In 1989, NASSM (North American Society for Sport Management) and NASPE (National Association for Sport & Physical Education) agreed that there was a need to provide some level of quality assurance to students enrolling in sport management programs and to the employers hiring graduates of those programs.  The organizations formally joined together in 1989 to create the NASPE-NASSM Joint Committee that would oversee the continued development of curricula guidelines for sport management. These guidelines were approved by the NASPE and NASSM members at their annual conferences in 1990. From this work came the creation in 1993 of the Sport Management Program Review Council (SMPRC), an independent entity acting on behalf of both NASSM and NASPE for the purpose of reviewing sport management programs.  Since the formation of the SMPRC, the standards used for program approval have evolved.  There has also been much discussion about moving toward an Accreditation process, a more recognized approach within academia.

In July 2005 NASSM and NASSM representatives met to discuss the proposed direction of SMPRC including movement toward Accreditation.  Two task forces were formed: the Accreditation Task Force and the Standards Task Force.  These Task Forces were comprised of members from each association and were charged with investigating Sport Management Accreditation from both a process and policies perspective, as well as a standards perspective.

The Accreditation Task Force and Standards Task Force provided preliminary reports to representatives in May 2006.  At the 2006 NASSM Annual Conference a roundtable discussion was held to collect feedback from the NASSM membership regarding Sport Management Accreditation.

The formation of the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) was proposed in January 2007 and draft accreditation manuals were provided to NASSM and NASPE members for review and feedback.  Additional meetings were held at the 2007 NASSM and NASPE annual conference to present the refined model.

In September 2007, NASSM and NASPE identified a timeline to officially launch the COSMA organization in July 2008.