The landscape for women in sport has rapidly changed over the past few decades. In the 1999 World Cup, Brandi Chastain, a member of the US Women’s National Team, scored the game winning shot in front of 108,000 fans. Afterward the growth of women’s soccer exploded around the country, proving this was more than a simple flash in the pan. Twenty years later, when Canada hosted the Women’s World Cup, the USA would win again in front of a sold-out crowd in Vancouver and a television audience with top TV sports ratings. This amazing on-field success helped the US Women’s National Team pursue and win a court case for equal pay. And women’s sport has continued to thrive.
This rise in women’s sport is not limited to soccer. The popularity and television ratings of the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Women’s Softball College World Series prove the women’s sports is in an unprecedented period of growth. The US Open Tennis tournament, with two female teenagers in the final, captivated the sporting world showing once again that the women’s game is something sport consumers will watch and enjoy.
Along with the increased fan following, women have also been shattering some glass ceilings in sports careers. In the past two years, we have seen the first woman GM (Kim Ng of the Miami Marlins), the first game with a female NBA basketball coach (Becky Harmon leading the Spurs in the absence of Greg Popovich), and the first female coach to make it to the Super Bowl (Katie Sowers). These advancements are the beginning of changes that will ultimately reduce discrimination in sport.
In 2018, EKU Sport management student Kelsey Whalen, examined women’s sport careers in an honors thesis that was presented nationally at the College Sport Research Institute (CSRI) conference. In this piece, Whalen noted that “Recognizing the barriers women face and the experiences they have that their male counterparts do not, is important to creating a change. While discrimination may be present for many more years, change is taking place and the more media attention and fight that women bring to these issues, the faster this evolution will happen.”
The success we see from women breaking gender barriers in sports is no different when it comes to EKU Sport Management. One of EKU Online’s 2021 sport management graduates, Beth Joseph, is an athletics director in Nicholasville, Kentucky and also works with Team Breakdown Kentucky, an AAU. Joseph speaks highly of her experience earning her sport management degree online, “As a non-traditional student at EKU, taking online classes have been great! The selection of classes and the convenience of being able to complete classwork on my own time has been invaluable! The professors are easily accessible and extremely helpful when needed. I highly recommend anyone to earn sport management degree through the online avenue EKU offers.” Kelsey Whalen (Arizona State Law School), Marissa Tashenberg (Bowling Green Athletics), Morgan Roman (Vandebilt Athletics before pursuing an entrepreneurial path) and most recently Kaylee Thornsberry (EKU graduate assistant in sport marketing) have all had amazing success pursuing EKU sport management degrees.
By Joel Cormier, Ph.D, coordinator of the EKU Online Sport Management Program
Interested in turning your passion for sport into a career?
Earn your online bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university that has been an online education leader for more than 15 years. EKU’s online sport management degree prepares graduates to pursue careers such as an athletic administrator and so many others.
To learn more about our sport management degree or other career options you can pursue in sport, complete the learn more form or check out our Sport Management Program.