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Calvin Nite and Marvin Washington

The effective management of innovation is important for sport organizations seeking to maintain dominance within their respective fields. However, innovation can be problematic as it threatens to alter institutional arrangements. This study examined how technological innovation impacted institutional arrangements within U.S. intercollegiate athletics. Adopting the institutional work framework, we studied the emergence of television and the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) struggle to maintain centralized control of television regulations. We drew from historical data that discussed the NCAA’s regulation of television from the 1940s until the mid-1980s. We found that disparate perceptions of the impact of live televising of college football games and the NCAA’s protracted regulations resulted in tensions among its members. This led to large universities forming strategic alliances and openly defying NCAA regulations. The tensions culminated when universities sued the NCAA in a case that was ultimately ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court. This resulted in substantial institutional change that saw the NCAA losing regulative authority of college football television contracts. The findings of this study have implications beyond the context of U.S. intercollegiate athletics.

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Christopher M. McLeod and Calvin Nite

The authors develop a theory of human capital ecosystems and argue that sport markets are human capital ecosystems. After analyzing the emerging U.S. rugby market, the authors demonstrate that league executives conceived of the rugby market as an ecosystem organized around investing in and capturing value from athlete human capital. League executives focused on developing aspirational value: a shared value proposition that all rugby actors benefited from. League executives saw other rugby leagues as complements rather than competitors, which contradicts current sport business theories, but is consistent with an ecosystem view. However, although league executives agreed on the need for a human capital ecosystem, they had different visions of how the ecosystem should be created. Each league pursued a different strategy and had different objectives. The authors argue that all sport markets are human capital ecosystems, and they use the theory to distinguish between emerging sport markets and established sport markets.

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George B. Cunningham and Calvin Nite

Drawing from concepts in institutional theory, the purpose of this study was to examine how community measures intersect with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusiveness to predict organizational success. The authors collected publicly available data about National Collegiate Athletic Association departments (N = 65) and their communities. Moderated regression analyses demonstrated significant interactive effects, such that performance was highest when the department followed an inclusive strategy and (a) the lesbian, gay, and bisexual population density was high and (b) the state-level implicit bias toward sexual minorities was low. Importantly, there were no negative effects in following an inclusive strategy, even when institutional logics did not prescribe such an approach. The models explained 60–62% of the variance in performance. The authors discuss theoretical and practical implications.

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Michael Hutchinson, Calvin Nite, and Adrien Bouchet

Amid evidence of limited financial benefit, universities in the United States continue increasing their commitment to the NCAA’s highest level of competition. Consequently, it is believed that such behavior is the result of more intangible motivations by university decision makers. Using escalation of commitment theory as a framework, the authors explored social and structural determinants of increasing commitment, specifically examining the role of organizational status, former performance, and side-bets in commitment escalation. Applying a collective case study approach, the authors examined institutions (N = 10) having increased their commitment to Division I athletics within the last 10 years. Serving as the primary data source, participants (n = 35) included decision makers involved in the implementation of escalation initiatives. QSR International’s NVivo 10 software was employed for data analysis in the application of a three-step coding process. Findings revealed unique theoretical advancement in the emergence and role of organizational status in commitment escalation. Further, decision makers identified the impact of former organizational performance in the decision to increase athletic commitment. Finally, findings revealed the increased significance of organizational side-bets serving as the sole means for sustaining course of action commitment.

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Matt R. Huml, Marion E. Hambrick, Mary A. Hums, and Calvin Nite

Managers must collect and prioritize claims made by their stakeholders as they decide the direction of their organization. Previous research has focused on stakeholders’ use of power, legitimacy, and urgency to prioritize their claims over others. Fewer studies have examined the perspectives of stakeholders and how they aligned their responses with elements of stakeholder theory in the hopes of gaining salience with management. Additionally, scholars have requested further examination of other themes beyond the established categories of stakeholder salience. This study aimed to investigate how stakeholders would respond with power, legitimacy, and urgency-related claims when faced with changes to their organization’s governing structure. We utilized stakeholder theory and the established attributes of stakeholder salience (i.e., power, legitimacy, and urgency) to examine the perceptions of Division II college coaches and their responses to recently approved National Collegiate Athletic Association legislative changes. In addition to the three previously established stakeholder attributes, equity-related claims made by stakeholders emerged, extending the stakeholder theory research.