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ERIC Number: ED545527
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 177
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-7437-4
Playing to Win: The Evolution of Athletics and Reform in American Higher Education
Lee, Candice Storey
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University
Intercollegiate athletics, namely "big-time" athletics, is an enduring feature of American higher education. Its visibility is unmatched by other institutional activities, and its influence reaches far beyond the campus. College athletics' longevity insulates it from the likelihood of elimination, but it regularly earns criticism for a curious fit in higher education. Calls for reform are a significant aspect of the character of college sports. This descriptive study articulates the nature of such reform over time, encouraging deeper understanding of the intricacies of athletics in American higher education. The solution to the athletics dilemma is reliant upon American higher education's knowledge of how reform works in the context of intercollegiate athletics. As higher education faces increased accountability for its activities, it is imperative that practitioners are prepared for and can initiate reform in the management of the big-time athletics enterprise. A keen awareness of the nature of athletics reform arms higher education professionals with the tools to do so. This information is essential to enhancing athletics as a legitimate, purposeful higher education activity. The study identifies the history and nature of athletics reform while incorporating American educational and social history. Four interrelated trends emerged throughout the evolution of athletics and reform. Isolation and fragmentation were prevalent, as were the challenges of big-time athletics' search for identity. Additionally, the trials of governance and the ongoing pursuit of credibility were identified as trends. The data were categorized within two major themes: (a) the rationalization of athletics and (b) mixed messaging. The historical perspective provides rich material to inform the future of big-time athletics. Higher education must posture itself to proactively manage athletics, and the study proposes recommendations to aid institutions in integrating the big-time enterprise into institutional mission, strategy and values. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A