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
Alison J. Armstrong-Doherty
Interuniversity athletic departments face an ever-increasing number and complexity of factors in their environment, which may impact on their organizational activities to varying degrees. The head athletic directors at 34 of the 45 (76%) Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) member institutions rated the degree of control of 15 environmental elements over seven basic activities of the athletic department. The athletic department was perceived to function relatively independent of broad environmental control, with the exception of establishing and supporting a philosophy of interuniversity athletics. It appears that perceived control is a multidimensional phenomenon that varies across the environmental elements and the activities of the athletic department.
Increasing financial constraints have led athletic directors in Canadian universities to consider alternative sources of funding to supplement traditional university and student support. A profile of the current structure of athletic funding was developed to provide a better understanding of who is paying for interuniversity athletics and to address concerns about the possible implications of this support. Athletic directors at 34 Canadian universities reported the amounts of financial resources received from various sources during the previous fiscal year; the amount from each source was calculated as a percentage of the total athletic budget. The results indicate that the majority of funding for interuniversity athletics continues to be secured from university funds and/or student fees, although a decline in the former was noted. An increase in the percentage of funding from internal revenues generated by the athletic department was observed. However, funding from nonuniversity sources continues to be relatively minimal.