UC’s Master’s Program ‘Granting’ Funds for In-Need Schools

Take a poll of high school athletic directors and most will tell you the greatest luxury of any athletic administrative office is having grant writers. Many don’t have the time to do it themselves and few budgets allot for having one devoted to athletics. 

But, what if there was a Masters in Sports Administration program where students did all of the grunt work applying for grants — from soup to nuts — and handed that application over to a high school in need ready to be submitted? 

fundsDoes that sound like a dream? Well, David Kelley, associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, has turned that dream into reality with his “Applied Financial Management Strategies in Athletics” course. 

“I don’t think there’s another program in the country that’s going to the extent of everything that’s involved with grant writing, from the cradle to the grave, with these students and just hand it over to a high school and say, ‘Hey, apply for this,’” Kelley said. “And of course we hope the school gets the grant, but it’s the experience I really want the students to have.” 

The course, in theory, is rather simple. Kelley helps team his students up with schools to help find athletic dollars or funds that might not be available to every school. Add in the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic and, suddenly, nickel-and-diming your neighbors through episodic fundraising isn’t enough. 

» ALSO SEE: New Leadership for BC MS in Sports Administration Program

“Oftentimes that sort of fundraising blitz is fatiguing on the community,” Kelley said. “Incorporating long-term fundraising and diversifying funds can be a valuable tool.” 

Dr. David Kelley

And his course isn’t just talking the talk, it’s already done some walking of its own. Former students have secured grants for schools like Purcell Marian High School, which received a new turf practice field via a grant from the NFL and the Cincinnati Bengals. Another former student applied and was awarded grant money that helped cover equipment costs for Riverview East Academy, in the Cincinnati Public School district. 

While those students may be in Kelley’s classroom now, they won’t be for long. His hope is to help the future athletic directors of the world be ready to tackle financial planning components through things like corporate sponsorship or public and private grants. 

To learn more about the University of Cincinnati’s Masters in Sports Administration program, visit