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Chrysostomos Giannoulakis

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Chrysostomos Giannoulakis

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James E. Johnson, Chrysostomos Giannoulakis, and Beau F. Scott

While competitive balance literature is robust when addressing professional sport from an economic perspective, little empirical work has focused on understanding what shapes interscholastic competitive balance policies. Using the theory of distributive justice as a framework, the purpose of this multiple case study was to examine the perceptions of top administrators regarding sociocultural influences on interscholastic competitive balance. Qualitative interview data collected from six state commissioners/executive directors revealed four predominant findings: (a) policy is driven by a philosophical approach that is aligned with the theory of distributive justice; (b) an overemphasis on winning strongly influences policy; (c) political influence through legal threats and state educational policy shapes committee decisions; and (d) the prevailing challenges of policy creation include school size, geography, public/nonpublic status, tradition, sport-specific characteristics, and lack of knowledge. Implications of these findings are discussed.