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Volume 21 No. 27
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Rosner joins Columbia as director of sports management master’s program

Columbia University has tapped longtime Wharton School professor Scott Rosner to head its well-regarded sports management master’s degree program, which also will add two other full-time faculty members to the stacked lineup of adjuncts for which it is known.

Rosner joined the program last week as academic director and professor of practice, replacing former director Vince Gennaro, who departed in August to become associate dean of professional studies in the sports management program at NYU.

He will be joined by Grant Son, founder of successful digital media startup SchoolSports, who has taught entrepreneur-focused classes at Yale and Columbia; and Len Elmore, the college basketball TV analyst and Harvard Law School grad who serves on the Knight Commission.

It was assumed that Scott Rosner (right) would replace Ken Shropshire at Wharton, but family obligations changed his plans.

Both have taught as adjuncts at Columbia in the past. By adding them and Rosner as full-time faculty in Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, the school hopes to build an academic infrastructure more like those of other programs in an increasingly competitive field.

“It’s the best school in the world to offer a sports management degree,” said Rosner, who holds a master’s in sports administration from the University of Massachusetts and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. “If you’re starting from that position, you’ve got an opportunity to really grow something special.”

At Wharton, Rosner was associate director of the school’s Sports Business Initiative, which offered students at the elite business school an opportunity to work on sports-related consulting projects and find internships and jobs in the industry. He was the presumed replacement when program founder Ken Shropshire left for Arizona State in April. But when his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July, Rosner, 47, reduced his workload to spend more time with his parents.

Not long after that, Columbia called. Because the school is a far easier commute from his northern New Jersey home, Rosner felt he could better balance work and family there. Laurajean Holmgren, who served as interim academic director after Gennaro left, will remain with the program as deputy academic director.

“It’s an amazing opportunity that came at the right time,” Rosner said. “It’s already a strong program that’s known around the world. But in the past, it’s been an academic director who wasn’t a faculty member and a group of very good adjuncts. Now, you’ll have an academic director who is also a faculty member, with two other faculty members joining and maybe the opportunity to add to that. You can build more of an academic culture. And you’re better equipped to connect that culture between faculty and students and alumni.”