UofSC tops U.S. in sport science for third straight year

The University of South Carolina’s sport science programs are making an impact around the world, and the success has earned global recognition. The programs are ranked No. 1 in the United States for the third consecutive year in the Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments.

The ranking includes accomplishments from the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management’s sport and entertainment management program, the Arnold School of Public Health's exercise science and athletic training programs and the College of Education’s physical education program.

“The No. 1 in the U.S. ranking by the Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments reaffirms the university’s strategic commitment to provide exceptional academic, research, and experiential learning opportunities to bolster our student’s potential in sport science,” says UofSC Provost Joan Gabel. “The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, the Arnold School of Public Health and the College of Education embody the standard of excellence in each of their sport science-related programs and are to be commended for this much-deserved recognition.”

In all areas, the focus is on giving students the best possible preparation to succeed through a mix of classroom and experiential learning opportunities and on staying at the forefront of research in the world of sport science.

Physical education department chair and professor Lynda Nilges has dedicated her career to improving the health of students in South Carolina and around the world.

This summer, Nilges traveled to Singapore to work with the Physical Education Sport Teacher’s Academy, a division of the Ministry of Education in Singapore. She conducted training and shared her research, which focuses on content development, assessment and inclusion practices in educational gymnastics, with more than 300 primary school teachers.

Another strength for the physical education department is its doctoral program, which prepares future educators and researchers using an apprenticeship model to simulate job expectations of tenure-track faculty at research universities. This method produces graduates with strong publication records.

The Arnold School’s degree options in athletic training offer a chance for students to make a career in keeping athletes healthy, an area of increasing emphasis for sports leagues at all levels of age and expertise.

Athletic training students gain hands-on experience working with youth and high school sports programs, including an expanded involvement with youth football for kids age 6-13. Athletic training alumni work all over the world, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, U.S. military, NASCAR, Cirque du Soleil, NCAA collegiate athletics, high schools in China and Europe, and more traditional settings in secondary schools, sports medicine clinics, hospitals and industries in the U.S. 

The impact of the program is often felt in the hometowns of the students. May 2018 graduate Samantha Sedivy was inspired to go into athletic training by the trainer at her high school outside Raleigh, North Carolina. After earning her degree at the Arnold School, with clinical associate professor and undergraduate program director Jim Mensch as her mentor, Sedivy accepted a position at that same high school, where she hopes to inspire future trainers.

On the research side, faculty have recently studied health care and orthopedic injuries in the military and youth football populations, along with heat illness and eating disorders.

The focus in UofSC’s sport and entertainment management department is the business side of sport science. The program provides a mix of global research and industry expertise at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Faculty members like former Carolina Panthers president Danny Morrison, first female pro sports franchise president Susan O’Malley, former Charlotte Coliseum manager Sporty Jeralds and former Hootie and the Blowfish tour manager Paul Graham, bring experience and wisdom from their standout careers to the classrooms. 

O’Malley and Morrison teach business principles in sport management, offering students a unique opportunity to learn from teachers who are former presidents of NFL, NBA and NHL franchises. In addition to their own considerable expertise, they call on fellow industry leaders, frequently bringing in celebrity speakers from NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick to Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment CEO Scott O’Neil, among many others.

The sport and entertainment management faculty also includes research fellows for leading organizations like the North American Society for Sport Management; Sport and Recreation Law Association; Sport Marketing Association; and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The deep and talented lineup ensures that students are taught by true thought leaders. 

ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, the official publisher of the Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments, is regarded as one of the three most influential rankers of international universities and has been cited by numerous publications including Inside Higher Ed, The Guardian and The Christian Science Monitor. The organization has published academic rankings since 2009, but 2016 was the first year it included sport science schools and departments.

The data used to determine the rankings is collected from the Web of Science database with a time window of five years. For more information about the methodology and indicators of the ranking or to view a complete list of the top schools, visit the Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments website.

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