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Arvada High School starts a sports business pathway

The unique program gives students an introduction to the wide range of career opportunities in the multi-billion dollar industry

ARVADA, Colo. — Arvada High School’s new sports business pathway aims to get students interested in occupations focused on sports.  

The program offers sports-minded students a chance to learn athletic career opportunities like sports marketing, sports management, coaching, medicine and broadcast journalism. The pathway is the first of its kind in the Jefferson County School District. 

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“It’s our effort to teach kids the business side of sports and the winning side of life,” said Business Sports Academy president Mark McIntosh. “So many kids, especially disadvantaged kids, think sports is their ticket out… Well sports can be their ticket out, but how about on the business side, because we know the odds are drastically against kids going on to play college, let alone professional, sports.”

Credit: Byron Reed

According to the school, less than 5% of student athletes will go on to play collegiality — and 1% of those will go pro.

“The sports industry is a $90 billion [industry], and growing industry, and so there’s all kinds of jobs available for kids that love sports,” McIntosh said.

Part of the curriculum includes field trips to area sports facilities where students get to interact with professionals behind the scenes.

Credit: Byron Reed

“They’ve been to Coors Field, they have been to CU’s Champion center,” McIntosh said. “They don’t look at sports the same way anymore, because now I think they truly realize, 'My gosh, they’re so many learning and career opportunities.'"

“Sports business can be a great career for you, especially if you’re passionate about sports or many not able to play anymore” said MSU Denver Assistant Sports Management professor Dr. Kelly Evans. “It’s a way to stay connected and do something you love.”

Credit: Byron Reed

The program is in its first year and hopes to build a diverse pipeline of high schoolers interested in sports management careers to post-secondary schools like MSU Denver …including young women.

Credit: Byron Reed

“I’m around sports so much throughout my days,” said Arvada High School freshman soccer player Adrianne Allmon. “It’s a passion of mine to get into the journalism and broadcasting, so this is pushing me to go farther and help me want to achieve my dreams.”

“I have three more years before I have to start living that future,” said freshman wrestler and cross country runner Seth Jolly. “So I want to know what I’m going to do….have some kind of a plan.”

Arvada High School has a high population of low-income students with a free and reduced lunch rate of about 65%. They hope the new program will help attract students the school is losing to other schools in the area. The high school can seat around 2,000 students.

“We’re currently [at] about 730 students, so we definitely have some room to expand,” said Arvada High School’s Capstone Director Vern Whittington. 

Credit: Byron Reed

The Sports Business pathway is one of three new pathways started by the school this year.  Arvada High School is working with MSU Denver on a plan to give future Sports Business students a chance to earn college credits before they graduate high school.

“It takes if off of the paper (and) makes it interactive,” Whittington said.  “So we can say ‘this is what it would look like and the facilities and then also see people at work that I didn’t even know was a part of the industry. 

More information can be found at: sportsbusinessacademy.org

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