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University of Michigan School of Information


Finholt: UM students strengthening Michigan Athletics through sports analysis

Graphic featuring Dean Thomas Finholt's headshot and the title of The Detroit News Article: "UM teams collaborate with students to gain edge through analytics"

Thursday, 05/13/2021

University of Michigan football fans are familiar with the thrill of watching a masterful play executed at the Big House. Less well known is the methodology behind the team’s successes.

The saying goes practice makes perfect, but U-M School of Information Dean Thomas Finholt and U-M students are helping teams utilize another important factor: data analysis.

This week, Dean Finholt spoke with the Detroit News about the university’s cross-campus sports analytics initiative. 

With the help of Catapult, a device that gathers an athlete’s metrics during both practice and competitions, Finholt and students in the Michigan Sports Analytics Society (MSAS) are studying data from eight U-M sports teams. 

Finholt told the Detroit News that data helps teams understand what’s working and what’s not on a more complex level. He hopes that the collaboration between students and the athletic department will usher in a new sports analytics degree option at the university.

I realized that (data) was a whole different lens into the process and the competition. I’ve tried to nourish that as much as I can, because I think it’s a perfect storm of Michigan’s historic interest in competition and winning and the talent level of our students to be able to contribute to that.

Read more about how Dean Finholt is integrating analytics into U-M athletic’s success. 


- Kate Cammell, Writer UMSI