Examining Faculty Perspectives on the Role and Value of Intercollegiate Athletics


  • Molly Harry University of Arkansas
  • Daniel Springer University of Oklahoma




The uneasy marriage of higher education and athletics can be seen through the conceptual lenses of former institution and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Myles Brand’s Standard or Integrated View. The Standard View maintains that athletics serves as a business while the Integrated View argues that athletics should be appreciated as a form of education and art. Through these perspectives of athletics as a business, education, and art, this study surveyed faculty at one football bowl subdivision institution (n = 216) on their perceptions of athletics. Analyses demonstrated faculty perceptions were varied and contradictory as they noted athletics was simultaneously a business important for their institution, but also a detractor for higher education at large. Additionally, they perceived some developmental benefits of participation in athletics but still did not believe sports to be educational in nature. Implications for better understanding faculty perceptions of athletics while improving the education-sport marriage are discussed.


Download data is not yet available.


Anderson, M. L. (2017). The benefits of college athletic success: An application of the propensity score design. Review of Economics and Statistics, 99(1), 119-134. https://doi.org/10.1162/REST_a_00589

Ayers, K., Pazmino-Cevallos, M., & Dobose, C. (2012). The 20-hour rule: Student-athletes time commitment to athletics and academics. The Virginia Journal, 33(1), 22-27.

Barr, C. (1999). History of faculty involvement in collegiate athletics. NCAA. http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/History+of+Faculty+Involvement_final.pdf

Bass, J. R., Schaeperkoetter, C. C., & Bunds, K. S. (2015). The “front porch”: Examining the increasing interconnection of university and athletic department funding. ASHE Higher Education Report, 5(41), 1-103. https://doi.org/10.1002/aehe.20023

Birnbaum, R. (1988). How colleges work: The cybernetics of academic organization and leadership. Jossey-Bass.

Brand, M. (2006). The role and value of intercollegiate athletics in universities. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 33, 9-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2006.9714687

Chalfin, P., Weight, E., Osborne, B., & Johnson, S. (2015). The value of intercollegiate athletics participation from the perspective of employers who target athletes. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 8, 1-27.

Clarke, L. (2022, October 7). Colleges are more willing than ever to pay football coaches not to coach. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2022/10/07/college-football-coaches-buyouts/

Clotfelter, C. T. (2019). Big-time sports in American universities. Cambridge University Press.

Coakley, J. (2008). Studying intercollegiate sports: High stakes, low rewards. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 1(1), 14–28. https://doi.org/10.1123/jis.1.1.14

Coakley, J. J. (2021). Sports in society: Issues and controversies. McGraw-Hill.

Coffey, L., & Davis, A. (2019). The holistic approach to academia: Traditional classroom instruction and experiential learning of student-athletes. Education Sciences, 9(2), 125-147. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020125

Comeaux, E. (2011). Examination of faculty attitudes toward division I college student-athletes. College Student Affairs Journal, 30(1), 75.

Comeaux, E., & Harrison, C. K. (2011). A conceptual model of academic success for student–athletes. Educational Researcher, 40(5), 235-245. https://doi.org/10. 3102/0013189X11415260

Corlett, J. A. (2013). On the role and value of intercollegiate athletics in universities. Journal of Academic Ethics, 11, 199-209.

Duderstadt, J. J. (2000). Intercollegiate athletics and the American university. The University of Michigan Press.

Estler, S. E. & Nelson, L. J. (2005). Who calls the shots?: Sports and university leadership, culture, and decision making. Jossey-Bass.

Feezell, R. (2015). Branding the role and value of intercollegiate athletics. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 42(2), 185–207. https://doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2014.911098

Fine, C. F., & Cooper, J. N. (2019). A multidimensional view of faculty perceptions of organizational change at a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Power 5 institution. Journal of Higher Education Athletics & Innovation, 1(6), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.15763/issn.2376-5267.2019.1.6.1-24

Flowers, R. D. (2009). Institutionalized hypocrisy: The myth of intercollegiate athletics. American Educational History Journal, 36(1/2), 343.

Foster, S. J., Springer, D., & Harry, M. (2022). “Please bear with me a moment as I write about sports”: Addressing the dearth of sport scholarship in general, high-impact higher education journals. Innovative Higher Education, 47(2), 175-200. https://doi.org/10.1007/ s10755-021-09564-8

Groves, R. M., Fowler Jr, F. J., Couper, M. P., Lepkowski, J. M., Singer, E., & Tourangeau, R. (2011). Survey methodology. John Wiley & Sons.

Gurney, G., Lopiano, D. A., & Zimbalist, A. (2017). Unwinding madness: What went wrong with college sports and how to fix it. Brookings Institution Press.

Harper, S. R. (2018). Black male student-athletes and racial inequities in NCAA Division I college sports. USC Race and Equity Center. https://race.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Pub-2-Harper-Sports-Report.pdf

Harry, M. (2023). Reconceptualizing Division I intercollegiate athletics participation as a High Impact Practice. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 16(2), 135-164.

Harry, M., & Weight, E. A. (2019). Education through athletics: Interest in an athletics performance curriculum. Journal of Applied Sport Management, 11(4) 15-28. https://doi.org/10.18666/JASM-2019-V11-I4-9608

Hyland, D. A. (2008). Paidia and paideia: The educational power of athletics. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 1(1), 66–71. https://doi.org/10.1123/jis.1.1.66

Jayakumar, U. M., & Comeaux, E. (2016). The cultural cover-up of college athletics: How organizational culture perpetuates an unrealistic and idealized balancing act. The Journal of Higher Education, 87(4), 488-515.

Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics (KCIA). (2010). Restoring the balance: Dollars, values, and the future of college sports. https://www.knightcommission.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/restoring-the-balance-0610-01.pdf

KCIA. (n.d.) College athletics financial information (CAFI) database. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://cafidatabase.knightcommission.org/

Koo, G., & Dittmore, S. W. (2014). Effects of intercollegiate athletics on private giving in higher education. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 7(1), 1-16.

Kramer II, D. A. (2016). Motivations to switch: Refuting the public discourse on athletic conference realignment. The Review of Higher Education, 39(3), 339-370. https://doi:10.1353/rhe.2016.0018

Kretchmar, R. S. (2021). President Brand's gambit: Inviting scholars inside the tent. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 14(3), 39-53. https://doi.org/10.17161/jis.v14i3.15634

Lawrence, J. H. (2009). Faculty perceptions of intercollegiate athletics. In J. L. Hoffman, J. S. Anthony & D. D. Alfaro (Eds.), New directions for institutional research (pp. 103-112).

Lawrence, J. H., Hendricks, L. A., & Ott, M. C. (2007, October 15). Faculty perceptions of intercollegiate athletics: A national study of faculty at NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision institutions. The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. https://www.knightcommission.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/faculty_perceptions_final.pdf

Leary, P. (2014). The role of the faculty athletic representative at NCAA Division I FBS institutions [Dissertation, Northeastern University]. Northeastern University Archive. https://repository.library.northeastern.edu/files/neu:336598/fulltext.pdf

Lifschitz, A., Sauder, M., & Stevens, M. L. (2014). Football as a status system in US higher education. Sociology of Education, 87(3), 204-219. https://doi.org/10.1177/ 0038040714533353

Lombardi, J. V. (2014, April 3). Time for a sports degree. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/04/03/universities-should-create-sports-performance-degree-athletes-essay

Matz, L. (2020). Turning intercollegiate athletics into a performance major like music. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 47(2), 283-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/00948705.2020.1771188

Miksza, P., & Hime, L. (2015). Undergraduate music program alumni's career path, retrospective institutional satisfaction, and financial status. Arts Education Policy Review, 116(4), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/10632913.2014.945628

Morgan, W. J. (2008). Markets and intercollegiate sports: An unholy alliance? Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 1(1), 59-65. https://doi.org/10.1123/jis.1.1.59

NACDA. (n.d.). Learfield director’s cup. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://nacda.com/sports/2018/7/17/directorscup-nacda-directorscup-current-scoring-html.aspx

NCAA Division I Manual (2020). NCAA Publications. http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D121.pdf

Ott, M. (2011). Faculty satisfaction with intercollegiate athletics. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 4, 370-395.

Pallant, J. (2016). SPSS survival manual: A step-by-step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS (6th ed.). McGraw Hill Education.

Potuto, J. J. R., & O'Hanlon, J. (2007). National study of student-athletes regarding their experiences as college students. College Student Journal, 41(4) 947-966.

Renfro, W. I. (2009). Myles Brand: In his own words. NCAA. https://www.ncaapublications. com/productdownloads/MB2009.pdf.

Riddick, C. C., & Russell, R. V. (2015). Research methods: How to conduct research in recreation, parks, sport, and tourism. Sagamore Publishing.

Rubin, L. M., & Moses, R. A. (2017). Athletic subculture within student-athlete academic centers. Sociology of Sport Journal, 34(4), 317-328. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2016- 0138

Savage, H. J. (1929). American college athletics. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. http://www.thecoia.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Carnegie-Commission- 1929-excerpts-1.pdf

Simons, H. D., Bosworth, C., Fujita, S., & Jensen, M. (2007). The athlete stigma in higher education. College Student Journal, 41(2), 251-274.

Smith, R. A. (2011). Pay for play: A history of big-time college athletic reform. University of Illinois Press.

Smith, R. A. (2021). The myth of the amateur: A history of college athletic scholarships. University of Texas Press.

Sperber, M. (2000). Beer and circus: How big-time college sports has crippled undergraduate education. Macmillan.

Springer, D., & Dixon, M. A. (2021). College student development within the context of formalized sport in American higher education. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 14(1), 189-209, https://doi.org/10.17161/jis.v14i1.11755.

Suggs, W., & Hoffman, J. L. (2021). Myles Brand’s collegiate model and the post-amateurism world of college sports. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 14(3), 96-118. https://doi.org/ 10.17161/ jis.v14i3.15674

Thelin, J. R. (1996). Games colleges play: Scandal and reform in intercollegiate athletics. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Thelin, J. R. (2011). A history of American higher education. Johns Hopkins University Press.

US News and World Report (n.d.). Best national university rankings. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities.

Walker, A. G. (2015). Division I intercollegiate athletics success and the financial impact on universities. SAGE Open, 5(4), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015611186

Weight, E. A., Harry, M., & Navarro, K. (2020). Integrating athletics within the academy: Educational experiences of athletes, musicians, and traditional students. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 13(1), 143–169.

Weight, E. A., & Huml, M. R. (2016). Education through athletics: An examination of academic courses designed for NCAA athletes. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 9(2), 352-378. https://doi.org/10.1123/jis.2015-0051

Wininger, S., & White, T. (2008). The dumb jock stereotype: To what extent do student-athletes feel the stereotype? Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 2(2), 227-237. https://doi.org/10.1179/ssa.2008.2.2.227

Wininger, S. R., & White, T. A. (2015). An examination of the dumb jock stereotype in collegiate student-athletes: A comparison of student versus student-athlete perceptions. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 9(2), 75-85. https://doi.org/10.1179/1935739715Z.00000000036

Wolf-Wendell, L. E., Toma, D., & Morphew, C. C. (2001). There’s no ‘I” in team: Lessons from athletics on community building. Review of Higher Education, 24, 369–396. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2001.0012




How to Cite

Harry, M., & Springer, D. (2024). Examining Faculty Perspectives on the Role and Value of Intercollegiate Athletics. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.17161/jis.v17i1.20971