‘Brains’ is no longer limited to having an upper hand in math or languages. In this day and age, catering to multiple intelligences is the norm. For gifted individuals like student athletes, innate skills and talents are synonymous with athleticism. Sports IQ, just like talent in the arts, business, or sciences, is not something that everyone can claim to have high proficiency in, and if grades also tested muscle memory, 4.0’s would be as simple as notching victories in the UAAP.
Capitalizing on athletic intelligence and aiming to enhance sports-related careers, La Salle offers a specialized degree program exclusively for student athletes, the Bachelor of Arts in Sports Studies (AB-SPM) program.
The University’s website gives a brief description of the SPM degree: “Enhancing sports related careers is the primary goal of this academic program. Essential to the training of these professionals is the combination of both academic training and field experience, exposing the students to a systematic and multi-dimensional learning experience.”
Liberal Arts curriculum
Belonging to the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and under the department of Behavioral Sciences, AB-SPM follows the sequential general education track of all liberal arts degrees. Sports studies majors have their fair share of introductory social science courses in psychology, anthropology, political science and economics among other subjects that other liberal arts students are required to take. What sets AB-SPM students apart though, is their array of major subjects, all narrowed down to sports applications, ranging from ethics, counseling, photography, management, and journalism, even going as far as sexuality, health, and history, to name a few.
One such major is called SPOHIST, or Sports History, which concentrates on the development of sports in the Philippine setting. In this course students learn about the prevailing sports per period in Philippine History.
Another example of a course in SPM is called SPORMED or Sports, Medicine and Technology. In this subject, students are taught the advantages and disadvantages of innovations in medicine and technology with regards to the sporting world.
A course called SPOPOLI, or Sports and Politics. This interesting course aims to show students the link between the worlds of sports and politics. It concentrates on their differences and similarities with each other.
These three are just some of the many courses an AB-SPM major could take. Some may sound unusual and others may sound more interesting than math or philosophy, and it is good to note that though narrowed down to sports, the subjects that are available in this program are also very diverse and unique.
Thomas Torres, Jason Perkins, and Almond Vosotros of the Green Archers, Kim Fajardo of the Lady Spikers, and Niky Scott of the Lady Archers and the Lady Booters are just some of the many athletes under the AB-SPM program. Although the program usually takes nine trimesters or three full years to complete, student athletes usually go far beyond that by taking less than the required number of units in order to maximize their UAAP eligibility.
Exclusivity of the program
Applicants for freshman admission in La Salle are usually presented with a plethora of degree programs to choose from. However, AB-SPM is not one of those options. The privilege of taking the Sports Studies program is limited to student athletes playing for the varsity teams of La Salle.
Unlike other schools offering similarly labeled sports programs, La Salle’s AB Sports Studies is not founded on physical education (PE) subjects. In fact, all student athletes are exempted from taking PE, regardless if they are part of the official roster or merely composing the developmental teams.
Whether it is easy to believe or not, there are a myriad of options for Sports Studies students to choose from. Many graduates of this degree often find themselves in the world of professional sports, becoming agents of athletes or maybe working for a sports team as an executive, among many other lucrative positions that could be available. It is evident that the career paths for this degree lead to many desirable places.
The salary that a graduate of Sports Management receives depends on what career path they decide to take. Agents could receive huge sums of cash, if the athlete they represent is highly talented. This is the same with high-ranking executives in international sports associations such as the PBA, NBA and MLB.
With its very unique selection of courses specially designed for those who dream to pursue a career in the world of sports, Sports Studies is not as easy as people might perceive it to be. Just like many of the courses and varsity teams, the program requires patience, dedication, hard work and perseverance.