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Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program Achieves Top 5 Ranking in the Nation; No. 6 in the World

By Keith Morelli

Michelle Harrolle

TAMPA (September 10, 2020) -- The USF Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program continues to rank among the best in the world, according to SportBusiness International, which published its rankings this week. The program, begun less than 10 years ago, ranked No. 5 in the nation and third among public universities; No. 1 in Florida and the entire Southeast and No. 6 in the world.

“I am beyond proud to be ranked as one of the best sport and entertainment management programs in the world,” said Michelle Harrolle, director of the program. “As with any great sports team, it takes every athlete for the team to succeed.

“In my eyes,” she said, “we have the best students, faculty, alumni and partners in the world and together we earned this amazing recognition.”

The dual-degree graduate program boasts a near 100 percent job placement rate for its graduates. The 9-year-old program in the Muma College of Business issues graduates a master's degree in sport and entertainment management and an MBA. Nearly every single graduate since the program began has landed a job in the field within three months of graduation.

The program became the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program in 2017 after Jeff and Penny Vinik, owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning, donated more than $6 million to its cause.

The annual rankings typically come out in May, but were delayed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It goes without saying that this year has been the most difficult edition of these rankings to produce,” said the publication in its edition announcing the rankings. “The sports and education sectors have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which will leave its mark on both for many years to come.

“Nevertheless, our aim remains unchanged, and we believe we have produced the most comprehensive and detailed ranking of the world’s best sport management courses in our history.”

The rankings are based on a formula that assigns values to employability, research, assistance in finding jobs in the industry, quality of extra-curricular support, opportunities to connect with alumni and the ability to network with industry executives.

“These remarkable rankings are not achieved in a vacuum,” said Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem. “They are the result of the efforts of not only our incredible faculty and our determined students, but also our patrons, people like Jeff and Penny Vinik and the entire Lightning organization led by CEO Steve Griggs and all our partners who take an active part in making this program a success.

“With their support and the support of so many others, our students are able to land scholarships, travel abroad and participate in internships within the industry,” he said. “The Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program is indeed world class.”