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Jillian McNiff and Thomas J. Aicher

In 2013, approximately 5.3 million students took an online course in the United States—a 3.7% increase, when compared with 2012. This growth in e-learning may impact sport participation and the educational experience of student-athletes. This change creates various challenges and opportunities for those who support student-athletes’ educational development. Therefore, using the zone for proximal development and scaffolding theory, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the role student-athlete support services staff play in ensuring the effectiveness and quality of e-learning, and to identify strategies and best practices associated with e-learning. Qualitative interviews were conducted with directors of student-athlete support service organizations within Division I athletics. Results of the analysis engendered three central themes: (a) faculty relations, (b) lack of formal assessment, and (c) educational opportunities. The results aligned with the tenets of the zone of proximal development and scaffolding theory. In addition, a framework to assist student-athletes’ development is presented.

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Jillian McNiff, Gil Fried and Kimberly Mahoney

Sport management seems like a glamorous career path. Many students believe if they do well in classes and graduate, they will be the next general manager of the New York Yankees or athletic director of a major Division I intercollegiate athletic department. While sport management professors hope that every student has the potential to succeed, it is incumbent upon faculty members and students to have a realistic expectation of their career options and a true understanding of what it takes to be successful. This article leads a fictitious student and faculty member through four years of the student’s educational adventure in sport management with special attention being given to what students can undertake to best prepare them for the future and improve their chances of landing the right job. This case study demonstrates the value of a comprehensive sport management education and what students can do to set themselves apart from their competition in the job market.