Sports Leadership & Learning

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About ACU's Sports Leadership & Learning

sports education

The Vision for the Sports Leadership & Learning Program

Focused on fortifying sports culture, ACU is proudly working toward equipping athletes and sports leaders with educational resources to reach new heights mentally, spiritually, and physically grounded in these tenets: 

INNOVATE education consistent with the rhythm of sports
EMPOWER athletes and sports leaders to achieve their best performance
GROW the world of sports through a culture of human flourishing
DEVELOP critical skills and competencies that support holistic leadership

sports education

Expanding Our Educational Reach

The ACU Sports Leadership & Learning program is deeply committed to providing comprehensive online education for professional teams searching to enhance their employees’ leadership and academic development. Our highly-experienced teams of instructional curriculum designers, subject matter experts, and faculty are squarely focused on creating content to generate new skills for our learners to use in their careers beyond the field of play.

Strengthening the Sports Culture

Understanding the complexity within sports, our Sports Leadership & Learning program seeks to change the game behind the unspoken culture of sports. With the increase in glamorized competition, athletic prowess, and individual achievement, the world of sports has expanded, resulting in new career opportunities and newfound challenges for athletes looking to balance their health and sense of self. 

In response, the ACU Sports Leadership & Learning program intends to solve these issues through: 

  • Innovative learning for the education required to keep up with the flourishing culture and industry growth
  • Training athletes and managers to reframe their perspective on how sports professionals should be assessed based on personal and organizational values
  • Offering emotional well-being skills to combat crises triggered by changes in organizational culture without returning to self-preservation behaviors related to emotional coping, surviving, or remaining silent during conflict.

Our Programs

sports leadership

Master of Science in Sports Leadership

Looking for a program to help you enter and lead in the sports industry? With ACU’s online Master of Science in Sports Leadership program, you’ll learn specific techniques to communicate effectively with your teammates, players and partners, as well as manage teams with psychology-based principles. Through a set of core curriculum courses, and three distinct concentrations in coaching, analytics, and athletic administration, you will be able to identify and develop skills to evaluate ethical dilemmas and potential conflicts facing sports managers, as well as demonstrate competency in designing research studies related to athletics.

player pathway

Player Pathway

The Player Pathway Program is a versatile educational initiative tailored for professional athletes. Designed to accommodate sports professionals’ unique schedules and aspirations, this program provides a customizable curriculum spanning leadership, performance, communication, and sports history. What sets the Player Pathway Program apart is its adaptability—it can be tailored to suit the needs of any professional sports team, ensuring that athletes across various disciplines can access high-quality education that fits seamlessly into their busy schedules. This program provides a pathway to academic success and personal growth for any professional athlete.

Man sitting at desk with laptop

Front Office Training

ACU’s Sports Leadership & Learning division offers customizable Front Office Training explicitly tailored for professional sports teams seeking to enhance their organizational effectiveness and leadership capabilities. Our comprehensive curriculum is designed to equip front office personnel, including executives, managers, and administrators, with the essential skills and competencies needed to thrive in today’s dynamic sports industry. From strategic decision-making and financial management to talent acquisition and organizational culture development, our training programs cover a wide range of topics essential for success in sports management. Through innovative learning methods and personalized coaching, we empower front office professionals to navigate the complexities of the sports landscape with confidence and integrity, ultimately contributing to the sustained growth and success of their organizations.

Featured Partnership


An Online Learning Community Created Just For the Texas Rangers

RangersU powered by ACU is a unique partnership between the Texas Rangers and Abilene Christian University to shape educational content for Texas Rangers players and staff. The educational products have been jointly developed and all courses are delivered using ACU’s expertise in online learning making courses flexible and accessible for players and staff regardless of their location. Taught by ACU faculty members, Rangers staff and executive guest speakers, RangersU seeks to provide players and front-office staff members with the unique opportunity to advance their education and future careers.

RangersU Players Pathway Courses

RangersU Player Pathway courses are custom-designed courses for Rangers players and baseball staff. Students receive three hours of college credit for each course (six hours for each block). They are designed to be offered during the off-season and are delivered in both English and Spanish language sections. 

Press Coverage: Class is now in session at Rangers University
The Athletic: ‘Rangers U’ partnership with ACU offers players, coaches chance to earn college credits

Hear from RangersU Students

sports education

Texas Rangers Staff Continuing Education

This fall, a group of Texas Rangers management staff participated in the first of four courses in a custom-designed management training program created in collaboration with Texas Rangers management.

Currently, more than 20 baseball coaches and operational staff members are enrolled in ACU’s Introduction to Conversational Spanish course. 


RangersU Public Courses

RangersU powered by ACU public courses provides opportunities for Rangers fans and other participants to foster their professional development and personal enrichment – all from the comfort of their homes. Taught by a diverse array of Texas Rangers management, Major League Baseball experts, and ACU faculty, each course offers engaging modules and discussions lasting seven weeks. Participants will interact with the same curriculum as current Rangers players who are aiming to improve their academic potential and career. 

Learn More

Offer your team the academic experience of a lifetime

Your team is worth investing in. And ACU can deliver a top-ranked education built on a market-driven curriculum and a holistic outlook on Christian service and leadership. Whether you’re looking to offer specific courses geared toward your team’s field of interest or want to provide others the opportunity to earn their college degree, ACU is committed to supplying a high-impact, low-cost education in an inclusive, virtual environment.

Dr. Daryl JonesInterested in partnering with ACU for your team’s educational opportunities? Contact Dr. Daryl L. Jones, vice president, sports leadership and learning, at to learn more. 

About ACU

Degrees to fit your career goals. Online to fit your life.

Through ACU’s more than 50 online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, you’ll receive a powerful learning experience that combines Christian values, real-world skills and career-boosting connections. Our accredited degree programs are designed with busy working adults in mind. That means you can further your education at a nationally recognized university without the need to relocate – all while balancing the demands of work, life, and community.

One of America’s Best Colleges

Newsweek Top Online Colleges 2024Recognized as one of America’s Top Online Colleges for the third consecutive year by Newsweek and Statista Inc., ACU proudly stands among the nation’s premier online institutions. Seamlessly combining a top-tier education with the flexibility of an online format, ACU Online offers you a transformative learning experience.

Sports Leadership & Learning News

masters in sports leadership

ACU Announces New Master of Science in Sports Leadership

ACU has launched a new online master’s degree in Sports Leadership focused on equipping prospective or current sports professionals in enhancing their experience with foundational and academically-based strategies to become effective coaches, sports administrators, and sports brand leaders.

Newsweek America's Top Online Colleges 2024

ACU named among America’s Top Online Colleges by Newsweek

For the third consecutive year, Abilene Christian University has been named one of America’s Top Online Colleges for 2024. The award is presented by Newsweek and Statista Inc., the leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider.

ACU partners with Texas Rangers to offer RangersU courses to players

RangersU launched two Player Pathways for Rangers players interested in gaining continued education, academic credit, or new skills through ACU’s fully online, bilingual seven-week courses. Harnessing their shared mission, ACU and the Texas Rangers are eager to see the impact these pathways will have on players both on and off the field.