Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The intent of this study was to explore constituent utilization of power and authority over time that led to systemic dysfunctions in the governance of intercollegiate athletics, and to examine the needs motivating the interested constituents, thus suggesting alternatives for reform. A comparison of the policies, practices, and circumstances of constituents in 1929 and the present was based upon an analysis of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Report (1929); the American Council on Education Report (1986); and the Knight Commission Report (1993), and other books, articles, and reports.;The constituents involved in the governance of intercollegiate athletics were consistent over time and included the governing board, the president, the faculty, the athletic director, the coach, conferences, the NCAA, boosters, business leaders, and the media. These constituents' use of power and authority was examined based upon Burbules' (1986) description of the legitimacy of authority and the reciprocal nature of power and upon Wolf's (1990) modes of power: interpersonal, tactical, and structural.;In both time periods, systemic dysfunction in the governance of intercollegiate athletics resulted from constituents who either neglected or exceeded their prescribed authority roles, thus generating breaches in authority. Other constituents subsequently exercised illegitimate power to fill these gaps in authority. Since constituent exercise of power and authority is based upon the inherent conflict of interest in power relations, an examination of the needs motivating constituents to use power and authority was essential. The examination of needs was based upon Maslow's (1970) deficiency needs that were the foundation of his Hierarchy of Needs. The basic constituent need that motivated constituents to exercise power and authority in both 1929 and the present was founded on self-preservation.;The Model of Balance in Athletic Governance explained the relationship between constituent resource needs and their integrity and was based on self-preservation. When an imbalance occurred, the Model explained why constituents exceeded or neglected their prescribed authority roles and why other constituents used power to fill the gaps in authority.;Reformers must ultimately understand the needs and roles of constituents and their use of power and authority over time in the governance of intercollegiate athletics in order to devise feasible reform alternatives. Only through understanding the participants and process of athletic governance can reformers have a genuine and lasting impact upon changes in the operation of intercollegiate athletics. Recommendations for reform were based upon the needs of constituents that motivate their exercise of power and authority. Reform recommendations at both the individual university and inter-institutional level included: (1) clarify the athletic mission; (2) presidential control; (3) decentralize the NCAA and increase conference influence; and (4) require full public disclosure of policies and practices.



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