Intercollegiate College Sports Job Opportunities

A college job setting has similarities no matter where you are, but there are also huge differences from one school to another. The historical, cultural and social aspects between parts of our country have shaped our institutions over time.



Consider how much differently the University of the Commonwealth of Virginia grew, from say, the University of Hawaii, Louisiana State or Notre Dame.

The size of the school, like the size of any community, also has a direct bearing on the campus atmosphere.

At a small college, there is usually a smaller athletics budget, fewer staff and probably a fewer number of sanctioned sports. There aren’t many students to support a big, diverse sports program; there is not a lot of money to go around. Working in the athletics department of a small college you may end up multi-tasking: ticket sales, athletic sponsorships, gameday operations, department administration. At a community or junior college a coach may teach football in the fall and badminton in the spring (it’s true).

But if you like something different every day, meeting challenges, and getting to really know the kids you’re working for, you just might love it. There are thousands of places to choose from, all the way from the nearest Community College to the Ivy League. If your taste is for a big institution and opportunity to choose your own career ladder, get to the big school. It may take years to become the head of the department, but large athletics departments have many staffers doing very specific jobs. Once you get your feet wet in college athletics the opportunities to move around – among institutions – are very good.

College Athletic Departments have different structures at different schools. So here are some examples for comparison.

At many large colleges, where student bodies reach 32,000 or more, a Department of Intercollegiate Athletics can have 20 or more competitive sports. With each sport, of course, there are a number of coaches, graduate assistant coaches, administrators to help in the office, handle NCAA compliance issues, manage athlete recruiting, and so forth.

Major Men’s Sports include:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Crew
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
  • Water Polo
  • Gymnastics
  • Wrestling

Major Women’s Sports include:

  • Basketball
  • Crew
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
  • Volleyball

Louisiana State University (LSU) is a large university. There are 20 Varsity Intercollegiate Sports programs.

Here, an Academic Center for Student Athletes is “fully integrated with the University” to help student-athletes academically, personally, athletically and professionally. Athletic Training is considered an allied medical profession, and has a large staff to provide medical support services to the athletes.

There’s a large full-time staff of Equipment Managers, aided by graduate student assistants and over thirty five fulltime undergraduate students.

Named after graduate Shaquille O’Neal, the LSU CHAMPS / Life Skills Program is another support system for student-athletes. The NCAA Foundation credits it as “a systematic personal development program, designed to reach each student-athlete based on his or her individual needs.” The program prepares student-athletes for academic excellence; athletic excellence; personal development; career development and community outreach.

At perhaps the other end of the scale there is community college athletics. Look at Erie Community College (ECC) in Buffalo, New York, as an example. ECC teams play two-year and four-year college teams from all over the Northeast.

ECC Men’s Sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross-Country
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
  • Swimming
  • Diving

ECC Women’s Sports

  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross-Country
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Softball
  • Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Soccer

Teams from this junior college have won many Penn-York Conference, NJCAA Region III and National Championships with a staff of about 20 people. You should expect a lot of personal involvement, great rewards that money can’t buy and a lot of work in a small college. Go to the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) website for links to teams outside of California: www.njcaa.org. Go to the Commission on Athletics (COA) for California community college athletics info: coasports.org.

Beyond the intercollegiate sports many colleges and universities offer jobs within their Intramural or Recreational sports departments.

It’s as much your personal lifestyle choice as career move, whether a large university or small college is your kind of place. Where the pay rates are higher, the competition is generally tougher. Where the living conditions are great, the opportunities for advancement may be a long time coming. When you think about your long-range goals and career track, consider that you may be settling down somewhere, starting a family, and having kids who will want to graduate where they’ve begun their own school careers. Money isn’t everything. In your college athletics workplace, size may not matter so much as place.

Also check out College Sports Jobs information on SportsCareerFinder.com.

Sign up for our newsletter!