The Small College Financial Crunch: Using Athletics as a Leading Form of Enrollment Management

in Case Studies in Sport Management

Click name to view affiliation

Claire ZvosecDepartment of Sport Management, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Search for other papers by Claire Zvosec in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
*
and
Nathan BaerDepartment of Sport Management, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Search for other papers by Nathan Baer in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Alicia Morrison is the athletic director of Northeast Private College (NPC), a small, tuition-driven, suburban National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III (DIII) institution in the northeast region of the United States. Like many small colleges throughout the country, NPC is facing a dire financial crisis if it cannot stem declining enrollment trends. Since athletic scholarships are not allowed at the DIII level, student-athletes at NPC pay tuition in the same way as the general student body. Similar to many small, DIII colleges, student-athlete tuition dollars are relied upon as a primary fiscal solvency strategy for the institution as a whole. As part of a collaborative effort between Alicia, NPC’s President, and its Board of Directors, Alicia will be tasked with developing a strategic plan for growing the size of the athletic department. This case study enables students to gain a better understanding of the DIII athletics environment. Students will use scholarly articles and a real-world financial and enrollment database to help Alicia with her strategic plan. The pressure is high, as, in many ways, the future of NPC relies upon Alicia effectively developing—and implementing—a viable strategic plan for the growth of the athletic department.

Zvosec (clairez@lsu.edu) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4019-886X

Supplementary Materials

    • Teaching Note (PDF 150 KB)
  • Collapse
  • Expand
  • Barr, M.J., & McClellan, G.S. (2010). Budgets and financial management in higher education. John Wiley & Sons.

  • Bass, J.R., Pfleegor, A.G., Katz, M., & Schaeperkoetter, C.C. (2014). Why D3? A holistic exploration of Division III institutions and their student-athletes. Paper presented at the 7th Annual College Sport Research Institute Conference on College Sport.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beierle, T.C. (2002). The quality of stakeholder‐based decisions. Risk Analysis: An International Journal, 22(4), 739749.

  • Bonvillian, G., & Murphy, R. (2014). The liberal arts college adapting to change: The survival of small schools. Routledge.

  • DesJardins, S.L., & Bell, A. (2006). Using economic concepts to inform enrollment management. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2006(132), 5974.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • “Equity in Athletics Data Analysis.” (2021). https://surveys.ope.ed.gov/athletics/#/

  • Katz, M., Cocieru, O.C., Springer, D.L., & Dixon, M. (2021). Fan ties and friendships: A longitudinal network study of Division III sports on campus. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 14(1), 166188.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Katz, M., Pfleegor, A.G., Schaeperkoetter, C., & Bass, J. (2015). Factors for success in NCAA Division III athletics. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 8, 102122.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NCAA. (2021a). Division III academics. https://www.ncaa.org/division-iii-academics

  • NCAA. (2021b). Finances of intercollegiate athletics database. https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/finances-intercollegiate-athletics-database

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NCAA. (2021c). Our division III members. https://www.ncaa.org/our-division-iii-members

  • NCAA. (2021d). Our three divisions. https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/ncaa-101/our-three-divisions

  • “NCAA Division III Manual.” (2021). https://web3.ncaa.org/lsdbi/reports/getReport/90011

  • Peale, C. (2013, September 16). Small colleges use sports to boost the bottom line. Cincinnati Inquirer. http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130916/NEWS0102/309160030/Small-colleges-use-sports-boost-bottom-line

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Perrault, E.K. (2016). Attitudes and motivations of students toward athletic-event attendance at a midsize division III university: Recommendations for communicators. International Journal of Sport Communication, 9(3), 321339.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reich, J.B. (2003). All the [athletes] are equal, but some are more equal than others: An objective evaluation of Title IX’s past, present, and recommendations for its future. Penn State Law Review, 108, 525572.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Riddle, M., Brint, S.G., Levy, C.S., & Turk-Bicakci, L. (2005). From the liberal to the practical arts in American colleges and universities: Organizational analysis and curricular change. The Journal of Higher Education, 76(2), 151180.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sanderson, A.R., & Siegfried, J.J. (2018). The role of broadcasting in National Collegiate Athletic Association sports. Review of Industrial Organization, 52(2), 305321.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simmons, J., Iles, P., & Yolles, M. (2005). Identifying those on board “the moving train”: Towards a stakeholder‐focused methodology for organizational decision making. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 22(1), 4153.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Snyder, E., & Waterstone, K. (2015). An examination of Division III small college athletics: president and commissioner influence and change in athletic philosophy. Journal of Contemporary Athletics, 9(3), 195.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stafford, S.L. (2004). Progress toward Title IX compliance: The effect of formal and informal enforcement mechanisms. Social Science Quarterly, 85(5), 14691486.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trapp, N.L. (2014). Stakeholder involvement in CSR strategy-making? Clues from sixteen Danish companies. Public Relations Review, 40(1), 4249.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • U.S. Department of Education. (2021). Equity in athletics disclosure act. https://www2.ed.gov/finaid/prof/resources/athletics/eada.html#:∼:text=The%20Equity%20in%20Athletics%20Disclosure%20Act%20requires%20co-educational,revenues%20and%20expenses%2C%20by%20men%27s%20and%20women%27s%20teams

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zdziarski, E.L. (2010). A small college perspective on institutional budget issues. New Directions for Student Services, 129, 2127.

  • Zvosec, C.C., & Bass, J.R. (2022). What it means to “win” in small college athletics: Strategic contingency theory and alternative success. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 15(1), 5275.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zvosec, C.C., Bass, J.R., & Baer, N. (2021). Student-athletes “taking the road less traveled:” Social comparison theory and the academically elite NCAA Division III institution. Managing Sport and Leisure, 117. https://doi.org/10.1080/23750472.2021.1949381

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 356 356 96
Full Text Views 49 49 7
PDF Downloads 73 73 8