Organization and Administration of Intercollegiate Athletics

Education 545

Organization and Administration of Intercollegiate Athletics


Revised and Final

Spring, 2001

Wednesdays @ 2-4 p.m.

J. Douglas Toma

Graduate School of Education

Higher Education Division

I.                 Introduction and Overview

Our overall objective will be to develop an appreciation of:

·        the historical, philosophical, and sociological bases of intercollegiate athletics

·        intercollegiate athletics within the context of the university as a complex organization

·        the influence of external regulation and external constituencies upon the administration of intercollegiate athletics and the university

·        how intercollegiate athletics programs at individual institutions are structured and financed

·        the psychological, social, and academic development of student athletes

In covering the topics listed below, we will focus, in particular, on two key sets of issues.  The first is the importance of considering issues of diversity in administrative decision making at colleges and universities.  These issues involve race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, and other areas that mark difference.  The second is the importance of financial constraints upon the administration of higher education and thus in intercollegiate athletics.

We will combine practical and theoretical perspectives in addressing these topics, regularly including practicing university administrators, athletics administrators, and other experts in our discussions.

II.               General Information

A.              Date, Time, and Place

We will meet at 4200 Pine Street, Fourth Floor, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. each Wednesday from January 17 through May 9, with the exception of March 14 and April 11, when we are not scheduled to meet.

B.              Course Website

By enrolling the course, you have access to our Blackboard site, which you can access at using your PennNet ID and password.

C.        Office and Office Hours


You may reach me outside of class by visiting my office, via telephone, or through electronic mail.  My preference is that you contact me by e-mail, whenever possible.  I check e-mail messages at least daily.  My e-mail address is:  You may reach me by telephone via the Institute for Research on Higher Education at 215-898-4585.  The fax number at IRHE is 215-898-9876.  My office is located on the fourth floor of 4200 Pine Street.

D.        Office Hours

I hold office hours by appointment.  Please contact me directly, via electronic mail, to schedule an appointment.

E.               Instructor

J. Douglas Toma (Ph.D., J.D. University of Michigan) is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Research on Higher Education and holds a visiting faculty appointment in the Higher Education Management program.  Doug explores organizational and legal issues in higher education and has been a frequent contributor to the top scholarly journals in higher education, including the Journal of Higher Education, the Review of Higher Education, and Research in Higher Education.  Before coming to Penn, Doug was assistant professor of higher education and coordinator of the doctoral program in the Urban Leadership and Policy Studies Division at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 


III.              Texts

We will use nine texts in the course:

·        Andrew Zimbalist, Unpaid Professionals:  Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports (1999, Princeton University Press).

·        James J. Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics and The American University:  A University President’s Prospective (2000, University of Michigan Press)

·        John R. Gerdy, The Successful College Athletics Program:  The New Standard (1997, ACE-Oryx)

·        Allen L. Sack and Ellen J. Staurowsky, College Athletes for Hire:  The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA’s Amateur Myth (1998, Praeger)

·        James L. Shulman and William G. Bowen, The Game of Life (2001, Princeton University Press).

·        Walter T. Champion, Sports Law in a Nutshell (2000, West)

·        John Feinstein, The Last Amateurs:  Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I Basketball (1999, Little Brown)

·        Edwood Reid, If I Don’t Six (1999, Anchor)

·        Patricia Adler and Peter Adler, Backboards and Blackboards:  College Athletes and Role Engulfment (1991, Columbia University Press).

These texts are available through the Penn Bookstore, located at Walnut and 36th Streets.

In addition, other reading is posted on the course web site. Finally, I may distribute other reading in class from time to time.


IV.             Assignments and Expectations

A.              500 Word Papers

Over the course of the semester, there are four of these papers assigned.  They are due at the beginning of class.  The idea of the paper is for you to make a sophisticated argument clearly and concisely while providing evidence for and illustrations of your major points.  One suggestion is to write a slightly longer paper as a first draft and to tighten it as you revise.  I will return these papers, with comments, at the next class session.

B.              Course Assignment

The major assignment in the course is to explore a common topic, with each of six groups completing a research project related to it.  The topic is what the experience intercollegiate athletics can suggest to higher education institutions, more broadly, in building community from difference. 

Three of the groups will conduct a comprehensive review of the research literature related to an aspect of the topic.  These include:

·        Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Intercollegiate Athletics and American Higher Education (Group 1)

·        The Psychological, Social, and Academic Development of Intercollegiate Athletes and the American College Student (Group 2)

·        Defining Community in American Higher Education (Group 3)

Each group will be responsible for a paper of 30-40 double-spaced pages (9000-12000 words), including at least 40 citations from scholarly sources.  Along with the paper, each group should include photocopies of the relevant portions of books cited and of all articles or chapters cited.

The other three groups will analyze and write-up raw data on the topic, focusing on one of three sets of subtopics related to traits that facilitate inter-group cooperation in intercollegiate athletics: 

·        Sharing a common goal (Group 4)

·        Engaging in intense, frequent interaction (Group 4)

·        Sharing adversity in the form of hard work, suffering, and sacrifice (Group 5)

·        Having a common “enemy” (Group 5)

·        Recognizing that each individual has something important to contribute (Group 5)

·        Holding team members accountable (Group 6)

·        Having coaches who guide them (Group 6)

·        Exposure to difference from an early age (Group 6)

Each group will be responsible for 15-20 pages (4500-6000 words) on each subtopic.

There are several deadlines throughout the course for turning in outlines and drafts.

In preparing the course assignment, there are a few ground rules. 

·        Both literature reviews and data analyses need to be integrative – they should be organized into themes and subthemes.  In both, this means that the group should work to divide the citations or data into categories and present it in a holistic manner within these categories.  Above all, those working on literature reviews should avoid the trap of highlighting one author, then another, then another to exhaust a given topic.

·        It is important a logical order to present the categories – and thus the overall argument.

·        The entire paper should also be connected by strong transitions.

·        Writers should avoid the use of passive voice.

·        Writers should avoid scholarly conventions that are meaningless – phrases like “many commentators have written.”   Just say what they have written in a declarative statement.

We will divide into groups and assign tasks on January 24.

C.        Electronic Mail

Sometime before the second class meeting on January 24, everyone must send me an electronic mail message at the address listed above.  I will post any messages related to the class meeting scheduled before a given week before midnight on the Tuesday before the class, so be sure to check your messages accordingly.

D.        Attendance, Class Participation, and Behavior

I expect that you will contact me, preferably by electronic mail, if you will not be able to attend any class meeting.  I will not tolerate repeated absences and will take appropriate action if they occur.  Your attendance is obviously essential to your class participation, which is an important element of your final grade.  I define participation broadly to include your careful attention to discussions, as well as your direct contributions to our discussions.  Finally, I expect your adherence to University of Pennsylvania policies on plagiarism and student academic conduct.

E.         Group Work

If you encounter a problem working within a group that you are unable to resolve in a satisfactory manner on your own, it is your responsibility to notify me of the concern in sufficient time for us to attempt to work through the problem.  In other words, I need to hear of a problem far enough before the time at which something is due in order to take steps toward resolving it. 

V.        Evaluation

I will use two primary criteria in determining your course grade.  The first is the quality of your contributions in class and your regular class attendance.  The second is the level of sophistication that you display in your written work, both papers you complete as an individual and those you do as part of a group.  Both are products of your attention to the assigned readings and your class attendance.  I encourage you to read carefully and bring any questions that you might have to the attention of the class.  I also encourage you to plan ahead to avoid conflicts with our scheduled class meetings.

In evaluating group work, all members of the group receive the same grade.

Finally, I do not assign a relative value or weight to any assignment in determining overall grades, instead viewing all work in total.

VI.       Topics and Meetings

Please read the material listed under each topic for the class meeting indicated.

A.              Introduction and Overview

            Wednesday, January 17 @ 2-4 p.m.

B.              “Winning Through Diversity:”  Course Assignment

            Wednesday, January 24 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Wolf-Wendel, Toma, and Morphew, There’s No “I” in Team (course website)

·        Wolf-Wendel, Toma, and Morphew, How Much Difference (course website)

·        review interview transcripts (course website)

Assignment Due:

Send me an electronic mail message at

C.              Current Issues in Higher Education and Intercollegiate Athletics

Wednesday, January 31 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Toma and Cross, Contesting Values (course website)

·        Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics, Chapter 1-3, 5

·        Sack and Staurowsky, College Athletes for Hire, Introduction

Assignment Due:

500 Word Paper:  What values are most important in American higher education, and how does intercollegiate athletics both advance and hinder the expression and realization of these values?  Consider both “revenue” sports and other types of participation (as discussed in Toma and Cross).

D.        Historical and Philosophical Bases of Intercollegiate Athletics

Wednesday, February 7 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Toma, Football Saturdays, selections (course website)

·        Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics, Chapter 4

·        Zimbalist, Unpaid Professionals, Chapter 2

·        Sack and Staurowsky, College Athletes for Hire, Part 1 (Chapters 1-4)

·        Shulman and Bowen, The Game of Life, Chapter 1


Image at Buffalo:  The Division I Case

Wednesday, February 7 @ 430 – 630 p.m.

Guest:  Michael Cross, Assistant Director of Athletics, Princeton University


·        Case distributed at previous class

E.         The Uses of Intercollegiate Athletics

Wednesday, February 14 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Toma, Football Saturdays, selections (course website)

Assignment Due:

Citations and Outline Due, Groups 1, 2, 3

Passages Selected and Subthemes Identified, Groups 4, 5

F.         Commercial Pressures and Amateur Ideals

            Wednesday, February 21 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Zimbalist, Unpaid Professionals, Chapter 2, 5-7

·        Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics, Chapter 7-8

·        Shulman and Bowen, Chapters 9-11

·        Toma, Football Saturdays, selections (course website)

·        Sack and Staurowsky, College Athletes for Hire, Part 2 (Chapters 5-7)

Assignment Due:

500 Word Paper:  Is what high-profile spectator sports provide for institutions in terms of external relations and campus community worth the challenges associated with commercial pressures and professionalism? 

G.              Organization and Administration of the Athletics Department

Wednesday, February 28 @ 8 – 11 a.m.

            Meet @ 30th Street Station, SEPTA Ticket Windows @ 6:37 a.m.; arrive P’ton Jct. 750a

            Return to 30th Street Station by 1:00 p.m.



·        Feinstein, The Last Amateurs

H.              Regulation in Intercollegiate Athletics

Wednesday, March 7 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics, Chapter 6

·        Zimbalist, Unpaid Professionals, Chapter 8

·        Sack and Staurowsky, College Athletes for Hire, Chapters 8

·        Champion, Sports Law, Chapters 16-17, 19, 21

Assignment Due:

Rough Draft Due, All Groups

NO CLASS, Spring Break

I.                 Reform and Restructuring in Intercollegiate Athletics

Wednesday, March 21 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics, Chapters 10-14

·        Zimbalist, Unpaid Professionals, Chapter 9

·        Gerdy, The Successful College Athletics Program, Parts 1-4

·        Toma, Football Saturdays and March Madness, selections (course website)

·        Shulman and Bowen, The Game of Life, Chapters 13-14

·        Knight Commission Report:  Keeping Faith with the Student Athlete

Assignment Due:

500 Word Paper:  Assuming that the current regulatory scheme in intercollegiate athletics is unworkable, particularly relative to high-stakes spectator sports, what might be a realistic set of alternatives for governing intercollegiate competition?  Consider the potential social, economic, and political barriers to reform.  You may also argue that the current scheme works, but you need to explain both how and why it does?

J.               Recruiting and Admission

Wednesday, March 28 @ 2-4 p.m.


Shulman and Bowen, The Game of Life, Chapters 2-8, 12

Assignment Due:

Second Draft Due, All Groups



Eligibility at Penn:  The Athletic Department Case

Wednesday, March 28 @ 430 – 630 p.m.

Guest:  Steve Bilsky, Director of Athletics, U-Penn


·        Case distributed at previous class

K.              Legal Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics

            Wednesday, April 4 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Champion, Sports Law, Chapters 18, 22-23 (skim 2, 7, 9)

Assignment Due:

Literature Review Due, Group 1


NO CLASS, AERA Annual Meeting

Wednesday, April 11


·        begin Reid, If I Don’t Six

·        begin Adler and Adler, Backboards and Blackboards

L.               Issues of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Intercollegiate Athletics

Wednesday, April 18 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Zimbalist, Unpaid Professionals, Chapters 3-4

·        Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics, Chapter 9

·        Literature Review (Race, Gender, Orientation), Group 1 (course website)

Assignment Due:

Literature Review Due, Group 2

M.              Student-Athletes:  Psychological, Social, and Academic Development

Wednesday, April 25 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Literature Review (Athletes), Group 2 (course website)

·        finish Reid, If I Don’t Six

·        finish Adler and Adler, Backboards and Blackboards

Assignment Due:

Literature Review Due, Group 3

Data Analysis Due, Group 4

500 Word Paper:  On balance, is intercollegiate competition more beneficial or more harmful for student-athletes?  Take a side and remember to differentiate between spectator sports and other forms of competition.

N.              Building Community from Difference in American Higher Education:  Lessons from Intercollegiate Athletics, Part 1

Wednesday, May 2 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Literature Review  (Community), Group 3 (course website)

·        Data Analysis (Part 1), Group 4 (course website)

Assignment Due:

Data Analysis Due, Group 5

Data Analysis Due, Group 6

O.              Building Community from Difference in American Higher Education:  Lessons from Intercollegiate Athletics, Part 2

Wednesday, May 9 @ 2-4 p.m.


·        Data Analysis (Part 2), Group 5 (course website)

·        Data Analysis (Part 3), Group 6 (course website)