The University of Oregon Is Making “Masters” Out Of Sneakerheads With Sports Product Management

A former boss at Nike is working with the University of Oregon to turn sneaker heads into “masters” – literally.

The University is offering an 18-month Masters Degree program in Sports Product Management.
The course was created by former Nike executive Ellen Schmidt-Devlin, who saw the need to create a pipeline for students trying to get into the sportswear business.
According to, Schmidt-Devlin developed a standard course for the student’s curriculum for the students.
But there’s a twist – there is also an innovation lab, so students can get hands-on experience.

“There’s a high demand for employees with a mix of experience and education, but there was no degree to fulfill the education side—until now” – Kelly Hibler, VP Nike Basketball Footwear

“You have to work on a team with everybody that has a functional background that’s different than yours,” Ellen Schmidt-Devlin to “They think different than you do. Because they think different than you do and you all have to accomplish the same thing collectively, you have to compromise. You’re learning from each other—we force tension into the program. That’s how great product is made.”
The University of Oregon also went and struck deals with a variety of manufacturers and distributors, so the students could actually see their prototypes come to life.
The university could become the leader for budding sneaker heads, thanks to the thriving industry that exists in the state.
Two of the world’s biggest athletic retailers – Nike and Adidas – are in Portland, which is extremely advantageous to any student taking the course and trying to get real world experience in the business.
Check out a video of instructor Tobie Hatfield, who is also Nike’s Athlete Innovation Director.