NCAA Division I Athletics: Amateurism and Exploitation

### Abstract

In recent days, there has been increased dialogue concerning the topic of compensating college athletes above athletic scholarships. The purpose of this paper was to discuss the NCAA and its member institutions’ exploitation of student-athletes. Amateurism and exploitation were defined and discussed in relation to NCAA Division I athletics. The evolution of intercollegiate athletics and the student-athlete was reviewed in order to better understand the motives for today’s exploitive practices. Using Wertheimer’s two arguments for the exploitation of student-athletes, it was demonstrated some student-athletes are victims of exploitation. However, after examining mutually advantageous exploitation and consensual exploitation, it was determined not all student-athletes are exploited. The NCAA and those responsible for setting student-athlete policy should discuss the implications of these conclusions.

**Key words:** college athletics, NCAA, amateurism, exploitation, student-athletes, athletic scholarships

### Introduction

Last winter, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) president Mark Emmert was asked by a group of sports media members about the possibility of paying college athletes. Emmert responded, “We can never move to a place where we are paying players to play sports for us” (Garcia, 2010, para. 9). “No, it will not happen – not while I’m president of the NCAA,” he later stated (“NCAA president,” 2011, para. 17). These comments sparked the reoccurring ethical discussion concerning the topic of amateurism and exploitation in college athletics. While many believe as amateurs, college athletes are receiving more than their fair share through athletic scholarships, others argue universities are exploiting their own student-athletes. The questions remain unanswered. Should college athletes be compensated beyond their athletic scholarships, and specifically, are the NCAA and its institutions exploiting student-athletes?

The questions involved in this discussion are unable to be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” In order to knowledgeably discuss the subject, there first needs to be a foundational understanding of the basic terms of amateurism and exploitation. In addition, the relationship between the two terms and intercollegiate athletics should be clearly defined. A history of the evolution of college sports and the role of student-athletes over the last two centuries must be examined also. The author will attempt to use all of this information to answer several key questions related to the topic of paying college athletes in order to determine if student-athletes are being exploited and, if exploited should they be compensated above their athletic scholarships?

Surprisingly, studies have not demonstrated an overwhelming support for paying student-athletes above their athletic scholarships. Schneider (2001) investigated college students’ perceptions of giving compensation to intercollegiate athletes in addition to the standard grant-in-aids. Of the 458 students (275 males and 183 females from 1 Division 1 athletic conference) surveyed, only a slight majority (54%) of the students believed athletes should receive additional compensation. Nevertheless, it is a subject that has again (even recently) become a hot topic in college athletics.

#### Amateurism and Exploitation in Collegiate Athletics

When it comes to debating whether or not college athletes should be paid, the two most often used terms are amateurism and exploitation. Neither term is new to intercollegiate athletics. Actually, both subjects have been topics of discussion for the NCAA since its inception in the early 1900s (“History,” 2010). Today, these two words drive both sides’ arguments concerning paying and exploiting student-athletes.

##### Amateurism Defined

Simply put, collegiate amateurism refers to the fact the athletes do not receive remuneration for their athletic services. College athletes today are referred to as student-athletes. The governing body of college athletics, the NCAA, views these individuals as students, not as professionals or employees of their member schools. Thus, student-athletes are not currently monetarily compensated (Murphy & Pace, 1994). According to the NCAA, student-athletes’ participation in athletics is just another part of their entire education, not the primary purpose for attending college (Meggyesy, 2000).

Late in the 19th century, college authorities conceived this idea of amateurism in an effort to maintain schools’ educational integrity and middle- and upper- class standing by not technically paying athletes (Flowers, 2009). “A Gentleman never competes for money,” once wrote author Walter Camp (Flowers, 2009, p. 354). As sports’ popularity and revenues increased over the next several years, athletes were given incentives such as free room, board, and tuition. In the middle of the 1900s, the NCAA instituted its key piece of legislation, the Sanity Code, in an attempt to preserve amateur sports while still allowing schools to compensate athletes (Kahn, 2007). By including room, board, and tuition in grant-in-aids (i.e. athletic scholarships), schools were able to reward student-athletes without paying them directly. After the Sanity Code’s establishment of athletic scholarships, the term “amateurism,” not “professionalism,” would be united officially with college athletics (Byers, 1997; Flowers, 2009).

In addition to assigning a fixed amount to athletic scholarships, there are additional ways the NCAA continues to preserve the “amateur” label in collegiate sports. Although the NCAA and the schools reserve the right to use a player’s images and names for commercial purposes, no athlete may be endorsed by or receive any payment from businesses or corporations (Suggs, 2009; Murphy & Pace, 1994). Student-athletes also may not receive financial assistant in addition to their grant-in-aids or be paid for any work with private sports camps related to their sport (Byers, 1997).

##### Exploitation Defined

The biggest issue in the subject of paying college athletes is the idea the NCAA and its member institutions are exploiting student-athletes. Throughout the years, exploitation has been defined countless ways by individuals discussing various topics such as economic, politics, and sports (Wertheimer, 2008). For the discussion involving college athletics, exploitation should be defined as an individual gaining something by taking an unfair advantage of another individual (Wertheimer, 2007).

There are generally two arguments used to demonstrate the exploitation of student-athletes. The first is student-athletes, many of whom are making large amounts of money for their schools, often are not receiving any kind of legitimate, quality education. The second is compensation student-athletes receive in the form of athletic scholarships is not comparable to the marginal revenue products they individually generate for colleges (Wertheimer, 2007; Brown & Jewell, 2004).

Before examining further these two claims, some distinctions must be made. Wertheimer (2008) maintains there are several specific types of exploitation that apply to this discussion. The first, called mutually advantageous exploitation, refers to a situation where both parties, both the one doing the exploiting and the one being exploited, gain from the agreement. The second is referred to as consensual exploitation and involves an instance where individuals who are exploited have given voluntarily consent to the situation prior to the transaction. In situations involving these types of exploitation, it can be argued nothing morally wrong has occurred.

In most circumstances involving exploitation, the issue is not whether exploited individuals are making any gains but rather they are not receiving what they ought to receive. In other words, those being exploited are not getting what is considered fair (Wertheimer, 2008). In the example of the exploitation of student-athletes, the specific issue is “they do not receive an appropriate return on the financial surplus” they create for their universities (Wertheimer, 2007, p. 366).

#### The Evolution of Intercollegiate Sports and the Student-Athlete

The face of intercollegiate athletics has changed drastically in the last two centuries. What started as nothing more than student-organized competitions has turned into what has been described as a “sports entertainment enterprise” (Flowers, 2009; Meggyesy, 2000, p. 25). Students who once went to school only for an education and participated in these kinds of competitions in their free time now often attend these same universities solely for the purpose of participating in sports. In most situations, they end up devoting hundreds of hours to sports-related activities and end up becoming athletes first and students second. The end result is a system that uses students to generate millions of dollars for both the NCAA and its universities.

##### The Origins of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Student-Athlete

Modern intercollegiate athletics have their foundations in intra-collegiate competitions. Sports were largely an unknown on most college campuses until the early 1800s when college students began organizing their own class (e.g. freshman, sophomore, etc.) teams to compete against other classes. The popularity of these different competitions grew over the next 50 years to the point that by the 1850s, universities were forming their own intercollegiate teams. At first, school authorities frowned upon these seemingly frivolous and sometimes violent competitions. But by the late 19th century, American colleges recognized the prestige that came from winning intercollegiate contests and the visibility sports teams provided for the school were too valuable to ignore. As the popularity of intercollegiate sports grew, schools realized they could manufacture additional income by charging spectators admission to events. Prestige, visibility, and money – intercollegiate athletics would now be a permanent fixture on college campuses (Flowers, 2009).

The next conclusion drawn by colleges was obvious, and it shaped intercollegiate athletics into what they are today. How can a school garner more prestige, visibility, and money? Win more games. How can a team win more games? Get the best players. So in an effort to field the best teams, schools began accepting students who never would have been admitted previously to these institutions. In order to lure athletes, colleges started in the 1870s to offer both graduates and undergraduates financial assistance in the form of room and board, jobs, and even small cash considerations in exchange for their athletic services (Flowers, 2009). In response to the “dangerous and exploitive athletics practices of the time,” college authorities joined together in 1906 to form the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, which would later change its name to the NCAA (“History,” 2010, para. 1). In actuality, this new organization was intended to officially legitimize athletics in higher education and control athlete admission to and distribution amongst colleges (thus hopefully eliminating some of the questionable practices of several schools) (Flowers, 2009; Kahn, 2007).

With sports’ popularity growing and athletic revenues increasing, by the 1940s several schools were unashamedly paying their athletes (Kahn, 2007). Realizing amateur intercollegiate athletics were turning into professional athletics, the NCAA modified its constitution in 1956 to allow schools to offer grant-in-aid to any undergraduate athlete. In addition, the NCAA coined the term “student-athlete” (instead of “employee”) to describe those receiving athletic scholarships (Byers, 1997). The amateur code was officially established, and the student-athlete was born.

##### Modern Intercollegiate Sports and Student-Athletes

The current NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports program has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry where many of the schools’ annual revenues reach above $260 million (Meggyesy, 2000). In addition to fielding teams in the money-making sports of men’s basketball, football, and ice hockey, schools also run programs for sports such as baseball, lacrosse, softball, soccer, swimming, volleyball, and wrestling (Kahn, 2007). Because these programs are not self-supported, they rely on revenues from the men’s basketball and football programs and often some additional state funding (Suggs, 2009). It is not uncommon for the coaches of Division I teams to earn several hundred thousand to several million dollars every year (Wieberg, 2011).

Researchers and economists who have studied intercollegiate athletics have described today’s NCAA as a cartel (Deschriver & Stotlar, 1996; Zimbalist, 2001). A cartel is defined as a joint group of members who create policies in order to promote the mutual interests of the members (Kahn, 2007). Koch (1983) argued the NCAA’s cartel behavior is manifested when it regulates the means of acquiring athletes, puts a fixed value on the amount given to student-athletes, controls the rights to televising athletic events, periodically distributes its profits to members, and enforces policy on its members. According to the NCAA, all of this is done in an effort to create equal opportunity for monetary profit, athlete distribution, and athletic success (Kahn, 2007; Koch, 1983).

The NCAA itself, a non-profit educational organization with 270 employees, has an annual budget of $32 million (Meggyesy, 2000). Each year, it distributes over $500 million to its member schools (Suggs, 2009). Nearly all of the money is collected from revenue generated by men’s basketball and football, specifically the television rights to men’s college basketball’s March Madness and football’s Bowl Championship Series. Just this past year, the NCAA signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion contract with CBS and Turner Sports to have the exclusive rights to show the men’s college basketball tournament (Wieberg, 2011).

History has demonstrated today’s universities recruit student-athletes for the purpose of helping sports teams achieve success on the playing field and thereby increase the school’s prestige and overall revenue. Using financial records from NCAA Division I-A universities as well as NFL and NBA draft data from 1995-1998, Brown and Jewell (2004) estimated a draft-quality college football player earns $406,000 in revenue annually for his school, while a college basketball player earns $1.194 million. Schools today treat student-athletes as more than just typical students (Suggs, 2009). They are given academic assistance, game tickets, clothing and equipment, medical treatment, weight and conditioning training, and money towards room, board, and tuition. A recent analysis by USA TODAY determined the average NCAA Division I men’s basketball player receives at least $120,000 in goods and services each year (Weiner & Berkowitz, 2011). But while these athletes are not living in poverty, the question still remains. Are student-athletes being exploited?

#### Are Today’s Student-Athletes Truly Exploited?

The 2011-2012 NCAA Manual states the mission of the NCAA is to protect student-athletes “from exploitation by professionalism and commercial enterprises” (2011, p. 4). Many would contend the NCAA itself is responsible for exploiting student-athletes. Their proof would hinge on the two previously mentioned arguments that many of these students are receiving neither a legitimate education nor fair compensation for their athletic services (Wertheimer, 2007). In addition to considering Wertheimer’s two arguments, the terms mutually advantageous exploitation and consensual exploitation also factor into this discussion.

##### Wertheimer’s First Argument

Universities’ educational practices are quickly called into question when college players make comments similar to the one made by University of Connecticut men’s basketball’s Kemba Walker. While being questioned this past March about his schooling, the junior basketball star said, “[Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete] is the first book I’ve ever read” (Layden, 2011, para. 26). Often, there are times when athletes are put into either easier courses or courses whose professors are known to like student-athletes so athletes are able to achieve and receive higher grades (Zimbalist, 2001). In these situations, the argument is student-athletes (B) are being exploited by schools (A) because A is profiting thousands, sometimes millions, from B’s efforts while B is receiving nothing of lasting significance (i.e. a quality education) (Wertheimer, 2007).

In response to this argument, the question is whether student-athletes are forced into these positions. It should be determined if student-athletes are required to attend educational institutions with weak or questionable academics. The best schools are not available to everyone. Some athletes are only recruited by schools with poor academic records. Although players are not forced to attend one of those schools, some are financially unable to attend college without the help of an athletic scholarship. A student-athlete under such circumstances would be considered a victim of exploitation. As for an athlete who has his choice of the best schools and still selects a poor academic institution, it has been argued that although he was not coerced into attending a particular school, a teenager should not be expected to choose a school based on whether or not that school will provide him with quality educational opportunities. In this situation, a case for exploitation could also be made (Wertheimer, 2007).

It also must be determined if student-athletes are forced into classes or majors which result in them not receiving a quality education. Of course there are always the “low-ability” level students who struggle academically and really have little chance of ever receiving a college education (Wertheimer, 2007, p.369). However, there are situations where some students do not achieve academic success or graduate simply because they fail to give enough effort in their academics. In these specific examples, an argument for the exploitation of the low-ability student-athletes could be made, but it would be harder for this same argument to apply to student-athletes who do not make an effort academically.

##### Wertheimer’s Second Argument

The second exploitation argument is universities (A) are exploiting student-athletes (B) due to the fact B is not receiving fair compensation in relation to B’s generated surplus. This argument is harder to make because of the difficulty in determining the surpluses of NCAA Division I schools. According to NCAA president Mark Emmert, only 14 out of over 1,150 schools finished the 2009-2010 school year with a financial surplus (Garcia, 2010). But any surplus generated by colleges’ football and basketball programs are used to pay for coaching salaries, academic counselor salaries, and athletic facility renovations. In most circumstances, a portion of the money subsidizes schools’ other intercollegiate sports programs (Wertheimer, 2007; Suggs, 2009). Subsequently, very few schools show a surplus in the end.

In addition to the difficulty in determining universities’ financial surpluses, it is equally difficult determining nonfinancial surpluses. Dating back to the beginnings of intercollegiate athletics, the primary purpose for having these types of sports programs was the prestige and visibility they provided for colleges. Today’s winning sports teams are given hundreds of hours of media attention and television coverage. It is impossible to put a monetary value on the advertisement which each intercollegiate team or each student-athlete is creating for colleges (Wertheimer, 2007).

The answer to this question lies in determining what fair compensation is. At first glance, a $10-40,000 a year education in return for generating $400,000-$1.2 million seems anything but fair (Zimbalist, 2001; Brown & Jewell, 2004). But a teenager with no prior professional experience who receives the equivalent of $120,000 a year is uncommon in other professions. When asked about fair compensation for college athletes, Butler University men’s basketball player Matt Howard replied, “Forty thousand dollars-plus a year to play, that’s a pretty good salary for an 18-year-old who has no college education” (Weiner & Berkowitz, 2011, para. 6).

Determining what is fair becomes even more difficult when considering other situations. First, if athletes are exploited only when they do not receive fair compensation for the surplus they themselves create, then this means only a portion of a school’s student-athletes (in most cases, only football and basketball players) are being exploited and should receive compensation. Is it fair for the volleyball, baseball, and soccer players not to be paid while their fellow schoolmates, the male football and basketball players, are paid? After all, athletes in nonsurplus sports put in the same amount of time and effort into competing for their schools as do athletes in surplus sports. It is no fault of the athletes whose programs are not as popular in American culture as other programs (Wertheimer, 2007). Murphy and Pace (1994) replied to this particular argument with an example from the professional world. In business, do all members of a company’s team receive the same compensation? Is a secretary who works the same number of hours and works just as hard as the boss paid a similar wage? Of course, the answer is no.

Second, if colleges were to pay athletes, any surplus created by those programs would be used to compensate the athletes. Consequentially, many of the non-revenue generating programs would not have adequate funding to continue. Is it fair to those athletes to deprive them of an opportunity to compete collegiately and, for those who would be unable to financially afford school, an opportunity for a college education? On the other hand, requiring universities to use revenues to pay athletes may force schools to cut down some of the exorbitant salaries paid to some Division I coaches and other athletic department employees.

##### A Case for Mutually Advantageous and Consensual Exploitation

In this discussion concerning the exploitation of student-athletes, a case can be made for both mutually advantageous exploitation and consensual exploitation. Mutually advantageous exploitation occurs when A gains from B and B gains from A, leaving both parties in a better position than before the transaction (Wertheimer, 2008). Take, for example, a star high school basketball player from a low-income family who is recruited and signed by a renowned academic institution. He competes four years for that school. Along the way, he helps his team win over 100 games, reach 2 Final Fours, and win a national championship. After 4 years of education (worth a total of approximately $160,000) and instruction from one of the best coaches in the nation, he graduates with a college degree, is named as a NCAA All-American, and one month later is selected in the NBA Draft. Over the next 7 years, the former student-athlete signs 3 NBA contracts worth over $28 million, thanks in large part to the coaching he received while in college. In this example, both parties made gains which left them better off. It could be argued, therefore, no wrongful exploitation took place.

In other examples, athletes have been known to become student-athletes for the sole purpose of receiving expert instruction, media exposure, and training. As a result of those benefits, their future earning power increased (Kahn, 2007). Many of these elite athletes stay in college for only the required amount of time and then leave to become professionals. Again in such situations, both the athletes and the schools have entered into agreements which benefit both groups. Nothing morally wrong has occurred.

When an individual volunteers or gives informed consent to a transaction, it is referred to as consensual exploitation (Wertheimer, 2008). Prior to the start of a student-athlete’s collegiate career, the individual must agree to sign several eligibility forms. One of those forms is the NCAA Student-Athlete Form 10-3a (2010) that reads, “You affirm that you meet the NCAA regulations for student-athletes regarding eligibility, recruitment, financial aid, amateur status and involvement in gambling activities” (p. 2). A separate read and sign section of the same document states:

> You authorize the NCAA [or a third party acting on behalf of the NCAA (e.g., host institution, conference, local organizing committee)] to use your name or picture in accordance with Bylaw 12.5 including to promote NCAA championships or other NCAA events, activities or programs. (p. 4)

The NCAA is not attempting to deceive individuals by having student-athletes sign confusing forms so then the schools can make money off the athletes. Instead, they are presenting a clear, understandable agreement that essentially says, “In order to participate in intercollegiate athletics, you must abide by these terms.” Players must sign the agreement to become student-athletes, but no athlete is forced to sign the NCAA Student-Athlete Form.

There is a common perception athletes are required to attend college in order to become eligible for the professional ranks. This is not the case. The current NBA Draft eligibility rules state a player must be 19 years of age, and 1 year must have elapsed since the player’s graduation from high school (“Article X,” 2009). In the NFL, a player must be out of school for three years before he is eligible for the draft (“NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement,” 2006). In baseball, Major League Baseball teams can draft any player who has graduated from high school, while anyone in hockey who is 19 or older is eligible for the NHL Draft (“First-year Player,” n.d.; “Hockey Operations,” n.d.). Neither athletes of surplus sports nor those participating in nonsurplus sports are required to attend college in order to be drafted into professional sports. In most circumstances, the visibility which comes from playing for prominent sports programs causes most athletes to choose to attend college.

### Conclusions

Even after knowing all the facts, the questions related to paying college athletes and the exploitation of student-athletes are difficult to answer. However, there is no doubt the current model for compensating college athletes is ethically questionable at best. If this were not the case, then President Emmert would not continue to make statements suggesting the necessity of exploring ways to increase the financial assistance given to student-athletes (Wieberg, 2011). Just last week, several NCAA conference commissioners began discussing ways to compensate their athletes above athletic scholarships. Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said, “Unless the student-athletes in the revenue-producing sports get more of the pie, the model will eventually break down… [I]t is only a matter of time” (Schad, 2011, para. 3). When the current model does break down, the NCAA’s members will be forced to consider the topic of student-athletes’ exploitation prior to establishing a new model.
Going forward, the NCAA and its member institutions must address several ethical situations in order to avoid the continued exploitation of student-athletes. The first step is re-defining amateurism in college athletics. Currently, intercollegiate sports are amateur in name only (a practice continued today by colleges in an effort to avoid providing workers’ compensation and to continue eligibility for tax exemption status) (Haden, 2001; Murphy & Pace, 1994). The second step is deciding whom to pay. If it is determined only scholarship athletes in revenue-producing programs (i.e. basketball, football, and ice hockey) should be compensated, then the NCAA will have to be prepared to justify excluding some athletes, including the non-scholarship basketball, football, and hockey players (Murphy & Pace, 1994). Due to Title IX, which mandates equitable opportunities and benefits for women competitors, there is a possibility schools would be required eventually to extend remuneration to other student-athletes (Francis, 1993). The third step is determining what fair compensation is for student-athletes, a difficult task based on the information mentioned previously. The final step is choosing where to get the money to pay athletes.
Deciding where to get additional money opens the door to a vast array of ethical questions. Should the money made by men’s basketball and football be used to fund other athletic programs? Instead, should the money be used to pay the basketball and football players only? Will Title IX allow for only a portion of a school’s athletes to be paid? Are college coaches overpaid, or are their large paychecks justified by the prestige, visibility, and money they are helping to generate for their schools? If smaller schools are lacking the funds required to pay student-athletes, is it fair to raise regular students’ tuition prices to help cover costs (Schneider, 2001)? These are just a few of the questions which will have to be addressed.
Determining which student-athletes are being exploited is a difficult task. What is clear is both the NCAA’s current amateur rules and the questionable educational practices of some schools make it more likely for students-athletes to be exploited (Murphy & Pace, 1994). Deciding how to compensate student-athletes more fairly could potentially result in completely restructuring intercollegiate athletics. If the NCAA and its member schools truly desires to protect their student-athletes “from exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises,” then they will be forced to reexamine their own practices (2010-2011 NCAA Manual, 2010, p. 4).

### Applications In Sport

The topic of paying college athletes is one of, if not the most debated issues in collegiate athletics. Understanding the terms of amateurism and exploitation, a history of intercollegiate athletics, and how student-athletes are possibly being exploited may assist in helping to decide if NCAA student-athletes should be compensated above athletic scholarships.

### References

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17. Murphy, S., & Pace, J. (1994). A plan for compensating student-athletes. Brigham Young University Education & Law Journal, (1), 167-186.
18. NCAA president: Pay-for-play won’t happen under his watch. (2011). USA Today. Retrieved from <http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2011-02-13-ncaa-emmert_N.htm>
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22. Schneider, R. G. (2001). College students’ perceptions on the payment of intercollegiate student-athletes. College Student Journal, 35(2), 232-241.
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24. Wieberg, S. (2011, March 30). NCAA president: Time to discuss players getting sliver of revenue pie. USA Today. Retrieved from <http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/2011-03-29-ncaa-pay-for-play-final-four_N.htm?sms_ss=gmail&at_xt=4d93d876081f62dd,0%22#>
25. Wertheimer, A. (2007). The exploitation of student athletes. In W. J. Morgan (Ed.), Ethics in sport (pp. 365-377). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
26. Wertheimer, A. (2008). Exploitation. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/exploitation/>
27. Weiner, J., & Berkowitz, S. (2011, March 30). USA Today analysis finds $120k value in men’s basketball scholarship. USA Today. Retrieved from <http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/2011-03-29-scholarship-worth-final-four_N.htm>
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### Corresponding Author

Anthony W. Miller, MEd
4 Amity Lane
Greenville, SC 29609
<awmiller@students.ussa.edu>
864-906-2548

Anthony W. Miller is a doctoral candidate at the United States Sports Academy. He is also a faculty member of Bob Jones University.

2016-04-01T09:31:59-05:00January 3rd, 2012|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Facilities, Sports Management|Comments Off on NCAA Division I Athletics: Amateurism and Exploitation

Ticket Price Comparison of Double-A and Triple-A Affiliate Baseball Leagues

### Abstract

As the economy continues to decline, sport managers realize that discretionary spending is limited. As such, sport managers are giving more consideration to price strategies within their own marketing mix as well as their comparison to other sport teams. The purpose of this study was to conduct a cross-sectional pricing investigation of individual teams by region within a Class-AAA and Class-AA league from the minor league baseball system. Data were obtained for ticket prices and fees from baseball team websites and phone interviews. Multivariate analysis of variance was examined for both Double-A and Triple-A leagues divided into regions. This study found no significant F (1,6) = .09, p = .77 differences for the highest ticket prices, F (1,6) = .09, p = .78, or the lowest ticket prices, and F (1,6) = .07, p = .80 for the groups within the Double-A Affiliate Texas League. However, a significance F (2,13) = 8.08, p = .00 was found in lowest ticket price within the Triple-A Affiliate Pacific Coast League, unlike highest ticket prices and fees which were not measurably different. Most minor league sport managers could consider this advantageous for promoting their entertainment as a good economic value.

**Key Words:** Baseball, Ticket Prices, Minor League

### Introduction

In light of recent economic times, sport organizations are faced with the challenge of maintaining a competitive marketplace while keeping a close eye on the bottom line. At the same time, the economic market watch (9) indicates consumers are becoming more selective with discretionary spending. Since sport consumption is not a fundamental cost of living, sport organizations have had to take a hard look at their strategic placement in the market. Pricing is a fundamental component of the marketing mix (6). Economic strategists have recommended complex formulas to establish pricing structures (2), while many sport organizations are opting for simplicity (6). In fact, Mullin, Hardy, and Sutton (6) said “the core issues in any pricing situation are cost, value, and objectives” (p. 215). In keeping with the simple pricing strategies that are the focus today, many sport franchises have utilized price comparisons as a simple and effective method of determining where a sport organization “fits” in the regional and league markets.

#### Price Comparisons

Determining the best fit in the sport consumer marketplace and how pricing strategies align with peer teams has become an emphasis for sport managers within the minor league baseball industry. As baseball ticket prices increase (1) and pricing strategies become complex (7), baseball consumers may look to alternative discretionary spending investments. Price comparison consumption behaviors have increased exponentially with the convenience of the Internet (5). Websites like Pricerunner, Amazon, and Shop.com have allowed potential consumers to price shop merchandise with several companies at the same time. Sport organizations have not considered price comparisons as a major influence on strategic pricing, due to the uniqueness offered in sport consumption. For example, sporting events occur sometimes great distances apart whereby a potential consumer may traditionally only be willing to travel 30 miles (4) and therefore do not offer a competitive risk to the local sport organization. However, as seen in recent articles (e.g., 3, 8) with a click of a button, price comparisons are made. In today’s tumultuous economy, many sport organizations have elected to market their event as a “value” within the discretionary spending category. This marketing technique is not only being utilized in relation to their direct sport competition, but also with discretionary spending businesses in general (e.g. cinema, concerts, other types of sporting events).

It was hypothesized that there was a significant (p < .05) difference between Texas and Non-Texas regions when comparing ticket pricing (highest price, lowest price, and ticketing fee) for minor league baseball Class-AA Texas League, as well as a significant (p < .05) difference among West, South, and Central regions when comparing ticket pricing (highest price, lowest price, and ticketing fee) for minor league baseball Class-AAA Pacific Coast League. Additionally, it was hypothesized that there was a significant (p < .05) difference between Double-A and Triple-A affiliate leagues when comparing ticket pricing (highest price, lowest price, and ticketing fee). This study examined price comparisons of minor league professional baseball teams segmented by league and region. A selection criterion was based upon geographic region of the minor league baseball teams as well as a comparison between Class-AA and Class-AAA organizations. Tables 1 and 2 represent the teams included in the study organized by league and region.

### Methods

#### Procedures

The data were collected through a variety of methods. Most of the information was collected through individual team websites. Some information was obtained though cold-calling via landline phones, and remaining data were provided through personal interviews. Once the data were collected, they were entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and reserved for future reference. Collection of data occurred over several months during the 2009 baseball season.

#### Data Analyses

Descriptive statistics, specifically means and standard deviations, were initially reviewed and reported for the Leagues, regions, and individual teams. The data obtained for the purpose of determining the research hypotheses were analyzed using MANOVA statistical methods. The independent variables were regions within the Texas League (Texas and Non-Texas regions) and Pacific Coast League (West, South, and Central regions). The dependent variables were the ticket pricing (highest ticket price, lowest ticket price, and ticketing fee), concession pricing (draft beer and hot dogs), and price for a family of four. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0.

### Results And Discussion

#### Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive statistics were reported on all the dependent variables for the team, region and league. Table 3 provides the means and standard deviations found for highest ticket price, lowest ticket price, and ticketing fees.

Further examination of the ticket pricing established by the respective franchises indicates that the Triple-A teams (i.e. Pacific Coast League) have the greatest price point means. Specifically, the West region is higher than all other regions examined across all three price point values $22.63, $7.56, and $3.66 respectively. Inversely, the Southern region within the same league offers considerably lower price points for the highest ticket ($12.00) and lowest ticket ($5.50). All regions studied included fees into their ticket prices, particularly when utilizing online purchasing websites. Most regions were consistently adding approximately $2.00 to the overall price of the ticket.

Figures 1 and 2 show graphical comparisons between the highest and lowest ticket prices for the Texas League teams and Pacific Coast League teams respectively. As shown in both the Texas League and the Pacific Coast League price comparisons, there is great variability among teams when comparing the highest ticket prices; however within both leagues all the franchises have a relatively similar low cost for tickets.

The aforementioned price points did not include additional fees traditionally included in ticket prices for sporting events. As an example of how prices fluctuate with fees included in the price, Figures 3 and 4 show the price increase for the highest ticket price per franchise within both the Texas League and Pacific Coast League. Previously noted within Table 3, the West region of the Pacific Coast League had the highest ticket prices and once again that is reflected in Figure 4 as the fees are also the greatest among several West coast baseball franchises.

#### MANOVA Hypotheses Testing

The three hypotheses were tested by applying MANOVA to the data with SPSS software. The first group analyzed was the Texas League regions (Texas and Non-Texas) as the independent variable and the ticket prices (highest, lowest, and fees) as the dependent variables. As indicated in Table 4, there were no significant F (1,6) = .09, p = .77 differences for the highest ticket prices, F (1,6) = .09, p = .78, and the lowest ticket prices, F (1,6) = .07, p = .80, or the ticketing fees between Texas teams and Non-Texas teams within the Double-A Affiliate Texas League baseball.

As shown in Table 5, the same statistical principles were applied to the Pacific Coast League. The three regions, West, South, and Central, were the independent variables and the ticket prices (highest, lowest, and fees) were the dependent variables. There was a significant F (2,13) = 8.08, p = .00 difference in lowest ticket price between Pacific Coast League when divided by region. A Scheffe post hoc analysis revealed that the South region was significantly different from both the West (p = .00) and the Central (p = .04) regions. The South region had the lowest of the low ticket prices with an average of $5.50 as compared to the West which was $7.56 and the Central at $7.25.

Table 6 shows the difference between the Double-A Texas League and the Triple-A Pacific Coast League ANOVA source table. As noted in the Table, there were no significant F (1,22) = 1.91, p = .18 differences for the highest ticket prices, F (1,22) = 4.11, p = .06, the lowest ticket prices, and F (1,22) = .66, p = .42, or the ticketing fees.

### Conclusions

As more sport franchises compete in this challenging economic market, the need to maintain a positive public image is imperative. Baseball ticket pricing has increased substantially (1) and complex ticket prices could potentially confuse the consumer (7). As a means of determining the best fit in the sport consumer marketplace and how pricing strategies align with peer teams, leagues are examining ticketing price points. This is a simple marketing approach in line with sport marketing professionals (6). Since the advent of the internet price comparison shopping, consumers are able to make buying decisions with a simple click of a button (3, 8). With that said, sport franchises are more conscious than ever of how their ticket prices compare to their competitors’. This research determined, through mainly website analysis, that most of the ticket prices within Double-A and Triple-A baseball affiliate leagues were similar to competition franchises located within their regions. The only exception was found in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League where the South region had substantially lower low-end ticket prices (more similar to that of the Double-A Texas League). As the consumer becomes savvier with online price comparisons, and as economic discretionary spending continues to decline (9), knowing where a team fits within the market offers a greater promotional advantage. Future research may consider examining the impact of how price comparisons can improve sport franchise marketing potential (e.g. illustrating the “value” of minor league entertainment) and measure spectator attitudes toward region price comparisons.

### Applications In Sport

As the present economy is depressed and the future market is unpredictable, discretionary spending on sport entertainment may continue to decline. As such, sport managers within the minor league structure are determining the best approach to continue financial feasibility. This study revealed a common price point for minor league baseball organizations with similar attributes. Most importantly, however, this study revealed that the lowest ticket price in most minor league venues is still relatively affordable. This offers a unique marketing perspective for the increased demand for discretionary spending and sport management organizations should capitalize on this marketing opportunity.

### Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank graduate research assistant, Lindsey Eidner, and undergraduate research assistant, Nick Garcia, for their invaluable contributions to data collection and analyses of this research endeavor.

### Tables

#### Table 1

Texas League teams organized by region.

Texas League
Double-A Affiliate
Texas Team Non-Texas Team
Corpus Christi Hooks Arkansas Travelers
Frisco Rough Riders Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Midland Rockhounds Springfield Cardinals
San Antonio Missions Tulsa Drillers

#### Table 2

Pacific Coast League teams organized by region.

Pacific Coast League
Triple-A Affiliate
West South Central
Albuquerque Isotopes Nashville Sounds Oklahoma City Redhawks
Fresno Grizzles Memphis Redbirds Colorado Springs Sky Fox
Las Vegas 51’s New Orleans Zephyrs Iowa Cubs
Portland Beavers Round Rock Express Omaha Royals
Salt Lake City Bees
Reno Aces
Sacramento River Cats
Tacoma Rainers

#### Table 3

Descriptive statistics (mean ± standard deviation) for the baseball teams separated by region.

Ticket Prices*
Highest Lowest Fees**
Texas League 13.13 ± 5.40 6.06 ± 0.56 2.13 ± 1.25
  Texas 12.50 ± 4.51 6.13 ± 0.85 2.00 ± 1.08
  Non-Texas 13.75 ± 6.84 6.00 ± 0.00 2.25 ± 1.55
Pacific Coast League 18.13 ± 9.43 6.97 ± 1.19 2.72 ± 1.86
  West 22.63 ± 10.70 7.56 ± 1.05 3.66 ± 2.26
  South 12.00 ± 4.00 5.50 ± 0.58 2.00 ± 0.82
  Central 15.25 ± 6.85 7.25 ± 0.50 1.58 ± 0.15

* Ticket prices are in US dollars
** Fees were team specific, examples included online convenience charges, facility improvement fees, and taxes

#### Table 4

MANOVA source table for the Texas League by region.

Source of Variation df SS MS F
Highest Tickets Between Groups 1 3.13 3.13 0.09
Within Groups 6 201.25 33.54
Total 7 204.38
Lowest Tickets Between Groups 1 0.03 0.03 0.09
Within Groups 6 2.19 0.37
Total 7 2.22
Fees Between Groups 1 0.13 0.13 0.07
Within Groups 6 10.75 1.79
Total 7 10.88

* p < .05

#### Table 5

MANOVA source table for the Pacific Coast League by region.

Source of Variation df SS MS F
Highest Tickets Between Groups 2 345.13 172.56 2.27
Within Groups 13 990.13 76.16
Total 15 1335.25
Lowest Tickets Between Groups 2 11.77 5.88 8.08±
Within Groups 13 9.47 0.73
Total 15 21.23
Fees Between Groups 2 14.33 7.17 2.46
Within Groups 13 37.81 2.91
Total 15 52.14

* p < .05

#### Table 6

MANOVA source table for the Double-A Texas League compared to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

Source of Variation df SS MS F
Highest Tickets Between Groups 1 133.33 133.33 1.91
Within Groups 22 1539.63 69.98
Total 23 1672.96
Lowest Tickets Between Groups 1 4.38 4.38 4.11
Within Groups 22 23.45 1.07
Total 23 27.83
Fees Between Groups 1 1.90 1.90 0.66
Within Groups 22 63.02 2.86
Total 23 64.92

* p < .05

### Figures

#### Figure 1

Texas League individual franchise highest and lowest ticket prices.

![figure 1](/files/volume-14/437/figure-1.jpg “figure 1”)

#### Figure 2

Pacific Coast League individual franchise highest and lowest ticket prices.

![figure 2](/files/volume-14/437/figure-1.jpg “figure 2”)

#### Figure 3

Texas League highest ticket price with franchise-specific fees included.

![figure 3](/files/volume-14/437/figure-1.jpg “figure 3”)

#### Figure 4

Pacific Coast League highest ticket price with franchise-specific fees included.

![figure 4](/files/volume-14/437/figure-1.jpg “figure 4”)

### References

1. Alexander, D.L. (2001). Major league baseball: Monopoly pricing and profit-maximizing behavior. Jounal of Sports Economics, 2, 341-355.
2. French, C.W. (2002). Jack Treynor’s ‘Toward a theory of market value of risky assets’. Social Science Research Network. Retrieved April 09, 2010, from <http://papers.ssrn.com/so13/papers.cfm>.
3. Henderson, Dan. (2007, December 13). Online or offline, price comparison tools help consumers shop smart. The Free Library. (2007). Retrieved April 09, 2010, from <http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Online or Offline, Price Comparison Tools Help Consumers Shop Smart-a01073766340>.
4. Jallai, T. (2008). Development of fan loyalty questionnaire for a Double-A minor league baseball affiliate (Master thesis, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, 2008).
5. Lake, C. (2006). Shopping comparison engines market worth £120m-£140m in 2005, says E-consultancy. UK & Global News Distribution. Retrieved April 09, 2010, from <http://www.ukprwire.com/Detailed/Computer_Internet_Shopping_Comparison_Engines_market_worth>.
6. Mullin, B.J., Hardy, S., & Sutton, W.A. (2007). Pricing Strategies. In Human Kinetics (3rd), Sport Marketing (pp. 213-230). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
7. Rascher, D.A., McEvoy, C.D., Magel, M.S., & Brown, M.T. (2007). Variable ticket pricing in major league baseball. Journal of Sport Management, 21, 407-437.
8. Simonds, M. (2009, April 29). Online price comparisons: Easing off your shopping experience. Articlesbase. (2009). Retrieved April 09, 2010, from <http://articlesbase.com/shopping-articles/online-price-comparison-easing-off-your-shopping-experience>.
9. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2008). The consumer expenditure survey: Thirty years as a continuous survey.

### Corresponding Author

Liette B. Ocker, Ph.D.
Department of Kinesiology
Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5820
Corpus Christi, TX 78412-5820
O (361) 825-2670 F (361) 825-3708
<Liette.Ocker@tamucc.edu>

2013-11-25T14:51:21-05:00December 2nd, 2011|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Facilities, Sports Management|Comments Off on Ticket Price Comparison of Double-A and Triple-A Affiliate Baseball Leagues

Two United States Olympic Committee Olympism Programs: Team USA Ambassador Program and Olympic Day

The United States Olympic Committee administers a number of programs with the objective of spreading Olympism and the Olympic Ideals. Outlined below are its two most robust Olympism programs: the Team USA Ambassador Program and Olympic Day.

### Team USA Ambassador Program

The USOC considers its athletes the greatest representatives of the Olympic Movement and Olympic values. By developing the Olympic values in elite athletes, and, through sharing their stories, we aim to inspire others to seek the highest levels of excellence and to have respect for all, regardless of nationality, religion, race or background.

Started prior to Beijing 2008, the goal of the Team USA Ambassador Program is to expose U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls to the expectations, roles, and responsibilities of representing the United States at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This extensive athlete education program guides athletes through what it means to be an ambassador for their sport and country, how to embrace and maximize their role as a role model, and to consider the legacy and impact they hope to create.

The multi-phase program includes presentations, inspirational speakers and small group activities to cover such topics as:

* What it means to be an Olympian/Paralympian
* The athlete’s role as an ambassador
* The Olympic Ideals and why they matter
* Interview and media preparedness
* Leadership
* Leaving a lasting legacy through sport and Olympism
* Challenges all Olympians and Paralympians face

The 2012 program includes mandatory half-day sessions that take place at seminars conducted around the country, based on National Federation availability. The program allows for comprehensive discussions on the program objectives, including small group activities and interactive elements. A brief wrap-up session will be conducted in conjunction with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, providing a quick overview of ambassador program learnings, while focusing on inspirational activities and final tips.

The program is primarily delivered by iconic U.S. Olympians and Paralympians who have demonstrated sportsmanship and perseverance on and off the field of play in their own careers. The Olympic facilitators have included speedskaters Bonnie Blair, Eric Heiden and Dan Jansen; football player Brandi Chastain; softball player Jessica Mendoza; skier Picabo Street; decathlete Dan O’Brien; and others.

### Positive Outcomes

* The program was first administered in 2008, followed by 2010. Both Olympic and Paralympic Games resulted in better behavior and self-awareness by members of Team USA. The overall feedback from the American public was pride in the athletes’ performances on the field of play, but also their conduct off the field as good representatives of the USA and members of the Olympic Movement.
* Athlete feedback on the program has been overwhelmingly positive. All athletes who complete the program are surveyed and rank program elements on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest ranking. For the 2010 program, the average score on each question ranged from 4.0 to 4.4.
* The program has been a successful case study in bringing together cross-functional teams consisting of staff members throughout the National Olympic Committee, National Federations, alumni, coaches and athletes.

Not only have Team USA athletes represented themselves well on and off the field of play, but a nation and beyond have been inspired by their demonstration of the Olympic values. With 4 billion individuals around the world witnessing the Olympic Games, this program has the opportunity to disseminate elements of Olympism globally.

### Olympic Day

Olympic Day in the United Sates represents the pinnacle USOC-led event to educate youth on the values of Olympism by coordinating all the leaders within the U.S. Olympic Family. All constituencies within the U.S. Olympic Family work in tandem to spread the message of Olympism and plant seeds among youth about entering the athlete pipeline and pursuing their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

U.S. Olympic Day celebrations of a national magnitude occurred for the first time in 2009 thanks to the support of Chicago 2016 and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 2010, the U.S. Olympic Family rose to the challenge of surpassing the success of 2009 through increased participation among the National Federations, Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC), Multi-Sport Organizations (MSO), current athletes, athlete alumni and more.

2011 proved to be the most successful U.S. Olympic Day in history From June 19-27, the U.S. saw:

* 385 events
* 311 participating cities in all 50 United States
* 230 Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls and coaches
* 90,000 participants

At these events, athletes led discussions with youth about the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect. Sports demonstrations, fun runs and festivals helped introduce young people to Olympic and Paralympic sport.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has designed a turnkey program that assists communities across the nation in celebrating Olympic Day. The organization creates a team of account managers who work directly with a portfolio of communities to provide assistance in preparing for the events. In addition, an online toolkit is available for each event, consisting of:

* Olympic Education Materials (scripts and DVD) for one of the following topics: fair play, respect, perseverance, sportsmanship
* Recommended Olympic Day agenda
* U.S. Olympic Flag
* Certificate of Participation
* Olympic Day Mayoral Proclamation Template
* News Release Templates
* Team USA Logo and Guidelines
* User-Generated website for posting photographs

The account manager also works with the more than 5,000 Olympians and Paralympians currently living in the United States, endeavoring to have an athlete present at most Olympic Day celebration to share their experiences and the role the Olympic Ideals have played in their lives.

Thanks to the support of all participating organizations, Olympic Day is on the verge of appearing in every community across America within the next several years while continuing to expand partnerships among the U.S. Olympic Family. Olympic Day is becoming a great springboard in the United States for disseminating Olympic values across and grassroots organizations and participants.

2013-11-25T16:22:09-05:00August 30th, 2011|Sports Coaching, Sports Facilities, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Two United States Olympic Committee Olympism Programs: Team USA Ambassador Program and Olympic Day

Introduction to the Vision, Mission and History of the International Olympic Academy

**To Explore and Enhance the Contribution of Olympism to Humanity in the 21st Century**

“Defending and promoting the Olympic Ideal from both the sporting and the cultural point of view must be a task that we all share.” –Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC

### Vision

The International Olympic Academy functions as a multicultural interdisciplinary center that aims at studying, enriching and promoting Olympism. The foundation of such an institution was inspired by the ancient Gymnasium, which shaped the Olympic Ideal by harmoniously cultivating body, will and mind. On the eve of the 21st century, the centennial anniversary of the revival of the Olympic Games coincides with the global scale changes that are affecting every aspect of human thought and activity.

We, our cultures and our civilizations have already entered a greater transitional period in which the images of the world that we were used to taking for granted are being altered. The interrelated scientific, technological, economic, political and social developments that characterize the course of humanity towards the third millennium are influencing each and every idea, norm and institution of our international community.

This dynamic wave is also opening up new forms of dialogue for the future of Olympism. Moreover, as can be seen through the study of its age-long history, the Olympic Ideal has always been conceived and formed according to the wider conditions prevailing during different periods in time. The birth, the prosperity, the decline and the revival of the Olympic Games have all been the reflection of the wider cultural conditions that shaped each era.

The speculations and potentials still evolving out of the Olympic Movement are naturally arising in the realization process of such an Ideal. “Olympism,” after all, in the words of Pierre de Coubertin, “is not a system, it is a state of mind. It can permeate a wide variety of modes of expression and no single race or era can claim to have the monopoly of it.”

The International Olympic Academy provides a unique opportunity for students, academics, athletes, artists and officials from all over the world to exchange ideas and share this “state of mind” in Ancient Olympia.

The wide variety of educational sessions, academic programs and in-depth research studies that are offered, all aim towards serving the vision of the International Olympic Academy for the new century: to explore and enhance the contribution of Olympism to humanity.

### Mission

The mission of the IOA is:

1. To function as an International Academic Centre for Olympic Studies, Education and Research.
2. To act as an International Forum for free expression and exchange of ideas among the Olympic Family, intellectuals, scientists, athletes, sport administrators, educators, artists and the youth of the world.
3. To bring together people from all over the world, in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.
4. To motivate people to use the experiences and knowledge gained in the IOA productively, in promoting the Olympic Ideals in their respective countries.
5. To serve and promote the Ideals and principles of the Olympic Movement.
6. To cooperate with and assist the National Olympic Academies and any other institutions devoted to Olympic Education.
7. To further explore and enhance the contribution of Olympism to humanity.

### History

Officially inaugurated on 14 June 1961, the IOA initially limited its function to organizing the International Session for Young Participants. In 1967, an IOC commission was created to coordinate relations among the IOA, the Olympic Movement, and Olympic Solidarity. This same year, the first permanent premises for the IOA were constructed at the site of Ancient Olympia.

By 1970, the educational programs of the IOA had expanded to cover all aspects of the Olympic Movement. Special sessions for institutions involved with Olympism were established, including National Olympic Committees (NOC), National Olympic Academies (NOA), International Sport Federations (FIEP), Sport Medical Societies, Unions of Coaches, Sports Administrators, and Teachers.

Growing out of ancient Greek civilization, Olympism is a philosophy of life that blends sport, culture, and education to produce a balanced character strong in body, mind, and will. Convening at Ancient Olympia infused with this dramatic lineage is important to the spirit of the conferences, and the campus exerts a profound effect on all who visit and study there.

“We are in a haven of peace and balance, where centuries remain engraved on the stones…the beauty of the vegetation, and the serenity which pervades this unique place, Olympia, where sport started on its most glorious and finest course.” – Juan Antonio Samaranch, Former Honorary President of the IOC and IOA

Many of these ancient traditions continue today. Two of the most powerful ceremonies are the laying of wreaths at the monument where Pierre de Coubertin’s heart is buried to honor the man who revived the Ancient Games, and the Lighting of the Olympic Flame to inaugurate the official Olympic Games.

In Ancient Greece, a person needed well-rounded training to be considered cultured. Sport was part of man’s education that aimed at cultivating harmonious intellectual, mental, and physical faculties. Young students were taught art, philosophy, and music, as well as sports, based on the spirit of fair competition and high ethics.

Held every four years, the Ancient Olympic Games were an integral part of the balanced way of life. With its origins in the mists of Greek mythological tales of gods and goddesses, the honor of victory at the Olympic Games carried sacred blessings and immense prestige. The Olympic Games went through many reversals of fortune due to political changes over the long history. From circa 400 AD to the late 1800s, no organized Olympic Games existed. Then in 1896, Pierre de Coubertin succeeded in reviving the tradition, and the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens.

In 1927, Coubertin originated the idea for adding an international Olympic academy in his efforts to spread Olympic values. In the IOA, the realization of his vision continues to grow as a result of the dedicated contributions of many people over decades. Now overseen by the IOC, the International Olympic Movement (IOM) has been formed to functionally implement Olympic ideals through a conglomeration of organizations and individuals. Recognizing education as the backbone of the Olympic Movement, the IOC supports the IOA and other institutions devoted to Olympic education.

The current IOA houses many priceless resources, such as an archeological museum, a modern Olympic Games museum, a research library, the Coubertin Grove, and the excavated ruins of Ancient Olympia’s temples, gymnasium, and Sanctuary constructed by Alexander the Great in 338 B.C. These exalted settings, sacred to the Greek god, Zeus, offer a cornucopia of contemporary sports media conferences, research studies, special sessions for dignitaries, gatherings of Olympic medalists, the Olympic Studies Master’s Degree Program, and other courses for international students of the IOA.

2016-10-24T11:35:18-05:00June 28th, 2011|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Facilities, Sports Management|Comments Off on Introduction to the Vision, Mission and History of the International Olympic Academy

A Study on the Self-Efficacy of Elite Coaches Working at the Turkish Coca-Cola Academy League

### Abstract

As defined by Bandura, self-efficacy is an individual’s belief about her/his ability to perform well in a given situation. The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of self-efficacy amongst elite professional Turkish soccer coaches. One-hundred twenty-three coaches from 41 professional soccer clubs in four different regions of Turkey, training U14 and U15 age groups voluntarily participated in this study. This study used the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES) comprising four specific efficacies (motivation (ME), game strategy (GSE), teaching technique (TTE) and character building (CBE). According to the total coaching efficacy scale, results suggested that participating coaches’ self-belief in efficacy was at highest levels (M=8.26, SD=.49). Coaches’ self-belief in the sub-scale of character development efficacy was at highest (M=8.60, SD=.54), whereas self-belief in game strategy was at lowest levels (M=8.03, SD=.61). One of the most important findings of the study was that coaches’ self belief in the sub-scale of motivation efficacy differed according to the category in which they work (t=2.049, p<.05). Game strategy efficacy differed significantly according to marital status (t=2.417, p<.05); and type of coaching certificate (t= 2.186, p<.05). A higher degree of self-belief regarding motivation efficacy amongst coaches training young teams compared to professional-level coaches was due to the athletes they worked with. In many cases, it is easier to motivate young players rather than professionals. Coaches’ self-improvement in motivation will definitely have a decisive impact on their success in professional sports.

**Key words:** coaching efficacy, elite coaches, professional sport, soccer

### Introduction

Extensive research about the behavior exhibited by individuals throughout their lives suggests the existence of many factors influencing human behavior. One of these factors is self-efficacy (4,5). The social cognitive theory focuses on how the individual learns new information and behaviors by observing, imitating an individual or by taking the individual as a model (1). This theory suggests that one of the most important roles in the individual expression of personal behavior is the individual’s level of self-efficacy.

First mentioned by Bandura (4), the concept of self-efficacy is defined as one’s belief in his or her own ability to perform a certain type of task. Self-efficacy is specific to a certain task and is dynamic (10,14). In other words, it is open to change over time with new information, experience and learning (14). The individual makes a comparison between expected performance and his or her own capacity (12). In the scope of the concept of self-efficacy, the need for a high degree of self-belief to be successful in a specific behavior stands out as one of the most important factors in exhibiting that behavior.

Sometimes knowledge and skill might not be adequate for successful behavior. On most occasions people may know the correct course of action, yet be unable to act accordingly. Self-efficacy stands out as an important bridge between knowledge and behavior. Personal level of self-efficacy influences an individual’s perspective and behavior toward the action. Positive or negative feedback received by the individual in response to his or her abilities and competence results in the strengthening or weakening of the individual’s own belief in his or her self-efficacy (18). Studies suggest that individuals with high self-efficacy tend to be more resilient in the face of obstacles to accessing sports activities (6). They also have heightened levels of social skills (2) and are more eager to take bigger risks (16,17).

Performance build-up in soccer requires long periods of time. What constitutes the fundamental elements required by soccer training throughout this long process is a topic of enduring discussion (3). The most important issues in this context are accurate organizational structures; correct training models; adequate club facilities; environmental conditions and, maybe more than anything, coaching efficacy. It is stated that the athlete’s learning process becomes much more rapid, efficient and thorough, if the format of competitions and training participated in by children are developed with consideration to their mental, psychological and motor abilities (24). At this point, while it is fundamental for a coach to believe in his or her self-efficacy in the context of building up athlete performance (20), this characteristic demands constant enhancement (19).

Based on the notion that coaches can be perceived as teachers, the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES), developed by Feltz, Chase, Moritz & Sullivan (8), is the only published scale to date that is used frequently in studies on coaching efficacy (11,16,17). D.L. Feltz, et al., (8) define coaching efficacy as coaches’ self-belief in their capacity to influence an athlete’s level of performance and learning. Consisting of 24 items and four sub-scales, the psychometric characteristics of the scale are supported by exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (8).

The majority of studies on the topic have been conducted on individuals in the United States. Others include Tsorbatzoudis, Daroglou, Zahariadis & Grouios’s study (22) on professional team coaches in Greece and Gencer, Kiremitci & Boyacioglu’s study (9) on Turkish coaches in the disciplines of basketball, soccer, tennis and handball. This latter concludes validity and reliability findings coherent with Feltz et al.’s study (8). The present study addresses significance in terms of CES examining the self-efficacy levels of Turkish elite professional soccer coaches.

### Method
#### Participants

The study group consisted of 123 coaches working for the U14 and U15 age groups within the Turkish Coca-Cola Academy Leagues, founded in the 2008-2009 soccer season. Coaches actively work for 41 professional soccer clubs distributed amongst five regions established for this league; all participated voluntarily in the study. The sample group participating in the study consisted of males only, with ages varying between 22 and 60 (M=38.6, SD=7.9).

#### Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES)

Data for the study was collected using the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES) developed by Feltz et.al. (8). Total Coaching Efficacy (TCE) consists of 24 items within four sub-scales including: (a) Motivation Efficacy (ME – 7 items), (b) Game Strategy Efficacy (GSE – 7 items), (c) Teaching Technique Efficacy (TTE – 6 items), and (d) Character Building Efficacy (CBE – 4 items). Items were scored on a 10-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (not at all confident) to 9 (extremely confident), and each item was preceded with a prefix, “How confident are you in your ability to …” The scale contains items such as “How confident are you in your ability to motivate your athletes?” identified by ME; “How confident are you in your ability to understand competitive strategies?” identified by GSE; “How confident are you in your ability to detect skill errors?” identified by TTE; and “How confident are you in your ability to instill an attitude of fair play among your athletes?” identified by CBE.

Scale validity and reliability for the sample of Turkish coaches has been conducted by Gencer et. al. (9). Exactly identical to the original, the Turkish adaptation of the scale, grouped under four sub-scales, reached significantly similar results to the original scale (8) with a variance rate of 59.8%. Although the Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for factors creating the scale were relatively coherent (between .80 and .87) with original scale values, the Cronbach’s coefficient for the entire scale was exactly identical. Values (x2=468,21, df=238, normed chi-square (NC, x2/df)=1.97, p<.05; RMSEA=0.069, S-RMR=0.062, GFI=0.84, AGFI=0.80, CFI=0.91, NNFI=0.89) obtained from confirmatory factor analysis of the scale indicate that the model adapts to data at admissible levels.

### Procedure

Using a face-to-face interview method, researchers personally presented coaches with AYÖ, the Turkish version of the Coaching Efficacy Scale and the scale forms containing questions collecting information on coaches. Researchers provided detailed information to participating coaches about the purpose of the study and how the questionnaire should be completed, although this information was delivered in writing on the documents. Researchers distributed questionnaires on the third day of a training seminar and collected them the same day.

### Data Analysis

Obtained data was subject to t-test using the SPSS 15.0 program in order to clarify whether there was a statistically significant difference between the Total Coaching Efficacy (TCE) and its sub-scales: Motivation Efficacy (ME), Game Strategy Efficacy (GSE), Teaching Technique Efficacy (TTE), and Character Building Efficacy (CBE), or differences among it and age groups, marital status, education level, athletic career, coaching certificate, coaching level and years in coaching. Coaches’ ages, sporting backgrounds and coaching backgrounds were divided in to two groups after taking sample group averages.

### Results

Sample group average age was considered for data analysis and samples were gathered under two age groups, age 39 and less, and age 40 and over. Pursuant to this grouping, 78 (63.4%) of participant soccer coaches were age 39 and under and 45 (36.6%) were age 40 and over. A total of 100 (81.3%) soccer coaches were married and 23 (18.7%) were single. An investigation on coaches’ levels of education indicated that the majority of participating coaches were university graduates (n=77, 62.6%). (Table 1)

All coaches participating in the study played soccer as licensed athletes in their past sports careers. While 47 (38.2%) of the coaches played at an amateur level, 76 (61.8%) of them played at a professional level. An investigation on coaching certificates showed that 87 (70.7%) of the coaches hold UEFA B Licenses while 36 (29.3%) hold UEFA A Licenses. A majority of coaches work for the youth teams of professional soccer clubs (n=95, 77.2%).

Coaches participating in the study had been working in this profession between 1 and 23 years (M=7.87, SD=5.88). The sample group’s average years in the career were considered for data analysis and samples were gathered under two groups; eight years and fewer, and nine years and more. According to this grouping 78 coaches (63.4%) with less than eight years experience, and 45 (36.6%) with more than nine years experience, participated in the study (Table 1).

Coaches’ average belief in self-efficacy was determined to be M= 8.26, SD=.49. The level of Character Building, one of the sub-scales rendering beliefs on self-efficacy, was found to be at highest levels (M=8.6, SD=.54). The Character Building sub-scale was respectively followed by Teaching Technique (M= 8.22, SD= .58), Motivation (M= 8.17, SD= .57) and Game Strategy (M= 8.03, SD= .61) (Table 1).

The t-test results obtained from the study reveal that the efficacy and efficacy-related sub-scales of coaches participating in the study did not differ by age group, level of education, athletic career or years in soccer coaching. However, coaches’ belief in efficacy, when related to the strategy sub-scale, revealed significant difference by marital status (t= 2.417, p=.021) and coaching license (t=2.186, p=.032). Similarly, belief in efficacy when related to the motivation sub-scale differed significantly as well by the category coaches worked in (t= 2.049, p=.046) (Table 1).

Table 2 presents the correlations between total coaching efficacy (TCE) and coaching efficacy sub-scales. Correlations among dimensions of coaching efficacy ranged from 0.46 to 0.80, and correlations of TCE with dimensions of coaching efficacy ranged from 0.75 to 0.92 (Table 2). These relationships are coherent with the hierarchical structure suggested by previous studies (8,16).

### Discussion

Studies have shown that there is a positive relation between individuals’ increasing level of education and occupational efficiency, and that an individual’s contribution to the society was directly proportionate to the level of education. Based on population, Turkey ranked 15th in the world for level of education (7). Approximately 62.6% of coaches participating in our study were university graduates, suggesting that the education levels of these coaches were considerably above the national average.

Besides the high level of education among coaches participating in the study, the fact that most of them (61.8%) had previously played soccer at a professional level, along with the fact that 70.7% held a UEFA B License and 29.3% held a UEFA A License, was perceived as the reason for a considerably high degree of self-efficacy (M=8.26, SD=.49). In 2008, the Turkish Soccer Federation started an initiative to update certificates in accordance with UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) criteria and with this objective gave priority to developing the competence of coaches joining the Turkish Coca-Cola Academy League. Being informed on latest updates and receiving relevant training has contributed positively to the self-efficacy of coaches comprising our study group, and, in comparison with other studies (8,15,23), they presented a higher level of self-efficacy.

When compared to other sub-scales that constitute coaches’ belief in self-efficacy, Character Building was found to be at the highest levels (M=8.6, SD=.54). This finding is supportive of findings from other studies (8, 11, 15, 16, 23) conducted on coaching efficacy. One of the fundamental purposes of establishing the Coca-Cola League was exemplified by the slogan “Good Individual, Good Citizen, Good Athlete.” Bearing this slogan in mind, and considering the group coaches work for, highest levels of perceived self-efficacy in this sub-scale was highly significant. As a matter of fact, Lidor (13) underlined the necessity for ensuring the execution of plans and procedures directed at character-building within sports activities. Considered from a social perspective, character-building is undoubtedly very significant.

The Character Building sub-scale was respectively followed by Teaching Technique (M=8.22, SD=.58), Motivation (M=8.17, SD= .57), and Game Strategy (M=8.03, SD=.61). Mean values determined for these three sub-scales were calculated to be higher than those given in other related studies (8, 11, 15, 16, 23). The positive values, classified under these four sub-scales as the positive values which successful coaches are expected to have, were valuable in terms of their contribution to athletes. Game Strategy-related self-efficacy perception of coaches was identified to be lower than other sub-scales, which is important in regard to game strategy, being a decisive factor in game results.

Obtained t-test results revealed that the efficacy and efficacy-related sub-scales of coaches participating in the study did not differ by age group, level of education, sports career or years in soccer coaching. These findings are unsupportive of Tsorbatzoudis et al.’s finding (22) that, unlike inexperienced coaches, experienced coaches perceive themselves to be technically more competent in terms of coaching experience. However, this condition could be explained by the fact that coaches participating in our study had a higher level of experience. Teams joining the Turkish Coca-Cola League are some of the most elite clubs in Turkey, and these clubs are rigorous in choosing coaches. These two factors were considered to be the reason for such a result.

Coaches’ belief in efficacy related to the GSE revealed significant differences by marital status (t=2.417, p=.021) and coaching certificate ownership (t=2.186, p=.032) (Table 1). Familial responsibilities of married coaches might lead them to believe that they are more competent than do single coaches in the strategy sub-scale. In fact, strategy is very closely related to experience. That coaches with UEFA A License have further experience in the game of soccer than UEFA B License holders might help explain the difference emerging once again in the strategy development sub-scale.

It is interesting to note that belief in efficacy related to the motivation sub-scale differed significantly by the category coaches worked in (t=2.049, p=.046) (Table 1). Youth team coaches having more self-efficacy than professional team coaches in the motivation sub-scale is completely relative to experiences coaches have with soccer players. It is perhaps easier to motivate youth team players aspiring to become professionals for upcoming games than it is to motivate those who have already reached the professional level. Concepts of fame and money that engage in professional sports, after a while, cause a gradual sense of fulfillment, and this presents itself as coaches having difficulty in motivating players. More so, compared with youth team coaches, professional team coaches face further difficulties due to various other responsibilities and diversifying interests of older players. Therefore, considering experiences, it appears logical that youth team coaches perceive themselves to be more competent in terms of motivation than do professional team coaches.

### Conclusion

Besides being well educated, elite soccer coaches participating in the study also had good careers as athletes and coaches, explaining the high degree of self-efficacy among them. It was interesting to see that the degree of GSE, the capacity of directing the team during a game, was higher amongst married coaches than those who were single. It was logical to see a higher degree of GSE in coaches holding a UEFA A certificate compared to UEFA B certificate holders. The most interesting result from the study was the varying degree of motivation among coaches depending on their position. This suggests coaches’ need for knowledge and experience about the concept of motivation increased parallel to the significance of the league they worked for.

### Applications in Sport

Self-efficacy is an effective structure demanding improvement for efficiency from the coach. The fact that this effective structure transforms over time in light of newly acquired information and experiences demonstrates the need for meticulously organized coach training programs and even coach appointments. Respective federations and/or organizations have a great deal of responsibility in this matter.

### Acknowledgments

The author wishes to express his sincere thanks to Assistant Professor Dr. Melih Balyan for his support and cooperation in this study.

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### Tables

#### Table 1. Descriptive statistics of coaches and t-test results related to the Coaching Efficacy Scale

Motivation Efficacy Game Strategy Efficacy Teaching Technique Efficacy Character Building Efficacy Total Coaching Efficacy
n % M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD
Age
39 & less 78 63.4 8.19 .58 8.01 .62 8.28 .60 8.57 .54 8.26 .50
40 & over 45 36.6 8.15 .56 8.06 .60 8.13 .53 8.64 .54 8.24 .48
t-value .420 -.480 1.439 -.763 .171
Marital Status
Married 100 81.3 8.21 .56 8.1 .6 8.26 .54 8.61 .55 8.29 .48
Single 23 18.7 8.03 .61 7.76 .6 8.08 .72 8.52 .51 8.1 .53
t-value 1.264 2.417* 1.121 .759 1.627
Education Level
High school & lower 46 37.4 8.17 .57 8.1 .58 8.23 .56 8.63 .54 8.28 .49
University & higher 77 62.6 8.17 .57 8 .62 8.22 .59 8.58 .54 8.24 .49
Sporting Background
Amateur 47 38.2 8.17 .56 7.98 .58 8.18 .62 8.63 .49 8.24 .47
Professional 76 61.8 8.18 .58 8.07 .63 8.25 .55 8.58 .57 8.27 .50
t-value -.062 -.777 -.593 .537 -.295
Coaching Certificate
UEFA B 87 70.7 8.15 .59 7.96 .62 8.19 .61 8.57 .55 8.21 .50
UEFA A 36 29.3 8.23 53 8.21 .55 8.31 .48 8.66 .50 8.35 .45
t-value -.731 2.186* -1.171 -.883 -1.451
Coaching Level
Youth 95 77.2 8.23 .57 8.03 .61 8.26 .57 8.64 .51 8.29 .48
Professional 28 22.8 7.98 .55 8.04 .61 8.1 .60 8.45 .60 8.14 .50
t-value 2.049* -.009 1.258 1.540 1.389
Coaching Background
8 years & less 78 63.4 8.18 .57 8 .62 8.24 .60 8.57 .57 8.25 .50
9 years & more 45 36.6 8.17 .58 8.1 .58 8.19 .54 8.64 .49 8.28 .47
t-value .087 -.944 .484 -.796 -.337
Total 123 100 8.17 .57 8.03 .61 8.22 .58 8.6 .54 8.26 .49

* p < .05

#### Table 2. Pearson correlations between dimensions of coaching efficacy and total coaching efficacy

Game Strategy Efficacy Teaching Technique Efficacy Character Building Efficacy Total Coaching Efficacy
Motivation Efficacy 0.80 0.74 0.60 0.92
Game Strategy Efficacy 0.71 0.46 0.88
Teaching Technique Efficacy 0.75
Character Building Efficacy 0.75
Total Coaching Efficacy

p < .001

### Corresponding Author

**R.Timucin Gencer, PhD**
University of Ege
School of Physical Education and Sports
Bornova, Izmir, Turkey, 35100
<timucin.gencer@ege.edu.tr>
+90 232 3425714 (office)
+90 532 3030610 (mobile)

### Author Bio

R.Timucin Gencer, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport Management at the University of Ege. He played basketball as a professional from 1990-1997. He was also the assistant coach of the Turkish National Basketball Team U-16 men who won the European Championship Title in 2005.

2013-11-25T16:26:52-05:00May 25th, 2011|Sports Coaching, Sports Facilities, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on A Study on the Self-Efficacy of Elite Coaches Working at the Turkish Coca-Cola Academy League