McCombs receives $1.4 million to create Business of Sports Institute

Leena Alali, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This story first appeared as part of the October 5th flipbook. 

Business and sports education will combine at UT’s Business of Sports Institute debuting fall 2022.

The institute, funded by a $1.4 million donation from Accenture, an IT services and consulting company, will provide a business of sports minor starting fall 2022 to teach students about business principles and how to apply data science to sports. The institute will also act as a foundation for new sports-related research. The McCombs School of Business will open the minor to all UT students, and it will include classes from the psychology and kinesiology departments. 

Ethan Burris, director of the McCombs’s Center for Leadership and Ethics, said the minor is intended to target three types of students. These students include business students who want knowledge in the sports industry, sports students who want analytics knowledge and those who are interested in a combination of the two.

“We’re doing stuff around biomechanics, and performance and injury prevention,” Burris said. “We’re also looking at things like success and coaching successions.” 

Burris said one of the research areas will involve tracking the force exerted on joints of different players to understand why some players excel in doing certain moves and why others get injured.

Additionally, the institute will collect data from Texas Athletics to help make predictions regarding athlete performance, placement and more. Over the years, the institute hopes to develop its reports into methodologies that can be used outside of the University.

“We are working with men’s and women’s basketball on a couple of projects that we think will elevate their analytical understanding of their own players and players around the country,” Kirk Goldsberry, an ESPN basketball analyst, said.

Burris said they brought Goldsberry to serve as the institute’s executive director because of his unique knowledge of sports statistics. Goldsberry was previously the vice president of strategic research for the San Antonio Spurs.

“I’m here to help McComb(s) students, and people around campus, understand (the) sports business world a little bit better, and hopefully help them realize their dream jobs in sports business,” said Goldsberry, a management lecturer.

Burris said that UT is unique because of the landscape it provides for the institute.

“It’s the number one grossing athletics program in the country, and we have a top 20 business school,” said Burris, a management professor. “That at scale operates in the unique position of being big and good.”