Abilene Christian University is now an official higher education partner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and will be providing customized academic learning opportunities for players and staff through ACU Online.
In addition to the traditional benefits of a sponsored partnership, the Rangers approached ACU with ideas for a more in-depth collaboration. After discussions and brainstorming over the last year, the two organizations recently signed an agreement that will offer the players in the Texas Rangers’ system, as well as other employees, the opportunity to enroll in any of the university’s more than 40 online programs as well as specially designed certificate programs through ACU Online.
“We look to facilitate as many growth opportunities for our players and staff as possible,” said Ben Baroody, Texas Rangers’ director of leadership, organizational development and mental performance. “This partnership with ACU is a tremendous opportunity, offering many courses that we feel will enhance their professional and personal development.”
The courses will count for both academic credit hours and professional certifications and will be specifically tailored for the professional sports industry, with topics such as analytics, kinesiology, nutrition, education and leadership.
In addition, a new certificate program in analytics is in the works for ACU Online beginning in Fall 2022. The certificate would be a collaboration between the Rangers and Abilene Christian but open to the general public. More details on that program will be announced later.
“This is a unique partnership with significant benefits for both ACU and the Texas Rangers organization,” said Dr. Phil Schubert, ACU president. “I’m excited to see how it unfolds and the new opportunities ahead for Rangers players and employees to be a part of ACU’s learning environment.”
As part of the sponsorship agreement, ACU will have co-branding opportunities and receive advertising at Texas Rangers’ home games and on radio broadcasts, social media, etc. The university also will have the opportunity to use Globe Life Field for one football or baseball game in each of the next two years. In 2020, ACU participated in the first college football game played at Globe Life Park, now called Choctaw Stadium, adjacent to the Rangers’ new Globe Life Field. Now, both venues host games for the two sports.
“We are thrilled to partner with Abilene Christian University. This partnership will create a unique opportunity for our players and staff to continue their education while being a part of the Texas Rangers organization,” said Jim Cochrane, senior vice president of partnerships and client services for the Texas Rangers. “With the help of ACU, our Minor League Players and Rangers employees can look to grow personally and open opportunities that may not have been available before.”