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Sport management was acknowledged early in its formative years as an academic area with great potential for success in the academy. Due largely to the efforts of members of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), sport management quickly became entrenched in academe and is starting to be recognized as an academic area of merit. It is important to manage our overall program excellence as we move from “potential” to “merit” if sport management is to thrive as an academic discipline and profession. It is particularly important to mange our merit since our transition phase occurs amidst many changes and challenges (e.g., the student as consumer; under-representation of National Association for Sport and Physical Education/NASSM Approved Programs; under-recognition of sport management teaching excellence, and diminishing service roles and interests within industry and academe). The purpose of this essay is to posit approaches through which sport management’s educational programs might maintain their well-earned meritorious reputations amid shifting academic and social cultures. This essay is the text of the 2003 Dr. Earle F. Zeigler Lecture presented on May 30 at the 18th Annual Meeting of NASSM in Ithaca, New York.
Jacquelyn Cuneen is with the Sport Management, Recreation and Tourism Division at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.