The Indiana University Kelley School of Business has launched a new immersive program to help undergraduates who are pursuing a career in the business of sports.

In addition to business coursework, students in Kelley’s Sports Industry Workshop will have access to professional development and networking opportunities with executives working in the sports industry, including many IU alumni.

The program was developed by IU professor Nathaniel Grow, who is a nationally recognized expert in the field of sports law.

“Our students, who already are receiving a top-quality Kelley degree, will be ready to deal with issues facing the sports industry, whether they are media rights, ticketing trends, or other challenges,” said Grow, the Sports Industry Workshop’s director and professor of business law and ethics.

Grow said the business of sports has become increasingly complex in recent years. He said a growing number of organizations, no matter the league, are becoming to appreciate how important a business degree can be to the success of their operations.

“I think that the some of the higher up executives were saying that this makes a lot of sense that in some positions, we would definitely rather have someone who’s come out of a top-notch finance program and has that general business training, and then teach them the sports aspects,” said Grow.

An inaugural class of Kelley juniors and seniors was selected to participate after what Grow called a competitive application process. He said in addition to having a strong academic record, each student must have a demonstrated interest in working in the sports industry, such as an internship or work experience.

Grow developed an all-star lineup of approximately two dozen sports executives to serve on an advisory board for the program, including Lawrence Frank, who is president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers, a former NBA coach, and a four-season student manager for legendary IU basketball coach Bob Knight.

Rick Fuson, president and chief operating officer of the Indiana Pacers, is also on the panel, as is IU alumnus Brett Yormark, co-chief executive officer of Roc Nation Unified.

“As an IU alum, it is especially rewarding for me to pass along some of the lessons I’ve learned to the next generation and help ensure they have the educational tools required to be successful in the ever-changing sports business landscape,” said Yormark.

This fall, students will learn about various segments of the sports industry, including arena management and analytics. In the spring, students will learn through experiential opportunities such as attending a national industry conference and working on in-class projects that will develop their skills.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Nathaniel Grow explains what’s driving the need for the program.

Grow says the workshop will also address timely issues, such as sports teams protesting social injustice.