UM Rolls Out Certificate in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration

School of Applied Sciences' new graduate program offers an inside look at the NCAA

Charlie Ball-Burrell, UM assistant athletics director in the FedEx Student-Athlete Success Center, is joining the new graduate certificate program in intercollegiate athletic administration this summer. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Students who are interested in a career in the intercollegiate athletics industry or who want a deeper understanding of the NCAA as an organization can earn a new graduate certificate in intercollegiate athletic administration at the University of Mississippi‘s School of Applied Sciences.

The program is designed to conveniently provide working students with advanced knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to flourish in specialized areas within intercollegiate athletics departments.

The certificate requires four online courses that can be taken in any order, each offered over eight-week periods. Coursework will include NCAA governance, internal operations in intercollegiate athletics, external operations in intercollegiate athletics, and leadership in intercollegiate athletics.

“The program will provide a comprehensive behind the scenes look at the administrative operations of intercollegiate athletics,” said Bob Baker, senior associate athletics director for student-athlete development.

The program will include a combination of asynchronous discussions, presentations, virtual guest speakers, and writing and research assignments, Baker said. Additionally, it emphasizes critical thinking, written expression of ideas and linking research with real life scenarios and challenges from the field of intercollegiate athletics. 

“An advanced degree increases marketability for students’ in career and job search, career advancement opportunity and increased understanding of all of the hard work that goes into an intercollegiate athletics department at the highest level,” Baker said.

In examining other universities, Baker and his colleagues noticed a growing number of similar programs and a gap in UM’s comparative offerings, he said.

“The university’s academic reputation and status as a Southeastern Conference institution would make this an attractive graduate education option for multiple types of student learners,” Baker said.

One of the major objectives of the certificate program is for students to identify and explore the multifaceted roles intercollegiate athletics plays as part of the mission of higher education at a variety of institution types and the different levels of NCAA athletics. 

Charlie Ball-Burrell, assistant athletics director in the FedEx Student-Athlete Support Center, looks forward to joining the program this summer. She has been with the center for 11 years in roles as an intern, tutorial coordinator, learning specialist, assistant director and associate director.

“In my current role, I have experienced working with student-athletes, and it would be an asset to learn the administrative duties in detail,” Ball-Burrell said. “This certificate program could help improve the ability to assist students more efficiently, provide insight to staff members and offer suggestions when needed.

“As a participant in the certificate program, I would be considered marketable to potential employers and improve my opportunity to apply for roles considered advancement. Overall, participation can assist in becoming a better employee for the Department of Athletics and University of Mississippi and service our students on a higher level.”

After completing the certificate program, Ball-Burrell hopes to venture into the classroom as an adjunct faculty member to become a part of the community that improves retention and graduation rates.

“With the new knowledge, I hope to better understand higher education, collaborations, partnerships, red tape and what is most effective,” she said.

“This is an amazing opportunity to work with our colleagues in the Ole Miss athletics department,” said Peter Grandjean, dean of the School of Applied Sciences. “Bob Baker, Julie Owen and their athletics administration team are nationally-recognized experts in intercollegiate athletics administration. They are fantastic teachers and mentors, too.

“Anyone aspiring to lead and serve in this competitive, dynamic field will gain an edge by completing our new fully online certificate programs.”

For more information about the intercollegiate athletic administration certificate program, email Andy King at