The National Collegiate Athletic Association as a Social-Control Agent: Addressing Misconduct Through Organizational Layering

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Ball State University
  • 2 Louisiana State University
  • 3 University of Alberta
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The present study focuses on the National Collegiate Athletic Association and cases of misconduct from 1953 to 2016 to examine evidence of organizational layering created by social-control agents. The historical method was employed and found wrongdoing may influence the creation of organizational layers to control and/or manage future behavior. Furthermore, the activities of the National Collegiate Athletic Association featured variation in centralization, formalization, and complexity through expanding horizontal; vertical (e.g., institutional, managerial, and technical); and spatial differentiations. Second, individual social-control agents impact future organizational policies and member behavior but social-control agents’ power may be challenged as an organization grows. Third, as a social-control agent, the National Collegiate Athletic Association struggled with assessing cases of misconduct, assigning sanctions in a timely manner and at a level to deter future wrongdoing. Finally, the present study offers several propositions connecting third-party regulators to the synergy between complexity (i.e., horizontal and vertical differentiations); formalization; and centralization.

Walker is with the School of Kinesiology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN. Seifried is with Sport Management, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Soebbing is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Chad S. Seifried at cseifried@lsu.edu.
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