An Interdisciplinary Approach to Sports Analytics in a University Setting; Performance, Privacy, and the Professional: The Proliferation of Data Analytics in Athletics

Nelson, Sarah, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Scherer, William, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

The explosion of data has transformed athletics. The publication of the book Moneyball in 2003 sparked a new national appreciation for sports analytics, evident in “Fantasy” leagues, sports betting, and commercial sensors such as Fitbit. Data analytics has changed the ways in which we play, coach, watch, and enjoy both collegiate and professional sports.
Many universities have begun offering academic degrees in sports analytics and management. Data collection and modeling techniques offer universities valuable opportunities. A systems analysis was used to identify stakeholders, uncover values, and better understand the networks and culture of the University of Virginia. In combination with a modified trade study, the analysis was applied in the design of an interdisciplinary sports analytics hub. Our recommendation is a design that serves the university’s strategic goals by integrating pan-university educational programs, research activities, athletic programs and community outreach.
In athletics, data analytics is controversial, dividing athletes, coaches, and fans. To its defenders, data analytics improves performance, coaching, and gameplay. But critics of data analytics in sports contend that it is no substitute for good coaching, that it is inconsistent with the spirit of athletics, and that it compromises privacy.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Data Analytics, Sports Analytics, Athlete Privacy, University Athletics, Sports Betting

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering
Technical Advisor: William Scherer
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: Jacqueline Hoege, Maryanna Lansing, Sarah Nelson, Daniel Ungerleider, Rishab Iyer, Carl Rhodes, Ben Metzger, Peter Worcester, Aniket Chandra, Jacob Leonard, Rachel Kreitzer

Issued Date: