Samford University opens Sports Analytics Center


Joi Moore, Staff Writer

Samford University has been undergoing many physical changes within the past year. The no. 1 ranked school in the state of Alabama earlier this summer announced that it had launched the first Center for Sports Analytics in the United States via a university news release.

“The sports analytics center is a tremendous accomplishment for Samford,” said Jacob Gholson, a junior who will be involved with the program. “Analytics and research have come to the forefront of sport in the past few years, and the center is the first of its kind. As a sport administration major, I am ecstatic about the opportunities the center presents.”

In a separate news release, the university announced several professors had been chosen as inaugural fellows for the new center, including Assistant Professor Betsy Emmons from the College of Arts and Sciences; Assistant Professor of sociology, Charles Stokes; and Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Nathan Kirkpatrick. Marketing Professor Darin White has been named faculty athletics representative.

“Dr. Darin White has been working on partnerships with analytics companies that can data mine and make interpretations on data patterns,” said Emmons.

“This center will foster those relationships for both faculty and students and also provide an incubator for students to use the analytics software.”

The purpose of the sports analytics program is to study the patterns within sports as well as athletes. This also ties into social media, using these same data patterns as sports and athletes.

As well as providing an environment for students to learn, this area can also be used as a research center.

“The faculty involved with the center is looking forward to being a part of academic conversations about sport analytics and the ways it is evolving our understanding of online engagement and communication,” said Emmons.

“The importance of analytics has increasingly become an important skill set to have in any sport job, as sports rely more and more on analytics of some sort.”

This article was updated on September 25, 2017 for clarity.

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