Institutional Control of NCAA Division I (FBS) Athletics: An Investigation of Economic and Administrative Influences of NCAA Recruiting Infractions
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Recruiting talented student-athletes is integral to the success of an athletics program. Yet, some universities and individuals therein have been willing to violate National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recruiting regulations to lure talented athletes to play at their institution. Institutional and isomorphic pressures of discouraging unethical recruiting behavior and practice rely heavily upon the rationalization and institutionalizing of social phenomena through written policy in NCAA Bylaw 13. These policies may be identified as cartel agreements, where a group creates rules to control actions that assure economic profit. Although recruiting top talent may lead to increased victories and revenues, most NCAA athletic departments do not make a profit and being sanctioned for violating NCAA recruiting rules may lead to damaged institutional reputation. In response, universities have invested resources to protect institutional prestige through a comprehensive NCAA rules compliance program. Nevertheless, undisclosed recruiting violations transpire because there are financial incentives to violate NCAA rules. Three separate works were utilized to examine the economic, institutional, and individual factors of NCAA institutional control. First, institutional factors of reported NCAA recruiting violations were analyzed through a series of chi-square tests. Correlative institutional factors were found in particular types of Bylaw 13 violations including conference affiliation, geographic region, sports involved in a major infraction, and size of full-time athletic compliance staff when the violation occurred. Second, hierarchical loglinear regression was used to analyze the results from a survey of 7,200 current student-athletes regarding undisclosed recruiting violations. Various violation types of Bylaw 13 correlatively involved institutions from Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conferences, based on geographic regions, revenue sports, and individual factors of race, sex, and income level. Third, a qualitative instrumental case study examined the economic, administrative, and individual relationships regarding NCAA institutional control of athletics recruiting at a perceivably compliant Division I (FBS), BCS conference-affiliated institution. Findings from this study suggested that the systemic pressure to win championships and maintain institutional control become difficult to balance with the added pressure of high stakes recruiting that can influence the financial stability of an athletic department. The conclusion of this work will assess systemic alternatives regarding NCAA recruiting violations and propose legal remedies to curtail future recruiting violations.
Clark, Robert Smith (2010). Institutional Control of NCAA Division I (FBS) Athletics: An Investigation of Economic and Administrative Influences of NCAA Recruiting Infractions. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from