The Sports Management Institute was founded by Mike McGee (former Athletic Director at the University of Southern California and the University of South Carolina). McGee’s concept was developed in 1989 as a joint venture of the athletic departments and business administration schools of the founding universities — Southern California, Notre Dame and North Carolina. The goal was to create a highly academic, graduate-level business program for athletic administrators.
Over the past 28 years, the Sports Management Institute has evolved. Beginning with the 1997-98 class, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) joined SMI as a participating sponsor of the program. In 2000, the Institute added two sponsoring institutions — The University of Michigan and The University of Texas. In 2006, the University of Georgia became a sponsoring institution of SMI.