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Who Calls the Shots? Sports and University Leadership, Culture, and Decision Making: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 30, Number 5

Who Calls the Shots? Sports and University Leadership, Culture, and Decision Making: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 30, Number 5

Suzanne E. Estler, Laurie Nelson

ISBN: 978-0-787-98076-4

Apr 2005, Jossey-Bass

152 pages

Select type: Paperback

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Intercollegiate athletic programs continue to grow to financially, physically, and ethically challenged levels, despite institutions' stated priorities to the contrary. Organizational theories offer lenses for understanding why colleges and universities appear to make athletics decisions that do not seem to be in their interests. Exploring the forces—structural, legal, social and cultural, and market—external to the institution leads to an understanding of the environment’s role in constraining campus leaders’ choices.

The challenge is how to reap educational, social, and economic benefits from sports programs without harming the institution's academic and moral integrity. This volume explores how relatively independent forces constrain the ability of institutional, athletics, and faculty leaders to limit perceived excesses in the growth of intercollegiate athletics programs on their campuses and nationally. Academic and athletic cultures; historical precedent; external organizations and constituencies; external laws and regulations; and markets for athletics-related materials, entertainment, student-atheletes, and professionals: all bring outside forces to bear on the college culture, leadership, and decision making. This monograph explores how the unintended interactions of these forces constrain campus leadership of intercollegiate athletics and consider the resulting policy and leadership implications. It examines the unique historical role of football—and its associated commercialization and culture of masculinity—as shaping the foundational structure and regulation of college sports.  The monograph concludes with campus leadership strategies and recommendations.

This is Volume 30, Issue 6 of the of the ASHE Higher Education Report series.

Executive Summary vii

Foreword xiii

Preface and Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction and Overview 1

The Problem in Decision Making Related to Athletics 3

Interpretations of the Problems 5

Theoretical Context 9

Structure of the Monograph 12

Significance to Higher Education Study and Practice 12

The Athletics System in Higher Education 15

Contemporary Governing Organizations 16

Historical Context: Men, Women, Football, and University Growth 22

Dilemmas and Tensions Revealed by a Structural View 34

The Legal and Regulatory Context 37

Origins and Impact of Rules 38

Title IX: Prohibiting Gender Discrimination in Education 47

Summary and Implications 54

The Social and Cultural Context 57

Gender, Power, Privilege, and Intercollegiate Sports 58

The Gendering of Intercollegiate Athletics 59

Homophobia and Masculinity 63

Race and Intercollegiate Athletics: Opportunity or Exploitation? 65

Sports and Academic Culture 68

Sports and the American Psyche 70

Conclusion: Social and Cultural Shaping of Decision Making in 71

Intercollegiate Athletics

Economics and the Athletics System 73

Commercialization of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Entrepreneurial University 75

Summarizing the Impact of the Economics of Intercollegiate Athletics 86

Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations 89

The Athletics System and Intersecting Environmental Forces 90

Observations, Themes, and Recommendations 93

Conclusion 105

References 109

Name Index 117

Subject Index 121

About the Authors 125