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Sport and Entertainment Management Programs at Cleveland State Put Students in the Game

Step Up to the Plate 2024

It’s only fitting that a legendary sports city like Cleveland would offer high-level pathways toward a career in sports. And with Cleveland State University just a short distance from Progressive Field, RocketMortgage Field House and Cleveland Browns Stadium, it makes plenty of sense for students wanting a successful sports career to choose CSU.

Cleveland State first launched its Bachelor of Arts in Sport and Entertainment Management in 2022, the same year Jim Kahler, a veteran of sports administration and education, was hired to serve as its director. The program within the Monte Ahuja College of Business offers options for those with a desire to become more in-tune with the world of sports and entertainment.

“Our proximity to professional teams like the Cavaliers, Guardians and Browns makes it an ideal place to continue building our already close relationships with our local franchises,” Kahler said.

Gavin Stephens, the director of Talent and Engagement for the Cavaliers, agreed.

“We’re in such a unique situation where we have so much talent that is close to us, there’s no reason not to give CSU students an opportunity,” Stephens added.

Step Up to the Plate, a first-ever CSU student event held before an April game between the Guardians and the New York Yankees, featured a handful of panel speakers from Cleveland State and the Guardians' front office. The rained-out game didn't damper student spirits as they heard about Cleveland State’s partnerships with its professional sports teams and the job opportunities that can come with them. 
“Our mission at the Guardians is to unite and empower the city of Cleveland through the power of team,” said Colleen Lynch, assistant director of Talent Acquisition for the Guardians. “I believe CSU has a very similar mission.” 

Cleveland State's Sport and Entertainment Management program has also hosted other student-centered events, such as a career fair with more than 35 organizations, as well as Cleveland State’s Summer Sport Management Institute, the Cleveland State and Cleveland Guardians Ticket Sales Ticket Sales Academy and many more initiatives. CSU’s Cleveland Guardians Recruitment Fair was created for students interested in seasonal positions with the baseball franchise, and the Cleveland Browns 50/50 Raffles sales internships provide students with the opportunity to get hands-on sales experiences and by working with Cleveland Browns Foundation.  

A city with a wide variety of options in professional and collegiate sports, Cleveland was also the center of a handful of events during eight epic days that kicked off the month of April.  

The Land hosted the NCAA Women’s Final Four from April 5-7, which featured incredible matchups between South Carolina, NC State, Iowa and UConn. The training camp roster for the USA Basketball Women’s National Team trained at Cleveland Clinic Courts from April 3-5. The Cleveland Guardians’ home opener at Progressive Field was aligned with April’s total solar eclipse, the first Ohio would experience since 1806. 

The city of Cleveland has had plenty of opportunities to showcase itself on the national level. The Guardians and Cavaliers both made championship appearances in 2016, with the Cavs hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy after a seven-game series win over the Golden State Warriors. Cleveland would host the NBA All-Star game in 2022, the NFL Draft in 2021 and the MLB All-Star game in 2019. 

“Anyone who loves sports would love Cleveland,” Lynch said. “It seems, as a Cleveland native, the Cleveland culture is very driven by their sports teams. We have very iconic fans. Cleveland is its own brand here because of the sports teams and how much we’re rooted in that."

To learn more about Cleveland State’s Sport and Entertainment Management options, click here.