Perceptions of Intercollegiate Athletic Programs: Priorities and Tradeoffs

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 The University of British Columbia
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Considerable controversy exists concerning university athletics. Depending upon one’s perspective, athletic programs are seen as having important positive, or negative, effects on universities. The objective of the research reported here is to determine whether perceptions of intercollegiate athletic programs differ as a function of issues such as winning, profits, ethics, and the education of athletes. Our analyses indicate that: (a) ethics and winning, and education and revenue, tend to be competing athletic program priorities; (b) individuals cluster in four groups that emphasize athletic program revenue, winning, education, and ethics; and (c) the extent to which cluster membership is related to constituency group (e.g., alumni, students, faculty) membership depends on the constituency group being considered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of our findings for both theory and practice.

D.S. Putler is with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z2. R.A. Wolfe is with the School of Human Kinetics at The University of British Columbia.

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