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The purposes of this study were: (1) to identify the delineation of organizational centrality among NCAA Division I athletic departments, to determine the extent to which centrality as defined by Grusky Theory of Formal Structure (1963) impacts the selection of NCAA Division I collegiate athletic directors; (2) to identify a pattern of racial or gender stacking among central positions within intercollegiate athletic administration. The sample consisted of 838 athletic administrators from 170 NCAA Division I member institutions. The survey was comprised of items pertaining to the rates of professional interaction between athletic administrators, position title, the title of the individual to whom they report, and other demographic data. A Social Distance Scale was constructed in order to determine the formal structure and a model of centrality for a typical athletic department. Career paths of current athletic directors were analyzed and the relationships between centrality and leadership selection were assessed. The results of the data revealed that while significant differences were found between the proportions of ADs with at least one and three years of experience in a central position, there were no differences in the proportion of ADs with five or more years in central positions. The inconclusiveness of these results led to the consideration of an alternate definition of centrality based not on interaction as in Grusky's Theory of Formal Structure, but rather on the three following factors: 1) Job Descriptors 2) Previous Experience, and 3) Job Title. Potential differences across racial and gender lines were also assessed with regard to the occupancy of central positions. While there were no significant differences between male and female administrators under the Grusky model of centrality, minorities were found to be underrepresented in central administrative areas. Chi-square tests for goodness of fit and proportionality and ANOVA were used to analyze all data. From these data, it was concluded that less emphasis is placed on the traditional elements of the career trajectory for ADs (e.g. coaching, athletic participation) with a greater emphasis on business acumen. Further it was concluded that based on the background analysis of current ADs as well as present job descriptions, that experience in administrative areas that incorporate business principles (e.g. business/finance, marketing, sport oversight, fundraising/development) appear to be most critical (i.e. central) in this process. Finally, the study also revealed some evidence of racial and gender stacking among intercollegiate athletic institutions.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sport Management, Recreation Management & Physical Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
E. Newton Jackson, Jr., Professor Directing Dissertation; Susan Losh, Committee Member; Jerome Quarterman, Committee Member; Beverly Yerg, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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