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Gary Bennett

In recent years, Division I athletics programs have hired counseling or clinical psychologists as a resource for student-athletes who need assistance with clinical issues, personal difficulties, and performance issues. This article documents the evolution of this type of position at Virginia Tech and includes a discussion of the goals of the clinical sport psychologist position, an overview of the daily activities the position entails, and a discussion of the issues that comprise the assessment, conceptualization, and treatment of student-athlete concerns. Models for conceptualizing and delivering sport psychology interventions are also discussed. Evidence indicates that having access to a mental health professional familiar with the issues facing college athletes can be instrumental in helping many of these student-athletes achieve success in the university setting.

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Marshall Magnusen, Andrew Gallucci, Stephen Kelly, and Josh Brown

This case is a creative illustration of organizational politics in a National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) sports setting. It includes the exploration of several key concepts: political will, political skill, political perceptions, political behavior, and political influence theory. Upon arriving to his new job at the Division I level, an assistant men’s basketball coach finds himself to be a key piece in a political chess match between the highly successful Head Coach of the men’s basketball team and the Athletic Director (AD). The issue at hand is the hiring of the new assistant coach by the AD without the support of the head coach. The hire is an attempt by the AD to subvert and eventually replace the legendary head coach who, in the eyes of the AD, is long past his prime. Accordingly, the new hire encounters a variety of political scenarios, including strong resistance from the players and coaching staff of the men’s basketball team. This case, with the addition of detailed teaching notes, is designed to highlight salient elements of organizational politics to undergraduate and graduate sport management students, and explain how they can successfully apply this information and more effectively operate in the political sports arena.

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William V. Massey, Stacy L. Gnacinski, and Barbara B. Meyer

Research has demonstrated the efficacy of psychological skills training (PST), yet many athletes do not appear ready to do whatever it takes to improve the mental aspects of performance. Although the transtheoretical model of behavior change (TTM), generally, and readiness to change, specifically, have received considerable attention in a range of allied health fields, few studies have been conducted to examine this construct in applied sport psychology. The purpose of the current study was to examine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes’ readiness for PST as it relates to their stage of change, decisional balance, self-efficacy, and use of processes of change. The data trends observed in the current study were consistent with the theoretical underpinnings of the TTM as well as previous research on NCAA Division I athletes. The results of the current study highlight the need to consider readiness to change when designing and implementing PST interventions.

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Angela N. Pratt

Intercollegiate athletics directors (ADs) in the United States are high-profile representatives of their departments and universities. Their publics include media, sponsors, donors, fans, faculty, students, and government officials. However, few studies have explored ADs from a public relations perspective, especially regarding their understandings of public relations. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to learn how ADs understand public relations in the context of their athletics departments. A phenomenological approach was used to pursue this purpose. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I ADs. Their transcripts were analyzed using comparative-analysis procedures. The findings show that the participants understand public relations as integrated impression management: a combination of image, message, and action/interaction. Integrated impression management ties into ideas from Goffman (1959), as well as systems theories of public relations. However, the results also imply that ADs do not necessarily separate public relations from other disciplines such as marketing.

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Gregory A. Cranmer

Previous research has suggested the potential for enduring and influential messages (otherwise known as memorable messages) to serve as mechanisms of athlete socialization but has failed to explore how these messages might help athletes adjust to their teams. This study used open-ended questionnaires to explore how the memorable messages that Division-I student-athletes receive before their college career influence them before and after they join their teams, as well as the associations between message content and function. The results of this study indicate that memorable messages shape student-athletes’ attitudes, expectations, and participative decisions before beginning their college careers and their attitudes, relationships, and performance once they began their careers. However, few associations between message content and functions were observed, and no associations between student-athletes’ sex and sport type with message functions were observed. These results highlight the role of discourse in sport socialization by revealing that specific messages help prepare and acclimate student-athletes for college athletics. However, this study fails to provide insight into why specific functions might occur.

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Michael Hutchinson and Adrien Bouchet

Due to the perceived benefits of NCAA Division I participation, institutional decision makers regularly encounter the appropriate extent of intercollegiate athletics commitment. Amid evidence of limited profitability, many institutions continue investment in Division I athletics. However, select institutions have redirected Division I athletic commitment from former failing courses of action. Based on escalation of commitment theory, this study investigated de-escalation of commitment within the bureaucratic educational setting of Division I athletics by implementing a collective case study of select higher learning institutions (N = 8). Participants (n = 32) included decision makers involved in the development and implementation of de-escalation initiatives. Findings revealed unique theoretical contributions related to the absence of negative feedback and importance of accurate information in redefining the magnitude of a problem. Contrary to previous de-escalation research, findings provided further contribution related to the importance of limited stakeholder consultation and a lack of engagement in impression management among decision makers.

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, Christianne M. Eason, Rhyan A. Lazar, and James M. Mensch

We examined factors that have contributed to career longevity in the profession of athletic training in the NCAA Division I setting. Longevity is an important topic for athletic trainers, as many depart the setting for various reasons, and viability of a lifelong career is often questioned. Fourteen (11 males and 3 females) athletic trainers who have worked in NCAA Division I athletics for 15 years or more volunteered to participate in this study and completed one-on-one phone interviews. An inductive analysis was completed. Data saturation was reached with our sample, and we completed member checks and multiple analyst triangulation. Our results showed having a passion for the role and job, having an acceptance of the athletics lifestyle, having a support network, and having family and work integration were the major reasons our participants have been able to persist as an athletic trainer within the NCAA Division I setting.

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M. Elizabeth Verner, Jeffrey B. Hecht, and A. Gigi Fansler

This paper describes the development of a survey instrument to assess athletics donor motivation. An extensive literature review, followed by interviews with athletics donors, identified 14 dimensions of donor motivation. Expert review and field testing of potential survey items reduced the number of dimensions of athletics donor motivation to 12. The final instrument, Motivation of Athletics Donors (MAD-1), was pilot tested with a sample of donors from 10 NCAA Division I athletics programs. Eleven scales were validated using confirmatory factor analysis, scale reliabilities (Cronbach's alpha), and item-to-total correlations. These results (a) provide the foundation necessary for systematic study of athletics donor behavior utilizing social cognitive theory as the theoretical framework, and (b) support the use of the MAD-1 as a practical instrument for assessing the specific motivations of any particular donor group.

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Jillian McNiff and Thomas J. Aicher

In 2013, approximately 5.3 million students took an online course in the United States—a 3.7% increase, when compared with 2012. This growth in e-learning may impact sport participation and the educational experience of student-athletes. This change creates various challenges and opportunities for those who support student-athletes’ educational development. Therefore, using the zone for proximal development and scaffolding theory, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the role student-athlete support services staff play in ensuring the effectiveness and quality of e-learning, and to identify strategies and best practices associated with e-learning. Qualitative interviews were conducted with directors of student-athlete support service organizations within Division I athletics. Results of the analysis engendered three central themes: (a) faculty relations, (b) lack of formal assessment, and (c) educational opportunities. The results aligned with the tenets of the zone of proximal development and scaffolding theory. In addition, a framework to assist student-athletes’ development is presented.

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James M. Gladden, George R. Milne, and William A. Sutton

In an effort to enhance the organization's image and increase its revenues, sport managers should incorporate the concept of brand equity, the strength of a team/university name in the marketplace, into strategic marketing efforts. This article, building on Aaker's (1991) theoretical structure, develops a conceptual framework of brand equity applied to Division I college athletics. The brand equity framework provides a closed-ended system whereby antecedents (team-related, university-related, and market-related) create brand equity that then results in marketplace consequences (e.g., national television exposure, ticket sales). These consequences then feed into a marketplace perception that impacts the antecedents of brand equity through a feedback loop. Directions for future research efforts that address evaluating the validity of the model, implications for different sports within Division I athletics, and relationships to other popular marketing concepts are offered.