Athletic Fundraising: An In-depth Analysis of the Challenges Faced and Strategies Utilized in the NCAA Division II Athletic Landscape
Keywords:athletic fundraising, Division II, intercollegiate athletics, stakeholder theory
In the current economic environment, state appropriations to higher education are continually decreasing, with cuts in state aid resulting in universities undergoing significant financial cuts (Mitchell et al., 2017). In particular, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II athletic departments have been seriously impacted. The Division II structure requires athletic programs to depend on private, charitable contributions, brought in through organized fundraising activities. This study used the previous athletic fundraising literature and stakeholder theory (Freeman, 1984) to guide 14 semi-structured interviews with Division II athletic fundraisers, representing a wide range of universities. The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify the major challenges that individuals who fundraise for Division II athletic departments face as well as the strategies that are being used to overcome those challenges. This study also aimed to identify the role that stakeholders played in athletic fundraising and how stakeholder claims of power, urgency, and legitimacy guided the fundraising process (Mitchell et al., 1997). Theoretical and practical implications are also advanced.
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