Many major universities, such as Columbia and Northwestern, have built excellent sports management education programs by leveraging the evening and online learning programs of their extension programs. While students get good training, separation from the research campuses gives almost no support to academic research in sports management. AISTS, ranked the world’s best sports management program by Eduniversal, has announced expansion plans that will also build an important foundation for research in sports management. This will enable more in-depth training at both AISTS and at other sports management education programs.
A new plan announced this month will see the construction of a new state-of-the-art campus to become the headquarters for the International University Sports Federation (FISU), the Institute of Sports Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) and ThinkSport, the Cluster Secretariat of International Sport. AISTS will also move its offices and classrooms to the new facility, which is expected to be completed later next year. AISTS announced plans for a shared 200-seat auditorium, four classrooms, a dedicated library, and facilities to support team projects and study groups. The current plan also includes potential for a sports laboratory. This could also mean potential for a relevant business such as the IBM Ecosystem for Sports or Nike Sport Research Lab to build closer ties to the university research community with a foundation grant or sustaining support.
AISTS is the French abbreviation for the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology. It is located in Lausanne, Switzerland, near the headquarters of many international sports organizations. Its own organization is unusual for an academic program, but very similar to the collaborative approach of many sports organizations. The Academy’s founding members are the International Olympic Committee, the Lausanne Technical Institute, the University of Lausanne, the University of Geneva, IMD Business School, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland.
This ambitious plan for sports management could accelerate more serious discussion at U.S. research universities about funding research programs in sports management. Only three of the sports management programs ranked in the top twenty worldwide are in the U.S. These are the University of Virginia (ranked third), plus the University of Massachusetts and San Diego State University, ranked 14 and 16 respectively. The top research universities like Columbia and Northwestern that have chosen to place their sports management experts outside the research community may be able to build on the AISTS model to move forward with research campus plans of their own.