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ERIC Number: ED516093
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 353
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-8192-2
A Delicate Balance: An Examination of Lehigh University's Athletic Culture and Athletic Extra-Curriculum, 1866-1998
Smith, Courtney Michelle
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Lehigh University
This dissertation examines the history of Lehigh University's athletic culture and extra-curriculum from 1866 to 1998 and argues that both of those institutions served as the basis for identity within the undergraduate student body. Additionally, this dissertation argues that the athletic culture and extra-curriculum established Lehigh's identity within the collegiate world and endured because those supporting both institutions publicly promoted them as complementary to the university's academic aims. I used the term athletic extra-curriculum in order to cover the full range of athletic-related outlets available to undergraduates. Those outlets included class-based teams, banner and cane rushes, intramural and club sports programs, cheering practices, smokers and pep rallies, physical education classes, and intercollegiate teams. I used the term athletic culture in order to capture the beliefs and attitudes associated with the athletic extra-curriculum. Those beliefs and attitudes included self-reliance and the maintenance of a balance between academic and athletic aspirations. Throughout the progress of Lehigh's athletic culture and extra-curriculum, several key themes remained constant--the need to balance athletic successes against academic priorities, the agency of the undergraduate student body, the importance of strong presidential leadership, and the connection between athletics and collective identity. Undergraduates established both the athletic culture and extra-curriculum, shaped key athletic policy decisions, created an intramural program, and operate club sports programs. More significantly, undergraduates used the athletic culture to initiate new students into the campus and to serve as the basis of collective class and living group identity. School presidents endowed the athletic culture and extra-curriculum with a veneer of legitimacy and blended both institutions with the university's academic aspirations. During the twentieth century, questions concerning athletic scholarships arose periodically as the athletic culture moved away from and then closer to accepting those scholarships for some of its intercollegiate athletes. President Peter Likins embodied Lehigh's struggle over athletic scholarships as he helped establish the academic-minded Patriot League and supported those scholarships for wrestlers and basketball players. In the 1990s, Lehigh's decision to award athletic scholarships to wrestlers and basketball players symbolized a significant change in policy and abandonment of its earlier ideals. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania