ERIC Number: EJ863698
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 30
Institutionalized Hypocrisy: The Myth of Intercollegiate Athletics
Flowers, Ronald D.
American Educational History Journal, v36 n2 p343-360 2009
America is unique in that participation in sports has historically been linked to colleges and universities under the premise that participation serves an educational function and supplements the mission of higher education. Yet, intercollegiate athletics is seldom discussed in institutional accreditation self-studies, mission statements, or annual reports as part of higher education's primary purpose of teaching, research, and service. The irony of this silence is that when faced with criticism, athletic programs continue to be rationalized as proxies to higher education's academic mission. This study revisits the educational premise that has historically defined the fundamental nature of intercollegiate athletics. In spite of the fact that athletic programs have come to be protected and promoted activities on college campuses across the country, there has been a reluctance to study the role of athletics in higher education. How does one explain this peculiar arrangement? How has this conceptualization of athletics--an extension of higher education's educational mission--become a part of the institutionalized structures of higher education? Was this educational role the organizing premise of sport in higher education? These are best seen as largely historic questions to be answered by looking at the way in which intercollegiate sports have operated and interacted with the campus over time. This essay avers that intercollegiate athletics developed as a separate commercial enterprise. College sporting activities did not make up the educative function of higher education; rather, these student run activities were co-opted by the leadership of higher education for marketing purposes to increase enrollment, philanthropy, and public support. Only after "tramp" athletes began to appear on campuses and threatened to tarnish the prestige of these institutions did athletics become coupled to the academic mission of higher education.
Descriptors: Higher Education, College Athletics, Role, Institutional Mission, Group Unity, School Community Relationship, Campuses, Physical Activities, Beliefs, Deception, Business, Educational History, Public Support, Intercollegiate Cooperation, Competition, Private Financial Support, Facilities
IAP - Information Age Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 79049, Charlotte, NC 28271-7047. Tel: 704-752-9125; Fax: 704-752-9113; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.infoagepub.com/products/journals/aehj/index.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A