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ERIC Number: EJ1093064
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0162-5748
Motivations to Switch: Refuting the Public Discourse on Athletic Conference Realignment
Kramer, Dennis A., II
Review of Higher Education, v39 n3 p339-370 Spr 2016
Since their inception, intercollegiate athletic programs have spurred debates between academics and practitioners in terms of their importance and placement within the academic mission of higher education. This dialogue has escalated over the past 30 years, as the college sports industry has grown in size, scope, and complexity. As a result of increasing popularity, intercollegiate athletic programs have become a critical part of a college president's portfolio of responsibilities (Duderstadt, 2003). The nation's more prominent higher education institutions use intercollegiate athletics as institutional signals of the collegiate ideal, national branding, institutional identity, and, in some cases, an auxiliary revenue-producing entity. The overarching purpose of this study was to examine the full range of institutional factors involved in athletic conference realignment decisions--the decision to switch athletic conference affiliation. Despite the fact that realignment is a process in which a conference and an institution share interest and derive benefits, this study focuses on "push" factors: the anticipatory impacts and institutional considerations in making a decision on potential conference realignment. The two overarching research questions guiding this study attempt to strengthen the theoretical understanding by which universities engage in broad-based intercollegiate athletic decision making. First, what are the primary factors--drivers--for institutions deciding to change athletic conferences? Second, what elements contribute to strategic decision making as it relates to athletic conference realignment? This study provides another context in which to understand how universities leverage their individual units to maximize their desired outcome. Additionally, this study attempts to break down the silos and create an integrated conversation about the potential of looking at intercollegiate athletics as an agent of prestige for the academic enterprise. To do so, the author begins by contextualizing the discourse around intercollegiate athletics as well as the role athletics plays in institutional decision-making. Then, he reviews the narrative findings on the factors impacting conference realignment. This article concludes with an exploration of the various theoretical implications of this work and how athletic-based research fits into the broader context of higher education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A