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Nels Popp, Terry Eddy and Chad McEvoy

In this case study, readers are placed in the role of a National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I Athletics Director and challenged to consider the issue of selling the corporate naming rights to the department’s premier on-campus sports venue. Readers are exposed to a myriad of issues impacting such a decision and must weigh out such factors as: (a) the appropriateness of corporate commercialization in college athletics, (b) the pressure to balance a tight athletic department budget, (c) the impact of changing a facility name which holds significant nostalgic value to the fan base, (d) what type of sponsors might be an appropriate fit for a corporate naming rights sponsorship, and (e) what are the current trends among sport facility naming rights within college athletics. The case study is supported by many scholarly research citations but also includes important appendices, including a database of 44 current college athletic facility naming rights deals, populated with key variables. This database will assist readers in the difficult process of attempting to value naming rights for a fictional facility depicted in the case study.

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Jason Simmons, Nels Popp and Greg Greenhalgh

The outdoor athletic fields of Sunshine State University are in poor condition. Overuse, insufficient drainage, and a lack of human and financial resources have contributed to the fields’ deterioration. Sunshine State University’s director of athletics, Emily Rodriguez, has decided to replace the existing fields, but that decision is just the tip of the iceberg. Rodriguez now must decide on a natural or synthetic surface for the new fields. This decision is complex because cost, maintenance, durability, player safety, and player preference must all be considered. Both surfaces have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, Rodriguez must decide which surface is right for Sunshine State University.

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Nels Popp, Jason Miller and Marion Hambrick

The United States Tennis Association is the National Governing Body for tennis in the U.S. and is comprised of three major divisions: (a) professional tennis, (b) player development, and (c) community tennis. The USTA’s signature event and primary source of income is the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The organization currently faces several challenges, including two issues which have received significant media attention. The USTA currently lags behind several other nations in developing elite young players, despite the U.S. having large participant numbers. Also, financially-speaking, the U.S. Open is a highly successful event, but its largest show court lacks a roof, which has proven costly as several championship events have been postponed due to weather. The challenge of this case study is for students to develop a strategic plan for how the USTA can best use their resources to grow tennis in the United States.

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Erianne A. Weight, Coyte Cooper and Nels K. Popp

Philosophical debate about the proper role of athletics within the academy has reverberated through each era of collegiate sport, and a growing body of literature points toward an impending tipping point unless radical reform ensues. This study contributes perspective to a proposed reform model through investigating perceptions of National Collegiate Athletics Association Division I coaches (N = 661) about their roles as educators and how this role could be altered through structural and philosophical changes within the academy. Quantitative and qualitative data provided mixed findings related to coach support for an integrated organizational structure with high variance in all structural facets explored except for compensation, where coaches believed structures should not be uniform between athletic and academic units because of the perceived greater workload, hours, media attention, and pressure in athletics.

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Grace Yan, Dustin Steller, Nicholas M. Watanabe and Nels Popp

The question of how and why users engage in sport digital communication endures. In this study, structuration theory is employed to examine how social-media users exercise preferences in the creation of content as they respond to a variety of macrolevel factors pertaining to college football—the type of game, team strength, conference membership, market characteristics, etc. Through hierarchical regression analysis, the results indicate that the presence and timing of college football games, as well as team strength and game outcome, are significant determinants for the patterns of online content generation. As such, the study advances the theoretical, methodological, and managerial inquiry of user-generated content on sport social-media platforms through a Big Data analytics approach.

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Nels Popp, Erianne A. Weight, Brendan Dwyer, Alan L. Morse and Amy Baker

This study examined satisfaction levels with graduate sport management programs in the United States. A 26-item graduate degree program satisfaction instrument was developed and administered electronically to a sample of current students and alumni from seven sport management master’s degree programs yielding a 54.31% response rate (N = 302). Respondents generally indicated high levels of satisfaction with their decision to pursue a graduate sport management degree, but were significantly less satisfied with the specific school they attended. Respondents indicated the most beneficial courses included current topics, sport and society, sport marketing, and sport ethics, whereas the least beneficial courses included statistics, international sport, and research methods. Students who earned their undergraduate degree in business were consistently less satisfied with how well their graduate program taught them various sport management skills compared with students with undergraduate degrees in sport management, sport-related studies, or other majors.