athletic abilities needed to receive a full-ride scholarship to play varsity college sports, you can still cash in on your sports enthusiasm and enter a range of exciting sport-related careers. Sports management graduates often go on to find executive positions leading professional sports franchises, college athletic departments, stadiums, recreational centers, and event centers.
For anyone looking to join the multi-billion dollar sports industry, below we've highlighted 20 of the most lucrative scholarships in sports management to finance your pathway to this goal.
1. Charles K. Mruk Scholarship
Deadline: December 31st
Sponsored by the New England Sports Turf Managers Association (NESTMA), the Charles K. Mruk Scholarship is granted annually for outstanding students who are pursuing a degree in the field of sports management and/or turf management. Eligible candidates should be accepted or attending an accredited two or four-year college, be studying in New England, be in good academic standing, and exhibit potential for a career in turf management. Applications must include a current resume, expected budget plan, official transcript, and short personal essay describing why applicants are seeking the scholarship.
2. David J. Stern Sports Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
As part of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has endowed the David J. Stern Sports Scholarship to provide $30,000 over three years to college sophomores who demonstrate talent and promise in furthering their study in sports management. To qualify, candidates must have successfully completed their freshman year, be attending a publicly supported historically black college, have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and exhibit leadership qualities. Along with the funding, recipients will have the chance to complete an NBA internship in their junior year and receive direct mentoring from Stern.
3. Doris Horton Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: January 31st
At Texas Tech University, the Doris Horton Memorial Scholarship is administered through the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences (HESS) to provide up to $2,000 to current undergraduate seniors or graduate students planning to enter the graduate program in sports management. Qualified applicants must be in good standing, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, exhibit financial need, demonstrate an interest in sports-related research, and have completed at least 60 semester hours at Texas Tech. Preference is given to students who show strong leadership potential by being involved in the campus' professional sports organizations.
4. Dr. James Watson Undergraduate Scholarship
Deadline: October 15th
In honor of a long-time green industry researcher and consultant who founded the Toro Giving Program, the Dr. James Watson Undergraduate Scholarship is awarded annually for $1,000 through the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). Eligible applicants should be pursuing a degree related to sports management, plan to enter a career in the turf industry, be enrolled in at least six credit hours per term, have STMA membership, and have a minimum of one semester of study left. Recipients will be chosen on the basis of their academic achievement, potential in the industry, employment history, extra-curricular activities, and faculty/employer recommendation letters.
5. Fred M. Coombs Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Within the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at West Virginia University, the Fred M. Coombs Scholarship is granted for $1,500 each year to students currently enrolled with a major in sport management, sport and exercise psychology, athletic training, or coaching education. Qualified candidates must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.8, show financial need, and possess clear potential for finding success in the sports industry. Selection will be based on applicant's work experience, academic background, previous awards, leadership abilities, extra-curricular involvement, community service, and recommendations.
6. Gavin White Jr. Scholarship Fund
Deadline: March 7th
Established in honor of an athlete, coach, assistant athletic director, and athletic director who is forever treasured in the Temple University Athletics Hall of Fame for his contributions, the Gavin White Jr. Scholarship Fund offers $1,000 awards annually to underrepresented students of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Alaska Native, or Pacific Islander descent. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in sport and recreation management, be currently matriculated full-time at Temple, show academic achievement, and exemplify Gavin's spirit of perseverance. To qualify, students must submit an application, a current resume, and a 500-word essay describing their academic and/or career interests in sports.
7. Glen Taylor Sport Business Leader Scholarship
Deadline: March 20th
At the University of Minnesota in Mankato, the Glen Taylor Sport Business Leader Scholarship is awarded annually to declared sports management majors who demonstrate a high level of leadership potential inside and outside of the classroom. For this $1,000 award, students must be actively involved in extra-curricular activities, show dedication to community service, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and have financial need. Applicants are required to attach a 500-word personal essay describing their leadership, future career plans, and reasons for pursuing a degree in sports management.
8. GRSA Conference Scholarship Program
Deadline: August 22nd
Each year, the Georgia Recreational Sports Association (GRSA) offers a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to two student members and one professional member pursuing further studies in sports or recreation management at a Georgia university. Eligible students must be employed by campus recreation at their institution, have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, submit a letter of support from a professional staff member, and attach a current resume of work experience in recreation. All recipients will be invited to attend the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Region II Conference in Richmond.
9. Jack "Swede" Frauson Sports Management Scholarship
Deadline: February 1st
In the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, the Jack "Swede" Frauson Sports Management Scholarship is awarded annually at North Carolina State University to honor the former recreation consultant who helped organize over 50 parks and recreation advisory boards in his illustrious career. Eligible candidates must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in sport management (SMT) with good academic standing to enter a career related to parks, recreation, tourism, sport, and/or professional golf management. This merit-based scholarship will be awarded based on academic achievement, leadership abilities, and involvement in extra-curricular activities.
10. Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant
Deadline: March 15th
Through the North American Society for Sport Management, the Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant offers between $5,000 and $10,000 annually for up to five advanced graduate students who are pursuing research projects of significant importance to the sport management field. NASSM members in good standing are invited to submit a research proposal that clearly outlines the project's purpose of study, theoretical framework, methodology, analytical strategies, budget, expected results, IRB approval, and potential significance. All proposals will be judged on the basis of their originality, alignment with the NASSM mission, and the clear articulation of project's overall objectives.
Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant
1206 South Fourth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
11. Jim McKay Scholarship Program
Deadline: January 15th
Since 2008, the Jim McKay Scholarship Program has been hosted by the NCAA to recognize the immense contributions of a pioneer sports journalist and offer $10,000 to male and female student-athletes with a potential to follow in his footsteps in sports communication. Candidates must have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a varsity team member, be enrolling in a graduate program related to sports management or journalism, show a dedication to a career in the sports communications industry, and exhibit superior character. Students must be nominated by the faculty athletics representative or the chief academic officer at their NCAA-member institution for consideration.
12. Kristian J. Rose Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: October 1st
Sponsored by the Association of Diversity in Sport (ADS) and Bay State Games, the Kristian J. Rose Memorial Scholarship is designed to remember the life of a New Bedford native who died tragically in an auto accident before entering his senior year as a sport management major at the University of Massachusetts. This scholarship program is open to all UMass Amherst undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in sport management with significant financial need and community service involvement. First priority is given to applicants who have also been selected to intern at Bay State Games or have been interns there before.
13. Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
Within the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), the Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship is designed to grant $1,000 annually to honor a former sports broadcaster, journalism professor, and Director of the Penn State All Sports Museum. Eligible candidates must be pursuing a degree related to sports management, aspire to a career in digital sports journalism, be enrolled full-time with at least sophomore status, and be in good academic standing. Along with the application, students should submit a cover letter, current resume, letter of recommendation, and three to five links to writing samples.
14. Make a Dent Scholarship
Deadline: January 15th
At the Columbia College of Chicago, the Make a Dent Scholarship is available for incoming freshmen or currently enrolled undergraduate students who show academic and/or athletic excellence for pursuing a declared major in sports management. Eligible applicants must be enrolling full-time, have maintained a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, exhibit financial need on their FAFSA form, and demonstrate a strong dedication to succeed in the sports management field. Although qualified students will automatically be considered for the scholarship, they must submit a 500-word statement on their vocational goals via the college's online portfolio portal.
15. Mary Purkis and Horton P. Gilman Scholarship
Deadline: February 14th
Within the School of Business at the University of Southern Maine, the Mary Purkis and Horton P. Gilman Scholarship is awarded for $1,500 to a currently enrolled undergraduate student with a declared major in sport management, general management, marketing, or finance. Qualified candidates must have completed at least 83 credits, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, be enrolled in six or more credits per term, and show a commitment to using their business education in the sports industry. Recipients will be chosen based on their academic record, resume, involvement in community activities, career objectives, and free enterprise spirit.
16. Nathan Taylor Dodson Undergraduate Scholarship
Deadline: July 1st
Each year, the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, and Sport Management (NCAAHPERD) awards the Nathan Taylor Dodson Undergraduate Scholarship for $1,000 to a student member pursuing a degree in one of the alliance's fields. Applicants must be attending a North Carolina university, carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 or better, and show evidence of their leadership potential for making contributions to sports-related professions. Scholarships will be awarded on a rotation between male and female students with different schools being showcased each year.
17. OSTMA Educational Scholarship Program
Deadline: October 15th
Annually, the Ohio Sports Turf Managers Association (OSTMA) offers an educational scholarship program to award $1,000 to two individuals currently pursuing a degree in sports management or turf management to enter a career in the turfgrass industry. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in an accredited two or four-year college, have relevant work or internship experience in the sports turf field, have OSTMA membership, and be in good academic standing as verified by an official transcript. This scholarship seeks to be a regional resource for local Ohio residents looking to enhance, promote, and improve the quality of sports turf facilities.
OSTMA Educational Scholarship Program
P.O. Box 3426
Dublin, OH 43016
18. Robert F. Collins Sport Media Scholarship
Deadline: February 20th
At Bowling Green State University, the Robert F. Collins Sport Media Scholarship is awarded through the Department of Journalism and Public Relations to one deserving undergraduate student in the sport management program seeking a career in the sport media industry, including marketing, journalism, or public relations. Applicants must have sophomore or junior status, be enrolled full-time with at least 12 credits per semester, and show a clear interest in sport media by being involved in the campus media sports. Preference will be given to students who have recently completed an internship related to sports media or journalism.
19. Sky Sox Sports Management Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
As a Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies with a 144-game schedule in the Pacific Coast League, the Sky Sox have created a new Sports Management Scholarship to provide $2,500 yearly scholarships to qualified students at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs (UCCS) who are pursuing a degree in the sports management program. Applicants must be currently enrolled undergraduates, exhibit financial need, have at least sophomore status, and carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. Along with an application, interested students should submit a current resume, personal statement of future career goals, and a personal essay about their passion for sports.
20. Stadium Managers Association Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Each year, the Stadium Managers Association (SMA) offers a scholarship to provide tuition assistance to undergraduate and graduate students nationwide who are majoring in sports management or a similar field to prepare them for a rewarding career in the stadium or facility management industry. Applicants must have completed at least two years of college, be classified as a junior, be enrolled full-time in an accredited program, be actively involved in worthy community service, and have stadium-related work experience. Qualified students should submit an official transcript, three letters of reference, a 250-word writing sample about their future sports goals, and a professional resume.
For you to successfully make the cut in the fast-paced and competitive sports arena, you'll need to create a game plan for affording the hefty price tag of your sports management degree without falling into a pit of student loan debt. With a bit of research, there are several scholarship and grant opportunities available for aspiring sports managers like you. Consider applying to one or more of these great sports management scholarships to increase your chance of scoring big and surpassing your career aspirations.