Distance Education Demonstration Program

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Project Descriptions - United States Sports Academy
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The United States Sports Academy (the Academy) is a private, non-profit institution, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which offers specialized graduate and undergraduate degrees in sport education. The Academy delivers distance education via online courses in a standardized template delivered by eCollege. The Academy's distance education programs include:

  • Doctor of Sport Management (DSM) degree;
  • Five Master of Sport Science degrees - in Sport Management, Sports Medicine, Sport Coaching, Sport Studies, and Health and Fitness Management;
  • Bachelor of Sport Science degrees - in Sport Management and Sport Coaching;
  • A Master of Sport Science degree - in Sport Management with an Art emphasis is under development.

In addition to course work, the bachelor's degree includes a required mentorship experience. The master's degree programs include mentorship, thesis, and non-thesis options. The doctoral degree requires both a mentorship and an applied dissertation project.

All distance education courses are self-paced and students may enroll in a course at any time. While there is no minimum time requirement, students are expected to complete the course work within 16 weeks.


The Academy has been granted waivers of the 50 percent rules pertaining to number of courses and number of students and a waiver of the provision that defines a telecommunications student as a correspondence student when 50 percent or more of the courses are offered by telecommunications and correspondence. The institution was also given waivers of the minimum number of weeks of instruction, and definition of a "week of instruction" (which together comprise the 12 hour rule).

Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives

There are many financial aid issues since the online courses are all self-paced and students can begin a course at any time. Financial aid is administered in a non-term environment. Issues related to determining enrollment status, tracking satisfactory academic progress, and monitoring last day of attendance in a non-term environment have been addressed.

Additional Goals for Participation

The Academy's research has shown that their distance learning students enroll in fewer courses each term and take longer to complete their degree programs than do their residential counterparts. The Academy compares, on an on-going basis, statistics on the quality of work submitted as evidenced by grade comparison, comprehensive examination results, and rates of completion or non-completion. This is administered through the Institutional Effectiveness Committee at the institution.

The Academy evaluates the effectiveness of full-time, adjunct, and non-resident faculty members in course instruction using its existing two-phase method. Phase One is an anonymous mid-term evaluation of the course instruction that occurs in Unit 5 of each web-based course. The data is statistically summarized by the eCollege corporation. Phase Two is an anonymous final evaluation of the course instruction that occurs at the time of course completion in conjunction with the proctored final exam. These data are analyzed on a monthly basis by a faculty researcher who serves on the Academy's Institutional Effectiveness Committee. In addition, the Academy has evaluated faculty load factors respect to servicing students effectively in the distance education template.

Statistics have been compiled to determine: 1) the time it takes for course completion; 2) the number of extensions that are granted; and 3) trends in any specific area of study or geographical locations.


The Academy provides sports-specific content for the MBA Sport Management program at Nichols University in Massachusetts. In addition, the Academy has relationships with the University of Bahrain (MSS) and Srinakharinwirot University (DSM) of Thailand, which offers Master's degree programs in Sport Management for which the Academy provides approximately 40 percent of the course content. The Academy has certification program agreements with the International Sports Academy in Singapore, Intercollege in Cyprus, the Malaysian Sport Science Academy, and Beijing Sport University in China.

Other Relevant Information

Graduate and undergraduate students at the United States Sports Academy may earn their degrees via residential instruction, web-based distance learning, or a combination of both.

Demonstration Program Cohort

The United States Sports Academy joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in July 2001 as part of the second cohort.

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Last Modified: 04/16/2007