NJIT launching sports-focused analytics concentration through management school

New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Martin Tuchman School of Management will offer a new concentration in business and sports data analytics, beginning in the fall, the university announced this week.

As part of the concentration, undergraduate students will learn the data science behind the multibillion-dollar sports industry, the Newark-based school said in a news release. The New York metropolitan area is home to a number of professional and Division I collegiate teams, including NJIT’s 17 Division I programs.

Analytics courses are already part of concentrations in the School of Management that include accounting systems, finance, innovation/entrepreneurship, management information systems and marketing.

“We wanted to create a business and sports analytics option, pulling in the analytics courses, as well as creating two new courses,” Dean Oya Tukel said in a prepared statement. “We wanted to make these analytics courses a little bit more AI-enabled, because that’s the way it goes. Artificial intelligence is a smart tool that helps you with analytics. Now, your job is going to be more of not doing number-crunching and using Excel, but more of the interpretation and insights into the data for decision-making.

“It becomes much more important today for a business student than actually running the numbers and the spreadsheets, because AI will be able to do that for us. I mean, it’s there already.”

Athletics Director Lenny Kaplan said he is excited about the possibility of the Highlanders teams working with students in the concentration.

“We don’t have the money to outrecruit or outbuild other programs in many cases,” he said. “And that’s OK, because everybody finds their spot, and that’s what they do. We use analytics in certain ways, just not as in-depth. I use biomedical data that we glean from Polar heart monitors, from Whoop sleep bracelets, from what’s called EliteForm technology, (which is) cameras on platforms. It talks about torque and speed, and you know how you’re working out.

“All you need is that one point of information that the coaches buy into, to make a switch in your strategy, that wins a game.”