Who Calls the Shots? Sports and University Leadership, Culture, and Decision Making


Who Calls the Shots? Sports and University Leadership, Culture, and Decision Making



Intercollegiate athletic programs continue to grow to financially, physically, and ethically challenged levels, despite institutions' stated priorities to the contrary. Organizational theories offer lenses for understanding why colleges and universities appear to make athletics decisions that do not seem to be in their interests. Exploring the forces—structural, legal, social and cultural, and market—external to the institution leads to an understanding of the environment’s role in constraining campus leaders’ choices.

The challenge is how to reap educational, social, and economic benefits from sports programs without harming the institution's academic and moral integrity. This volume explores how relatively independent forces constrain the ability of institutional, athletics, and faculty leaders to limit perceived excesses in the growth of intercollegiate athletics programs on their campuses and nationally. Academic and athletic cultures; historical precedent; external organizations and constituencies; external laws and regulations; and markets for athletics-related materials, entertainment, student-atheletes, and professionals: all bring outside forces to bear on the college culture, leadership, and decision making. This monograph explores how the unintended interactions of these forces constrain campus leadership of intercollegiate athletics and consider the resulting policy and leadership implications. It examines the unique historical role of football—and its associated commercialization and culture of masculinity—as shaping the foundational structure and regulation of college sports. The monograph concludes with campus leadership strategies and recommendations.



Publication Date





San Francisco, CA


Universities and colleges, College sports, Management, Higher Education, College athletes, College sports, Social aspects, Moral and ethical aspects, United States


Higher Education Administration | Sports Studies