The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has a long-standing tradition of producing some of the top academic athletes in the country, including a nation-leading total of 320 Academic All-Americans. A new collaboration between the College of Business Administration and Nebraska Department of Athletics seeks to raise the bar even higher.
The two departments began extensive collaboration when Shawn Eichorst took the reins of the Nebraska Department of Athletics in January 2013. He understood the importance of a strong college of business in recruiting the best student-athletes and top donors to Nebraska.
“CBA is a dynamic, innovative and fast growing college,” said Eichorst. “This is readily evident when you look at the leadership of Dean Donde Plowman, the tremendous faculty and staff along with the progressive new building that is being erected just east of Memorial Stadium. We have a number of common interests especially when you take into consideration the large number of student-athletes interested in pursuing a business degree.”
One of the most significant collaborations is the new master of arts in athletic administration (MAIAA) program. The MAIAA draws includes MBA courses and a unique paid internship in the Department of Athletics.
“There are a number of schools that have developed similar programs but we deliver ours in a unique way to get the practical side of athletics through the internship,” Eichorst said. “When I was coming up through the ranks I was looking for ways to learn more about being a better athletic administrator and there wasn’t much out there. The goal here is to train that next administrator.”
Eichorst also sees the new CBA building as important to athletics.
“When you think about it academically, having a new business school will be a game changer for us athletically as we recruit the best and the brightest,” Eichorst said. “Collaborating with one of the finest business colleges in the Big Ten and taking a leadership role in helping prepare the next wave of intercollegiate athletic administrators is central to our mission.”
In July, Plowman and Eichorst presented on “Cooperation and Collaboration Between Academics and Athletics,” to Big Ten Development officers. The two shared their insight on collaboration in the areas of academics, co-sponsoring events and joint fundraising opportunities. Their talk was considered by many to be the highlight of the conference.
“At most universities the academic side of the house and the athletic side of the house don’t have much to do with each other,” said Plowman. “As Shawn told the audience, we are one house. We embrace the opportunity to collaborate with the Nebraska Department of Athletics, because we ultimately want the same thing – a vibrant community of students, alumni, business partners and donors who take pride in what we are doing and want to be a part of something special. It makes sense for us to work together to achieve our goals.”