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Julie Long, Lucie Thibault and Richard Wolfe

Because of substantial financial cutbacks, Canadian university athletic departments are facing increased pressure to realign their budgets and seek funding from nontraditional sources. Research that addresses influence over funding decisions in university athletics is therefore warranted. This study addressed the attributes of those who are perceived to have influenced an exclusive sponsorship decision, the methods of influence used to influence this decision, and the extent to which athletic department policies and procedures influenced the process. A single-case study in the athletic department of a Canadian university was undertaken to address these questions. The study involved semistructured interviews with coaches and administrators, participant observation, and document analysis. The results indicated that structural factors (i.e., positional power, coaching high-priority sports) had the greatest influence over the funding decision studied, although personal factors (i.e., expertise, personality, seniority) were also key sources of influence. Interactions among the sources of influence were also observed.