Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business has teamed up with the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), according to a public release Tuesday.
The partnership is designed to offer current and former players in the Women National Basketball Players Association the chance to earn a master’s degree or other professional certificate. The WNBPA, created in 1998, is the first labor union comprised of professional women athletes. Its purpose is to protect players and help them achieve their full potential.
“Through our degree programs and many other initiatives, the Kelley School has long been committed to empowering women to accelerate their careers and become influential business leaders,” dean of the Kelley School of Business Ash Soni said in Tuesday’s release. “Through this partnership, we are providing another highly competitive group of women with the resources they will need for lasting success — in this instance, off the court.”
This is not the first time the Kelley School of Business has partnered with professional sports leagues. Successful joint efforts with the National Football League’s Players Association in 2014 and the Major League Soccer Players Association in September 2022 have encouraged the school to continue to provide opportunities for professional athletes.
“Each season, over 95% of the W draft class graduates with their undergraduate degree, and some have even started graduate programs,” executive director of the WNBPA Terri Jackson said in Tuesday’s release. “Our members know all too well that the career span of a professional athlete is not very long and view an academic partnership with Kelley as a significant pathway to further their education and achieve economic empowerment.”
The WNBPA-Kelley MBA program will include a Kelley Capstone Experience so students can work on real-world projects and work towards a degree that directly relates to each individual's goals. Before the year's end, WNBPA members will be able to apply for an MBA degree and a Master of Science degree via the Kelley School's Executive Degree Programs.
Courses will be taught online by the same faculty members who teach the full-time programs. The school will utilize its Brian D. Jellison Studios –– funded via the $16 million gift in 2020 from the Brian and Sheila Jellison Family Foundation –– to provide an experience similar to an in-person education.