FLORENCE — Three weeks into his internship at the Georgia Dome, Brody Whitlock will have an executive-level view of the Atlanta Falcons’ NFC Championship game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Whitlock, of Cullman, had the same view as the Falcons hung on to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s playoff game.
Whitlock isn’t there just for fun. He’s learning and working his way to a degree in sport management at the University of North Alabama.
“I’ve always had an interest in sports and a passion for it,” he said. “This is an avenue for me to stay involved in something I love.”
Whitlock, who will graduate in May, is one of the first to finish the 4-year-old undergraduate program. Because of the program’s popularity, the department of health, physical education and recreation will begin offering a graduate-level program in sport management in fall 2013.
Tom Coats, department chairman, said the program will focus on the business side of sports and caters to students who want to stay close to sports as they enter the job market.
“The business of sport and leisure activities offers a variety of career options,” Coats said. “There are jobs in professional and collegiate levels, in facilities management, game day operations, sports marketing and others. For someone who has an interest in sports and wants to be around sports, it is a very big field.”
The curriculum for the graduate program was approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in September. Coats said the potential for growth in the sport management program is high.
“Sports is a tremendous influence in American society,” he said. “People want to be around sports; they want to be involved in sports. This gives them an opportunity to have a career that does that.”
Admission requirements are online at una.edu/graduate/index.html.
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@TimesDaily.com.