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Organizational autonomy of the interuniversity athletic department, university responsibility for athletics, and pressure from nonuniversity individuals, groups, and organizations are all concerns related to the department's dependence on various sources in its environment for financial support. The Emerson (1962) power-dependence theory of social exchange relations, and its adaptation to the study of organization-environment relations (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Thompson, 1967), guided an examination of funding and control in Canadian university athletics. This study examined whether athletic departments are perceived to be controlled by the funding sources in their environment according to their relative resource dependence upon those sources. Financial resource dependence and perceived control data were obtained from athletic directors (ADs) at 34 Canadian universities. Significant Spearman rank order correlations reveal the resource dependence-based perceived control of the university central administration, corporate sponsors, and provincial/federal sport organizations and ministries (p < .05). Of these, however, only central administration was perceived to have considerable control over the departments. Nevertheless, ADs should be aware of the resource dependence-based control potential of these other sources.
Alison J. Armstrong-Doherty is with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Thames Hall, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 3K7.