Making the Grade: Academic Success in Today’s Athlete

Abstract

The overall importance placed on an athlete’s academic eligibility can be extremely stressful for both the coach and the student-athlete. In order to compete the athlete must remain academically eligible; thus, various academic support programs have been implemented by athletic departments as a means of maintaining eligibility and ensuring academic progress. Although these programs are vital to assisting student-athletes in accomplishing the goal of academic success, the question remains ‘Are they successful?’ This study found that academic support programs were successful as they related to female student-athlete’s overall GPA. Yet, male student-athletes were not as successful. In fact, a significant difference was found between intercollegiate sports teams and overall GPA; interestingly, all of the female sports teams had significantly higher GPAs than did their male counterparts. It appears that academic support programs are not a ‘one size fits all;’ male student-athletes may need a different type of program in order to achieve academic success. A standard format for study hall may not be an appropriate method for helping today’s athlete to ‘make the grade’.

Keywords

Academic success, academic support programs, athletics, student-athletes

Introduction

Athletics has a history of importance in American society. Across the country, newspapers have devoted entire sections and televisions have created entire channels dedicated to covering the latest updates on sports. Attention has not always been solely about games and competitions; the spotlight has recently been redirected to academics. This is quite a change since 1983, when only 25 (out of more than 16,000) high school districts had even minimal academic standards as a condition of high school sports (Edwards, 1984). Today, athletes wanting to participate in intercollegiate athletics must meet specific academic criteria before being added to a sport’s roster.

Over the last few years, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has intervened and created firm standards for academic performance among member institutions. Programs with incentive and disincentives have been created to reward sport teams that do well academically, while penalizing those that do not. Their goal is to encourage improvement of academic performance of all student-athletes on all sports teams (Meyer, 2005).

The NCAA requires member institutions to distribute graduation rates to prospective student-athletes and/or their parent(s) or guardian(s) to ensure athletes and their families are made aware of the academic reputation of the institutions they are considering. Recruits considering various universities should answer two important questions: which institution will provide the best athletic experience, and second, which will provide the best academic experience (Lucas & Lovaglia, 2005). In a 2006 report aimed to assist high school students in choosing a college, reporter Carolyn Thornton interviewed David DeBloise of the College Planning Center in Rhode Island. In Thornton’s interview, DeBloise stated that the key to choosing the right college is to find one that offers a balance of both academics and athletics. DeBloise offered a long list of questions for students preparing themselves for college. Among them: What is the school’s academic reputation, and does the school offer support services, such as a writing center, academic advising center, and computer facilities? In the conclusion of the interview, “DeBlois’ parting advice to anyone working through this process: maintain the perspective that you are a ‘student-athlete,’ not an ‘athlete-student’” (Thornton, 2006, p.13).

With academic importance and expectations increasing, universities across the country have launched a variety of academic services for their athletes. According to Foltz (1992):

Data have shown the individual student-athlete has suffered from an educational system that has not prepared him or her well for institutions of higher learning. Their training through the educational system has left a number of student-athletes with inadequate skills necessary for academic success in college. (p. 4)

In an attempt to remedy problems associated with participating in intercollegiate athletics, many institutions offer services to assist and monitor their student-athlete’s academic progress. Shining light on the area of academics may not only increase the number of athletic departments offering specialized academic support services and monitoring strategies, but may also increase the academic success of student-athletes.

Pressure placed on athletes to win may have a detrimental effect on the student’s commitment to be successful in the classroom (Lance, 2004). Although it does not justify poor or absent course work, it does illustrate the importance behind increased monitoring strategies. Role conflict may hinder a student-athlete’s ability to reconcile this dual status as both student and athlete (Sack & Thiel, 1985). While academic support services may help member institutions solve the academic problems many colleges and universities face (Hobneck, Mudge, & Turchi, 2003), the intent is to exchange the athletic performance for a quality education (Edwards, 1984).

There is a need for interference of athletic participation and academic performance (Akker, 1995). Faculty, coaches, and athletic administrators must be knowledgeable and responsive regarding the student-athlete’s academic performance. According to Peak (1995), “the student-athlete must remain academically eligible in order to participate in intercollegiate athletics” (p. 2); thus, study halls are often developed to assist struggling student-athletes.

The ability to identify possible contributing factors of academic success might be valuable in providing a basis for academic support or required study halls. Knowing a generalized history of the most rigorous academic year for students may be useful in deciding a target population to assist. In addition, athletes in some sports may rarely struggle, while some may be notorious for their academic shortcomings. Identifying whether or not there is a difference in the academic performance of female athletes and male athletes, or between freshmen/sophomores and juniors/seniors could be beneficial in creating the most advantageous academic services. Recognizing areas of potential struggle might be valuable in helping facilitate academic services for student-athletes.

During February 2005, the NCAA released its first Academic Progress Rate (APR) for Division I football and basketball programs (NCAA, 2005). The desired outcome behind the APR was to motivate athletic programs to become more involved with the academic success of their athletes, thus peaking the student’s interest in attending institutions with a higher APR. APRs are based on the eligibility and retention of student-athletes. Recruits and their parent(s) or guardian(s) find it important to know which institutions are likely to not only keep students academically eligible, but also retain the student-athletes through graduation (Lucas & Lovaglia, 2005). Distributing APRs may help prospective student-athletes become more interested in pursuing not only a successful athletic career, but also a successful academic career. The NCAA (2005) believed that, over time, the best athletes would then begin attending the successful academic schools, ultimately increasing athletic and academic success. Once the desired transition takes place, it is assumed the negative perceived relationships between athletics and academics will become positive.

Using cumulative college grade point averages (GPA) as a measure of academic performance (Foltz, 1992), studies have indicated that athletic participation has had a positive impact on academic achievement, despite the additional responsibility athletic participation requires (Sack & Thiel, 1985; Lance, 2004; Hobneck, Mudge, & Turchi, 2003). Research by Foltz (1992) found that athletes performed at a higher academic level in-season than out-of-season. Gender has become a major influence on the predictor of academic performance possibly due to the reported role conflict being greater among males versus female (Sack & Thiel, 1985). Foltz (1992) reported female athletes’ college GPAs were found to be higher than their male student-athlete counterparts. Although gender may be a predictor of possible academic stress, student-athlete classification was not. Average GPAs of freshmen were identical to the GPAs of seniors-while sophomore and junior GPAs were identical. However, Foltz (1992) found no link between type of sport participation and GPA.

A great deal of importance has been placed on academic services and there has been a strong demand for quality student-athlete support services in terms of tutorial services, academic advising, and teaching study skills (Pope & Miller, 1999). Over the last several years, the NCAA has taken many actions to strengthen its academic requirements and to provide better outcome measures. Nationwide, universities are grasping the idea behind this action and more support services and more ways to monitor academic progress are being provided to help athletes succeed. In order to assist student-athletes in accomplishing the goals of academic success and graduation, it is essential to identify areas for improvement.

Statement of the Problem

The purpose of the study was to investigate academic success, via grade point average among baseball, men/women basketball, men/women cross-country, football, men/women golf, softball, women’s tennis, men/women track and field, volleyball, and wrestling at a small NCAA Division II institution. Academic success was defined as earning a GPA of 3.0 or above. The following research questions were posed:

  1. Would there be a significant difference in grade point averages among the intercollegiate sports teams?
  2. Would there be a significant difference in grade point averages between the male and female student-athletes?

Methodology

The participants for this study consisted of 379 male and female collegiate student-athletes who participated in any of the following sports during the 2006-2007 academic year at the institution being researched. Of the 379 participants, there were 266 males and 113 females who comprised the 14 sports teams (see Table 1).

Table 1
Subjects – By Gender and By Sport

Sport Male Female
Baseball 40 n/a
Basketball 16 16
Cross-Country 12 06
Football 90 n/a
Golf 06 06
Softball n/a 17
Tennis n/a 12
Track ∓ Field 60 40
Volleyball n/a 16
Wrestling 42 n/a
Total 266 113

The eligibility rosters were obtained through the University’s compliance coordinator and contained all student-athletes eligible or ineligible to compete during the 2006-2007 season. Only student-athletes who were on a team for the consecutive fall 2006 and spring 2007 semester were used for the study; all other participants were excluded. The participation statistics for each sport were obtained through the head coach and the compliance coordinator at the institution. As an additional criterion, only student-athletes who participated in a contest or match were used for the study; all other participants were excluded. Thus, reducing the total population for the study to 251 student-athletes (N=251).

A 4.0 scale was used as the measurement value of grade point average. The points per credit hour earned were assigned as follows: each credit of A = 4 points; each credit of B = 3 points; each credit of C = 2 points; each credit of D = 1 point; each credit of F = 0 points. Cumulative GPA was calculated by dividing the total points earned by the number of credit hours attempted.

The registrar’s office provided information related to each student-athletes’ academic status and GPA. The data was then analyzed to determine if there was a difference in academic success among intercollegiate sports teams and gender using GPA. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 16.0 was used to calculate the statistics. For the purpose of this study, the alpha level was set at .05.

Results

Utilizing an ANOVA to analyze the data, the results of this study yielded that there was a significant difference in grade point averages between intercollegiate sports teams. Since the significance of the 2-tailed test was less than the alpha level at .05, there was a significant difference between grade point averages and sports (see Table 2).

Table 2
Grade Point Averages between Intercollegiate Sports Teams

Grade Point Averages Intercollegiate Sports Teams
Mean 2.9650 8.48
N 251 251
Standard Deviation .56963 4.179
Significance .000

In order to determine which sports teams had significantly different grade point averages, the researcher conducted a Between-Subjects Effects test (see Table 3). The results showed that there was a significant difference in grade point average among all of the female sports (basketball, cross-country, golf, tennis, track, softball, and volleyball) as compared to the other intercollegiate sports teams (see Table 4).

Table 3
Tests of Between-Subjects Effects

Source Type III
Sum of Squares
df Mean Square F Sig.
Corrected Model 14.536 1 14.536 54.358 .000
Intercept 2069.314 1 2069.314 7738.47 .000
Gender 14.536 1 14.536 54.358 .000
Error 66.584 249 0.267
Total 2287.688 251
Corrected Total 81.120 250

Table 4
Means per Intercollegiate Sports Teams

Sport Mean Standard Deviation N
Baseball (M) 2.9276 0.43374 33
Basketball (F) 3.2773 0.47559 11
Basketball (M) 2.555 0.6663 12
Cross-Country (F) 3.4362 0.52196 13
Cross-Country (M) 2.7436 0.65531 11
Football(M) 2.7454 0.5336 50
Golf (F) 3.246 0.46231 5
Golf (M) 2.8986 0.4482 7
Softball (F) 3.1831 0.49035 13
Tennis (F) 3.33 0.56353 7
Track (F) 3.2465 0.45389 26
Track (M) 2.8295 0.63888 38
Volleyball (F) 3.5575 0.2307 8
Wrestling (M) 2.7747 0.33834 17
Total 2.965 0.56963 251

Lastly, the researcher concluded that the female student-athletes had a significantly higher grade point average than the male student-athletes (see Table 5).

Table 5
Gender (Dependent Variable: GPA)

95% Confidence Interval
Gender Mean Standard Error Lower Bound Upper Bound
Male 2.796 0.04 2.717 2.874
Female 3.307 0.057 3.196 3.419

Conclusion

Based upon the results of this study, the following conclusions were drawn:

  1. A significant difference was found between grade point averages and the various intercollegiate sports teams.
  2. A significant difference was found between male and female student-athletes as it related to their grade point averages.

Discussion

It is apparent that this research study affirms the trend of female student-athletes performing at significantly higher academic levels than their male counterparts. Yet, academic support programs, for both male and female student-athletes, have been a mainstay within most athletic departments since the mid-1980s. As professionals, we must ask ourselves why many male student-athletes continue to earn lower GPAs than their female peers. We must also ask ourselves how we may be able to close this academic gap. What programs can be implemented to ensure the overall success of both genders, yet concentrate on those athletes, mostly males, who may struggle academically? Perhaps it is not just a matter of academic support services and study halls; rather the trend is directly related to role conflicts and adjustments to collegiate life. Serious thought should be given to the long-term academic success of the student-athlete. The NCAA has been proactive in establishing programs to try to help ensure student-athlete success. These programs are vital in assisting student-athletes accomplish their goals of academic and athletic success. However, the formula for success is a dynamic and holistic concept and may require uniquely different approaches as it relates to each intercollegiate sports team as well as gender. The old adage “one size fits all” may not be an appropriate method for helping today’s athlete to make the grade.

Discussion

Akker, K.V. (1995). Athletic participation and the academic achievement of athletes. Unpublished master’s thesis, Ball State University, IN.

Edwards, H. (1984). The collegiate athletic arms race: Origins and implications of the ‘Rule 48’ controversy. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 8, 4-22.

Foltz, R.A. (1992). Academic achievement of student-athletes. Unpublished master’s thesis, Fort Hays State University, KS.

Hobneck, C., Mudge, L., & Turchi, M. (2003). Improving student athlete academic success and retention. Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL.

Lance, L.M. (2004). Gender differences in perceived role conflict among university student-athletes. College Student Journal, 38(2), 179-190.

Lucas, J.W., & Lovaglia, M.J. (2005). Can academic progress help collegiate football teams win? The Sport Journal, 8(3). Retrieved from http://www.thesportjournal.org/

Meyer, S.K. (2005). NCAA academic reforms: Maintaining the balance between academics and athletics. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(3), 15-18.

National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2005, February). Academic progress rate data report information. Retrieved from http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/Misc_Committees_DB/CAP/Membership%20Teleconference%20Materials/February%202005/APR_Data_Report_Information.pdf

Peak, K.W. (1995). An investigation of the academic progress of selected intercollegiate athletes involved in two types of academic support programs. Unpublished master’s thesis, East Texas State University, TX.

Pope, M.L., & Miller, M.T. (1999). Support services for student-athletes: Athletic department and student affairs officers perceptions. (ERIC Document, Reproductions Service No. ED437886).

Sack, A.L., & Thiel, R. (1985). College basketball and role conflict: A national survey. Sociology of Sport Journal, 2, 195-209.

Thornton, C. (2006, July 17). College-bound athletes need to assess ability. The Providence Journal. Retrieved May 4, 2009, from http://www.projo.com/sports/content/projo_200060618_spparent3.1f1d7724.html

Making College Football’s Postseason Fair, Legal and Ethical While Preserving its Unique Traditions

Abstract

Controversy continues to surround college football bowl games, especially when official championship events became the norm in professionals sports, college sports, end even college football in the lower division levels. The public demand for a “national championship game” led to the formation what is now called the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The issue is now more than just of fan popularity, but also legality. There are public officials that believe the fact that undefeated teams from smaller universities continue to be excluded from the BCS title game, makes it a violation of the letter, if not the spirit, of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and that make advertising the BCS Championship Game as a “National Championship” is actually false advertising. The author, who has an educational background that specializes in college football bowl games, attempts to create a solution that preserves college football’s unique bowl tradition and resolves the legal and ethical issues surrounding the BCS.

The Every Bowl Counts (EBC 1-2-3) Plan

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes an official national champion and national championship event in every sport at every level except football in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of Division One, which is the association’s marquis product, made up of 120 Division One athletic programs.

Bowl games are a college tradition dating back to 1902, ending college football’s regular season long before the National Football League (NFL) existed. In fact, the NFL played its first 12 seasons before having a championship game.

However, in today’s sport culture, fans expect to recognize a champion. An official national champion is recognized in all other levels of college football and every other NCAA sport.

But what has transpired in major college football is a tradition the brings exposure to various communities around the country, allows 34 teams to finish the season with a victory and allows coaches to take 3-4 extra weeks of practice to develop their younger players.

The fact that there is a national champion, albeit unofficial, is touted by those who defend the status quo. “Every week is a playoff,” University of Georgia Head Football Coach Mark Richt once said. Defenders of the status quo say that college football’s regular season is the most exciting in all of sports.

The popular demand for a national championship game was used as justification for the creation of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which would allow the teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 to play each other in a bowl game at the end of the season. The rankings system was based on a combination of the Associated Press (AP) media poll, the USA Today Coaches Poll and several computer-based ranking systems. Eventually, AP backed out of the process and the Harris Interactive poll was used in its place.

The ranking system and other aspects of the bowl culture have proven, over time, that conferences with larger, wealthier athletic programs and teams with a long tradition of successful football have an advantage in this system. Teams that have finished the season undefeated that are from smaller conferences do not have the option of changing conferences unless allowed by the conferences’ current members. Such a system has brought about questions from public officials as to whether this situation is a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Often used in cases involving football, the Sherman Anti-Trust act prohibits illegal monopolies that are used to suppress competition.

Bowl committees in the BCS (Rose, Allstate Sugar, FedEx Orange and Tostitos Fiesta) continue to host the “major” bowl games and make a lion’s share of the bowl money, but they collectively award automatic bowl bids to teams that are in the BCS conferences, which could also be interpreted as an illegal trust.

Three teams finished the regular season undefeated in 2009 without getting to play in the BCS “National Championship” game. Two of those teams were not in the aforementioned “major” conferences. Two other teams from outside the “major” conferences finished the regular season undefeated without playing in the BCS Championship game. The participants in the first 12 BCS championship games were all from the “major” conferences: The Big 12, Big East, Big 10, Atlantic Coast, Pacific 10 and Southeastern.

Also, denying undefeated teams a chance to play in the BCS Championship game has led to some critics saying that to promote the event as a “National Championship Game” is actually false advertising.

Public officials as well as fans have been critical of college football in its current state. But the author believes that to preserve the bowl tradition, the significant regular season and the integrity of the national championship process would require some thinking “outside the box.” College football is a unique sport genre and requires a unique approach to change. The process that the author is suggesting is partially inspired by the Major League Baseball All-Star Game as well as the Davis Cup professional team tennis tournament.

Some have suggested that the bowl games be used as venues for playoff games, but that would significantly decrease attendance as fans would be expected to travel on a week’s notice. The NFL does not even have a neutral-site postseason game until the final game, the Super Bowl. Small college football playoffs are structured the same way. Postseason events in other college sports have more than two university teams participating at each site.

Having a playoff outside the bowls would further decrease the interest in bowl games for the neutral fans. But the author believes there is a way to keep the fan interest in bowl games without making all of them into playoff venues.

Hence, the title of the proposal is called “Every Bowl Counts,” also called the “EBC 1-2-3” program.

I. Playoffs

  1. Schedule
    Upon conclusion of the college football bowl season, there will be a four-team playoff tournament sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for the Division One Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The semifinals of the tournament will be held 7-11 days after the conclusion of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl games. The game now known as the BCS Championship Game will be discontinued.
  2. Participants
    The participants will be the winners of the four BCS bowl games, which will now be known as Playoff Bowl Games.
  3. Location
    The semifinal games will be played at the home stadiums of the higher-ranked teams in the field. The finals will take place at a neutral site.

II. Qualification

  1. For Playoff Bowl Games
    1. Ranking system — A ranking system will be developed to determine the “At-large” invitees to the Playoff Bowl Games and for seeding of the teams participating in such games. This system will be derived from a formula developed using regression analysis to determine the weight of factors that correlate with success in the previous 10 years of NCAA Division One Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs and Division Two playoffs. Ten years after the beginning of the EBC 1-2-3 program, the formula will be refigured to where it reflects factors contributing to success in the first 10 years of the Division One FBS playoffs.
    2. Automatic qualification — Certain conferences will be selected as “Automatic Qualifiers” each year. In order to obtain such status, teams from a conference must win three non-BCS bowl games, further known as Non-Playoff Bowls, during the previous season. Champions of these conferences will automatically receive an invitation to participate in Playoff Bowl Games.
    3. The Boise State Rule — Any team that is undefeated and has defeated 11 Division One FBS teams during the regular season (including conference championship games) will receive first priority in filling Playoff Bowl positions after the automatic qualifiers have been determined.
    4. Limitation — No conference will be represented by more than two teams in the Playoff Bowl Games.
    5. The ranking system alluded to in section IIA1 will be used to determine which teams fill the remaining positions in the Playoff Bowl Games after the provisions of sections IIA2 and IIA3 have been met.
  2. For Non-Playoff Bowl Games
    1. First-Tier Bowl Eligible Teams will receive first priority when being invited to Non-Playoff Bowl Games. To be classified as a First-Tier Bowl Eligible Team, a team must defeat six Division One FBS teams in its first 12 games of the regular season and finish either
      1. Among the top five in the standings of a non-divided conference (one that does not have a championship game) or
      2. Among the top three in a division of a divided conference (one that does have a championship game).
    2. Second-Tier Bowl eligible teams are ones that defeat six Division One FBS teams but do not meet the other criteria of First-Tier Bowl Eligible Teams. These teams can be invited to Non-Playoff Bowl Games once the First-Tier Bowl Eligible Teams have accepted their bowl invitations.

III. Matchups

  1. For Playoff Bowl Games
    1. Seeds — The system alluded to in Section IIA1 will be used to seed the playoff teams, first through eighth.
    2. Placement — The top four seeds will be assigned to bowl games according to their geographic location. The teams seeded 5-8 will be assigned according to their ranking (No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5).
  2. For Semifinals
    The winners of the Playoff Bowl Games will be re-seeded, with the No. 1 team playing host to the No. 4 team and the No. 2 team playing host to the No. 3 team.

IV. First-year exception

During the first year of the EBC 1-2-3 program, the seeding process will be used to determine all eight playoff participants. This will keep from the major bowl games from losing their significant in the final season before the EBC 1-2-3 program would begin.

Commentary

The Boise State rule is designed to assure that undefeated teams have an opportunity to play for a national championship. The fact that only two teams will have to play more than one neutral-site game softens travel concerns that would be an issue in a playoff system that every round in a bowl site.

The EBC aspect, where three non-playoff bowl victories in one season gives a conference an automatic playoff bid the following season, would make the games that are now called non-BCS bowls more meaningful than they are now.

The EBC also keeps the major conferences from being “grandfathered in” to the playoff bowl games like they are now in the Bowl Championship Series games. The Tire I playoff rule keeps the larger conferences from “packing” the non-playoff bowls to improve their playoff chances for the following year. Every deserving team will get a postseason bid.

This system actually enhances the significance of 33 of the existing 34 bowl games. And it still preserves the excitement of the regular season. In the NFL you have 32 teams playing 16 games each to see which 12 go to the playoffs. In the National Basketball Association, you have 30 teams playing 82 games each to see which 16 got to the playoffs. In Major League Baseball, you have 30 teams playing 162 games to see which eight go to the playoffs. But, under this system, you have 120 teams playing 12-13 games each to determine which eight go to the playoffs.

Note: Dr. Kelly E. Flanagan is Director of Development at The United States Sports Academy and a member of the faculty since 2005. A student of the college football postseason process, Dr. Flanagan completed his master’s mentorship with the Jeep Aloha Bowl/O’ahu Bowl Doubleheader in 1999 and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in 2002. He also served on the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee for the 2003 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four and wrote a dissertation titled “Factors Affecting Institutional Ticket Sales at College Football’s Non-Bowl Championship Series Postseason Events” when completing his Doctor of Sports Management degree at the Academy.

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A Comparative Study of Governance of Professional Baseball Systems in Japan and Taiwan

Abstract

This paper has provided a basis to outline some key governance features of professional baseball systems both in Japan and Taiwan. It seeks to highlight and compare with the various forms of interactions between actors in these two systems. Associated with this, the paper undertakes a qualitative content analysis method with reviewing and explaining the dynamics in the interactions among three main actors, namely, state, owners of clubs, and players. Four principal conclusions are as follows: first, this case points to evidence that owners of clubs own dominant power while players’ voices are relatively weak; second, it demonstrates how these two states adopt different attitudes to intervene or non-intervene their domestic professional baseball industry in some respects; third, it identifies the most powerful actors in the two systems are Committee Mediation and Committee Board, which represent the extended power of clubs’ owners; finally, the article suggests that the outcomes of interactions between the above actors have shaped the two sporting contexts for managerial decisions, which have made a contribution to a development of their own operating mechanisms.

Key Words

Governance, Power, Japan, Taiwan, Professional Baseball

Introduction

Baseball, having gained assistance from the Americans, established its foundation in Japan and the future of the game in Asia, in 1903. Americans “were embraced easily in Asian societies where Japan played a crucial role in perpetuating and promoting baseball” (Reaves, 2002: 8). Most academics have agreed that the relationship of (professional) baseball development between Japan, Taiwan, and the USA is evident, and such a type of development has manifested a specific ‘chain of supply’ in the global sporting context (cf. Chiba, 2004; Lee & Lin, 2007; Reaves, 2002; Takahashi & Horne, 2004). This claim of such a tendency, related to the development of globalizing baseball, has reflected on a phenomenon in Chiba’s accounts that “the phenomenon of globalization is becoming increasingly important for the professional baseball leagues in the Pacific region and North America” (Chiba, 2004: 207). Today, players from the East Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are common and performing with increasing dominance in the professional baseball industry in the United States, especially after 2001. “[Professional] baseball across Asia seems to appear to be the same as the U.S. version and in many ways, the Great American Game has become the Great Japanese Game- at least across Asia” (Reaves, 2002: 2) in general, and East Asia in particular. The game of professional baseball, which deems an obvious link among them, has built bridges from their development, which has been shaped in various forms in terms of management although having the same American origin.

In 1945 Japanese governance was ended and Taiwan has been took over by Taiwan’s government ever since. Fifty years of dominance by Japanese culture has more or less permeated and influenced the development of Taiwanese baseball culture and civil society. Indeed, generations later, Japan’s influence on the game [baseball] remains significant until now…and “what is special about Taiwan baseball is that we followed the Japanese model” (Wilson, 1996: 73). Therefore, some curious issues around this sport have been raised. Within this context, this paper aims to understand the development of the Japanese and Taiwanese professional baseball systems by explaining/comparing such organizations and management under their specific structural contexts. The researchers thus approach their study informed by the above considerations to identify: Who are the most powerful groups of actors who have shaped the professional baseball systems? What strategic goals have they pursued, and what resources were available to these actors given the historical context? What are the principles which guide particular organizations? Whose interests have been served by the development of the professional baseball systems?

The term ‘governance’ has grown in usage in relation to arguments in political science, public policy, international relations, and other areas in recent years. Before, the concept of governance had almost been seen as synonymous with government and related simultaneously to terms of politics, policies, and polity of political systems. As a rising popularity and an increasing expansion of the governance discourse which depicts various applications and meanings are recognized, the booming adoption of governance theory has also been found both at national and international levels in the field of sport (cf. Forster, 2006;Henry, Amara, Liang, & Uchiumi, 2005; Henry & Lee, 2004; Hoye & Cuskelly, 2007; Hums & MacLean, 2004; Michie & Oughton, 2005; Thoma & Chalip, 2003). In this study, Henry and Lee’s (2004) threefold typology of sport governance concepts has adapted to seek to investigate and explain the development of Japanese and Taiwanese professional baseball systems. According to Henry and Lee (2004), these three key sport governance approaches are systemic governance, corporate governance, and political governance.

The main focus in this article is systemic governance, which is concerned with the competition, cooperation, and mutual adjustment between organizations in business and/or policy systems – academic and policy related interest in governance has grown with the increase in complexity of business and policy environments. Most such environments are characterized by the interaction of organizations and of groups working within and across organizations. Sport is no exception here. If we think about the role of media interests, major sponsors, players’ agents, the major clubs and their share holders in professional sport, we see an ever more complex field of activity. Indeed, in the contemporary setting, it is unlikely to think in terms of a national or international governing body as being the sole author of its own sport’s destiny. Various groups of stakeholders such as government officials, owners of clubs etc. are able to negotiate with others and to apply pressure to have their own interests met. Thus the old, hierarchical model of the government of sport, the top-down system, has given way to a complex web of interrelationships between stakeholders in which different groups exert power in different ways and in different contexts by drawing on alliances with other stakeholders. While thinking about the role of governments, owners, clubs, players, spectators, and the wider community in the system, the complexity of this field is evident. This complicated set of relationships is characterized by interactions of organizations and groups, which are working within and across organizations. Thus, we intend to restrict our comments to three such actors, owners of clubs, governments, and players.

Method

To investigate the nature of the strategic context and the explanations/actions of strategic actors, the authors employed qualitative content analysis of textual materials to document its claim to reflect experiences of the phenomena by reference to the collected data. The study, conducted over one year (2007-08) by the first two of the authors, draws on materials from analysis of data, including key government policy documents, academic papers, and media commentaries etc., both in Japan and Taiwan. A review of the literature provides accounts of the two professional baseball contexts since 1990 (the year which CPBL set up) to 2008. Gathering of data helped to map out a picture of the structural context of the two professional baseball systems. In this study, we reviewed 21 academic materials, 24 media articles and 5 government reports. As a result, our research was conducted by secondary data from the above three main documents. Eighty-three commentaries were identified to conduct this research. Table 1 below provides a summary of the key actors identified and the approaches adopted to obtaining data relating to their own commentaries.

Table 1
The Summary of Commentaries of Stakeholders and other Commentators

Government Reports Media Commentaries Academic papers Total
Japan Taiwan Japan Taiwan Japan Taiwan
Owners 1 3 4 8 6 8 30
Governments 3 4 4 7 4 6 28
Players 3 4 4 9 9 11 40
Total 7 11 12 24 19 25 98

Discussion

Owners of Clubs

Generally, the growth and prosperity of organizations are not considered bonanzas for individual actors, but are valuable ends in themselves (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997). Owners tend to put the clubs in the promotion department and recognize that the main purpose of possession of the team is to promote the brand of products, outstanding image of enterprise, and good public relations to the mass etc. In Japan for example, Yomiuri Shimbun and Chunichi Shimbun use teams for sale promotions. The Hanshin Electric Railway Co., Ltd and Seibu Group used teams for the tickets’ revenue and urban development along its railway line, and the ORIX Corporation obtained good reputation and credit from its club. However, it has been seen that except for the Yomiuri Giants, the Hanshin Tigers and Hiroshima Toyo Carp, all clubs are operating through a great support, often as much as three billion Japanese Yen or about US$ 25 million, from their parent companies (Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 2004; 2005). A considerable rise in the salaries of players recently is often criticized, but, from the start of the professional league, parent companies still pay the difference as an advertisement (Kobayashi, 2004). Again, this is because there are ‘extra’ recognized benefits which these parent companies expect to obtain from the baseball clubs, even though they are ‘losing’ money by investing in this industry. This is evident in Taiwanese professional baseball systems as well, where most clubs are in a ‘red’ negative profit condition in terms of financial investment.

Besides their value for the purpose of social promotion, another reason for companies keeping clubs is the tax abatement allowed by the government, including some policies of preferential treatment to reward the companies’ investment. For example, in Japan, the National Tax Administration Agency permits the parent companies to enter the cost for the baseball clubs under losses (Kobayashi, 2004). In Taiwan, though professional baseball business is viewed as a commercial activity, the government provides support in kind for this industry, such as no levying entertainment (around 10%) tax on clubs but clubs paying lower Education tax (around 2.5%) from their financial income, gate revenue in particular.

While obtaining ‘benefits’ from the government, on the one hand, owners still have a specific obligation and responsibility to shareholders in terms of transparency and accountability (Henry & Lee, 2004). On the other hand, they also need to meet the interests of those who are involved in the organization in different forms, such as players, supporters, sponsors, and so on. Nevertheless, in Taiwan’s system, owners of clubs are dominant in ‘steering’ [controlling] the operation of the whole network. A Committee Board, composed of representatives of owners, is authorized powerfully far beyond the leagues and is to be responsible for important agreements, (contracts, for instance) of clubs and players. Ironically, as this ‘institution’ is so dominant, the duties of the leagues are thus only policed through setting the agenda of the seasonal games, promoting images of clubs, players, and negotiating related affairs with the government under the requests of this influential committee board.

Comparing Japanese owners’ power with Taiwan’s case shows no difference between these two. For instance, in Japan, although Hiromitsu Ochiai submitted his wage case to arbitration in the end of the 1990 season, it was deemed mainly controlled, more precisely, nullified by the employers’ ‘dominant power’ (Whiting, 2004). Indeed, “A Mediation Committee is composed of three members, the commissioner and the chairman of the Central League and the Pacific League. No one is selected from a third party” (Suzuki, 2000: 2). The above claims have evidently reflected on the owners’ attitude toward the whole system when the well-known owner of the Yomiuri Giants, Tsuneo Watanabe, has stated that “If any players are accompanied by an agent at a table of salary negotiation, I will absolutely cut the salary of that player…” (Suzuki, 2000: 1).

Governments

In Taiwan’s case, the role of national government is to ‘regulate’ contractual frameworks for the industry and to make the benefits of the whole available to all stakeholders. The role of the Sports Affairs Council acts as a public sector lever in order to achieve positive social and economic benefits in the private sector. The government to develop this sport and the capital spending and infrastructural effects of the merger, for example, were evident (Lin, 2003). The baseball stadia, planned or under construction, are designed not only for baseball tournaments, which include international, domestic, and professional baseball games, but also to develop local prestige (culture). They serve as well to promote economic activities with cooperation between the central and local governments (Sports Affairs Council, 2004). The implementation of these programs sought to be mutually beneficial for both the public and the private sectors. However, the provision of a stimulus for capital spending on new and rejuvenated sporting facilities and improvements raised some questions which were concerned with who really benefited most from such spending. Also, did they really meet the criteria of the government’s initial reasons for promoting such policies? The state, though an actor within the Taiwanese sporting system in terms of having the most resources of income (taxation), personnel, information, and if necessary force of law, sought to ‘influence and steer’ but not to directly ‘control’ the professional sports’ field. For instance, as all the players have signed contracts with the clubs which were fully controlled by the owners, it is likely that the players’ voice has been getting lower in order to secure their jobs (Hsien, 2007). Despite the government being responsible for protecting her citizens’ civil rights, such as work, life, freedom of moving etc. according to the Constitution, nonetheless, the professional baseball business is recognized as a commercial activity by the government, which has been used to keep this industry open and free under the rule of the market mechanism. The existence of commercial contracts agreed by both the clubs’ owners and players simply reflects this concern where the government (public sector) was not seeking to be involved and thus avoiding inviting criticism over government intervention from the private sector.

Interestingly, Taiwan’s government acknowledges that baseball had contributed much, not only to the achievements of its political purposes such as enhancing national prestige, aiding international diplomacy, but also to economic goals such as reducing unemployment and expanding business opportunities (Lin, 2003). Thus, attempts at rejuvenating Taiwan’s baseball community and promoting future development of Taiwanese sports after the 1997 professional baseball gambling scandal were evident and thus brought the state, the sporting governing bodies, and the commercial sector together in coping with this issue. A concern raised here was that the ‘cooperation’ of combating this crisis among actors had invited the government to ‘intervene’ in this sport. Subsequently, the hosting of the 2001 Baseball World Cup (BWC) had further provided this government with a basis to be involved in [professional] baseball matters, and the success of the 2001 BWC had greatly inspired the government to promote and complete the merger between the two Taiwanese professional baseball leagues (CPBL and TML) in the 2001-03 period.

Although having shared ‘similar attitudes’ toward recognizing the behavior of the professional baseball industry as a commercial activity both by Japan’s and Taiwan’s governments, to some extent, these two governments have dealt with matters related to this business in different ways. In Japan, as central government recognizes the importance of promoting sport policies, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology established the Basic Plan for the Promotion of Sports in 1999 (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 1999). In this plan and other government reports, it is apparent that central government was concerned with Japan’s performance in world competitive sports and emphasized the necessity of launching sports developing programs for citizens from kids to top athletes (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 2006). Unfortunately, these reports are unable to embrace or consider relevant affairs of particular sports in which the professional baseball industry was also included. Though lacking government ‘full attentiveness’, national tax agency in Japan had promoted the provision of tax abatement for professional baseball since some decades ago (National Tax Agency Japan, 1954). Having an understanding of the government’s attitude toward to professional baseball, in the first strike case of NPB’s players in 2004, it is clear that interactions (negotiation) for tackling this crisis between owners, players, media, and even fans was evident. One could see the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology merely held a press conference which mentioned the hope to avoid the strike (Kyodo, 2004). Another good example is that, since the 1990s, Japanese companies were struggling with economic recession, which has forced these companies to reform their business structures in which the business of professional baseball was thus influenced and changed. Companies such as Kintetsu Corporation and Daiei disbanded their teams, which led to Softbank Group and Rakuten buying team companies, and Murakami Fund began a merger and acquisition for the owners’ companies. Again, for these issues, the Japanese government ‘totally respected’ the operating mechanism of a free market and didn’t intervene in the professional baseball industry. Governments at local levels are also indecisive whether to invest for the professional baseball teams. For example, Miyagi prefecture and Sendai City rejected subsidizing to rebuild the stadium because of the demands from team companies which have reflected on Kobayashi’s claim that it is improper for the government to subsidize the NPB teams in terms of promoting [professional] baseball (Kobayashi, 2004). Nevertheless Japanese central government introduced a new public management program called Shiteikanrisha-Seido in 2003 because of the administrative reform. It was not for the aid of the professional baseball industry. As a result, in Miyagi prefecture and Chiba prefecture, the right of managing the stadia, which were controlled by local governments, has been transferred from the public sector to the NPB’s teams. By these contracts, clubs of Rakuten Golden Eagles and Chiba Lotte Marines have made it possible to gain revenues by managing commercial activities of the stadia. Thus, the relationship to bridge the local governments and NPB’s teams is significant when managing such a professional baseball business.

Players

Considering players’ rights in these two systems, one major function of their associations is to be able to apply pressure to meet their own interests. In Taiwan, an ‘occasional’ player association appeared shortly in 1994, however, ‘keeping silent’ became the best policy for players because of the recession of the professional sport market later. The Association is now recognized as informal and perhaps only one function—emergency aid—exists. In Japan, the Japanese Professional Baseball Players Association (JPBPA) was established in 1985, nevertheless, “neither antitrust related lawsuits nor labor related lawsuits have been filed against the owners, because the JPBPA is so weak and players know they will be black-listed unless they obey the owners’ decision” (Suzuki, 2000: 1). To some degree, professional baseball players in Japan and Taiwan consider it important to be loyal to the club owners instead of having an emphasis of individual rights. Therefore one can have an unsurprising example when famous pitcher Hideo Nomo decided to undertake a loophole in the tradition Japanese professional baseball rules that enabled him to circumvent free-agent regulations in 1995. He became fed up with the traditional constraints of group loyalty and being greatly criticized by fans, in which Japan’s media termed him a ‘troublemaker’ and even a ‘traitor’ (Whiting, 2001). Therefore, it has been rare for players to attempt to file a lawsuit against their owners in Taiwan as well as in Japan, except in the occurrence of the 2004 striking case in Japan. Nevertheless, the situation has changed as we can see players such as Hideki Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka participate in the MLB in recent years while seeking to achieve their personal ‘interests and dreams’. In addition to players’ own considerations, the worsening financial difficulties of clubs’ sponsoring corporations (Seibu for example) also lead the migration (sale) of players to the MLB. The most famous pitcher of NPB, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who joined the MLB in 2007, can serve as an example in which the Seibu Corporation received US$ 51 Million paid by the Boston Red Sox.

In Taiwan’s professional baseball system, another issue that emerged concerned the draft system in which players could only ‘voluntarily’ join their preferred clubs by the system outwardly, which used to be organized by the leagues but was actually controlled by the owners(Chen, Chen & Hsu, 2008). Consequently, it has been seen that negotiations of players’ draft picking proceeded with a lack of considering views from player, supporter, etc. Hence, players and supporters are insufficiently influential to negotiate with other stakeholders. For this issue, the government has sought to urge the leagues to establish a sound and fair system to recruit players (Sports Affairs Council, 2000), which was designed to promote the competency and the uncertainty of outcomes between clubs’ games. Unfortunately, this action met with little success since clubs always have their own considerations. Actually, promotion [improvement] of Taiwan’s specific draft system has been considered by the clubs and the league recently. Nevertheless, in comparison with professional baseball leagues either in the USA or Japan, Taiwan has a long way to go to promote its own system in issues, for example, of arbitration, free agency, unions, and so on. In Japan, despite the fact of having a more ‘advanced and sound’ operating mechanism in the professional baseball system than Taiwan, the NPB players’ rights are still far behind the players in MLB. For instance, in 1993, a free agency system had been promoted; however, there were limitations existing that have hindered players’ mobility, such as the fact that players were unable to be free agents after nine years of service in the first club (Suzuki, 2000). Meanwhile, before the period of obtaining the right of free agency, if players intend to develop [continue] their careers in MLB, they have to get through a termed posting system which disallows a player choosing clubs, even if he has already been awarded offers by other clubs. Therefore, only the clubs have the rights to make decisions for players to select or refuse offers from the MLB clubs (Suzuki, 2000). In this sense, the development of the Japanese professional baseball system has its necessity to improve in general, players’ rights in particular. Having given explanations and analysis of power relationships, interactions of the three actors namely, owners of clubs, governments, and players. Table 2 below helps highlight the key governance features of the two professional baseball systems in terms of roles’ power of various stakeholders.

Table 2
Key Governance Features of the Two Professional Baseball Systems

Japan Taiwan
Role of governments
Weak-Mixed

State non-intervention except the provision of tax abatement.
Strong-Mixed

State defines professional baseball as a ‘corporate business’ within a free market, which should not be interfered with. However, state constructs and maintains stadia, and promotes developing programs through school system.
Role of owners of clubs
Strong

Leagues and clubs are mainly controlled by the employers’ ‘dominant power’.
Strong

A Committee Board, composed of representatives of owners, has authority over the operation of the leagues.
Role of players
Weak-Mixed

Though having a gradually ‘advanced and sound’ operating mechanism, the NPB players’ rights are still behind the players in MLB.
Weak

Players’ voices are weak and tended to be ignored by clubs. Issues such as Regulations of Arbitration, Free Agency, Player Association etc. have being ignored.
Most powerful actors A Mediation Committee is composed of three members. The Committee Board is composed of representatives of clubs.

Conclusion

In this case of identifying governance features of the two professional baseball systems, which have shaped the thrust and pace of the developmental strategies in the Japan’s and Taiwan’s structural contexts, the Japanese and Taiwanese models would seem to imply a two-fold structuring of the contemporary systems. Both of the two professional sport systems, though under the global pressures, have developed their operating mechanism where it has given way to specific management in some ways.

This study illustrates that various actors behaved in order to achieve strategic goals. In Taiwan, the state, though incorporating the most powerful set of actors within its sporting system, with access to financial resources, personnel, information, and if necessary force of law, sought to steer rather than demand its preferred outcome. The state still plays an influential role in the professional baseball system (e.g. the 2003 merger issue between the two leagues) though identifying it as a free commercial activity, in which any kinds of intervention may not be favored. The Japanese case is a different story from Taiwan since its government intends to have non-intervention except for the provision of tax abatement.

Owners of these two systems stand in a stronger bargaining position in most aspects. The current process of governance still represents a buyer’s market in which players’ powers are limited because of their lack of access to strategic resources to affect outcomes. Nevertheless, the Japanese system has gradually been improving to be more ‘open and completed’ and players’ rights are more considered and respected in comparison with Taiwan’s case. Additionally, the Mediation Committee in Japan and the Committee Board in Taiwan were recognized as the two most powerful actors and believed to represent the ‘extended forces’ of professional baseball clubs. Under the ‘guidance’ of these two Committees, the two leagues (NPB, CPBL) have administrative responsibilities, but with no real power. They simply play less important roles in their systems.

Finally, it suggests that various countries have their local environments (conditions), which are consonant with their particular social values. As a result, a successful professional sport management should be able to reflect national characteristics and be consistent with a country’s cultural values in the globalized context. Indeed, [professional] baseball is recognized as a public good, produced and owned by a wider set of publics which include clubs, players, supporters, spectators, and the wider community. Having given a contribution to identifying some key characteristic features of Japan’s and Taiwan’s professional baseball systems, in order to obtain the sustainable development of these two systems, it is suggested that all those possible investing resources and those of the community need to be served.

Ping-Chao Lee (First and Corresponding author)
Department of Physical Education, National Taichung University, Taiwan
Address: 140, Min-Shen Road, Taichung City (403), Taiwan
Phone: +886-4-22183013
Fax: +886-4-22183410
E-mail: p.c.lee@ntcu.edu.tw

Yoshio Takahashi
Institute of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan
Address: 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba-Shi, Ibaraki-Ken 305-8574, Japan
E-mail: yoshi@taiiku.tsukuba.ac.jp

Chien-Yu Lin
Graduate Institute of Sports and Health Management, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan
Address: 250, Kuo-Kuang Road, Taichung City (402), Taiwan
E-mail: cylin1349@nchu.edu.tw

Koh Sasaki
The Research Center of Health, Physical fitness and Sports, Nagoya University, Japan
Address: Furo-Cho, Chikusa-Ku, Nagoya City, 464-8601, Japan
E-mail: sasaki@htc.nagoya-u.ac.jp

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A Comparision of Athletic Training Program Financial Resources

Abstract

Athletic departments have budgets for each team. Included within the athletic department master budget includes an athletic training budget. However, unlike sports programs, the athletic training budget goes not towards its own needs, but the needs of the sports teams. The size of the athletic training budget is proportional to the number of sports and the number of athletes’ athletic trainers’ service. For example, schools with football require more athletic training supplies, time, and people than schools without. The only research conducted that compared the size of the financial resources between athletic training budgets comes from 1992. The research indicated that the range of money available for the care of athletics at the college and high school ranged from $926 to $96. Since then the education of athletic training has changed both athletic training programs and their budgets. New research into the similarities and differences between athletic training budgets is a must.

Introduction

Like any other program in athletics the athletic training budget takes up a significant portion of the athletic department budget. However, unlike sports programs, the athletic training budget goes not towards its own needs, but the needs of the sports teams. Every school with athletic trainers and an athletic training budget must develop a budget based on the needs of the sports teams. For example, schools with football require more athletic training supplies, time, and people than schools without. More popular athletic departments have larger budgets to meet the needs of their athletic teams. The assumption is that athletic training budgets change to meet the demands of the teams of whom they cover. The variables include the size of the school, number of athletes, division of athletics, gender of athletes, and number of athletic trainers. The question that arises is: do schools with these comparable variables have comparable budgets?

Budgets

A budget is a plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures (Horine, 1991). It is also a tool for estimating receipts and disbursement over a period of time (Mayo, 1978). Fried (2008) defines a budget as a road map that shows a business where it is going to spend its money. In regards to athletic training, Dr. Richard Ray (2000) defined a budget as a qualitative expression of the athletic trainers’ management plan. Dr. Ray explains that a budget interrelates with inventory control and purchasing to create a financial planning network for an athletic training program.

In his book ‘Management Strategies in Athletic Training’ (2000), Dr. Ray explains several examples of budgets available for athletic training programs. The first budget Dr. Ray lists is the incremental or spending ceiling budget (Wildavsky, 1975). This budget requires athletic trainers to justify expenditures that exceed the previous year’s budget. The second is the spending reduction model. The spending reduction model decreases a budget to preserve institutions funds. Institutions in financial crisis use this budget more often whereas academic programs rarely use it. The third budget is the zero-based budget. In the zero-based budget every expense must be justified without reference to previous spending patterns. This budget is tedious and requires micromanagement of the athletic administration. Athletic trainers rarely rely upon this budget because of the constant changes in athletics from year to year.

The fourth budget type is the fixed budget. This budget form projects expenditures and revenue on a monthly basis. The budget is useful in large revenue driven sports clinics and rarely used in academic settings. The fifth budget is the variable budget. Similarly to fixed budgets, academic athletic training programs do not use the variable budget. Institutions using the variable budget adjust the budget monthly so as to assure that expenditures do not exceed revenue. The sixth budget is the lump sum budget. Referred sometimes as the single pot budget, money sits in a single account for a program without specifying how or where the money is to be spent. Programs using the lump sum budget may use it as a spending ceiling or spending reduction budget. The seventh budget is the performance budget. This budget allocates funds for discrete activities such as rehabilitation, injury treatment, administration, patient education, first aid, and pregame preparation. The performance budget separates each section into ‘mini’ budgets. Athletic training programs rarely use the performance budget because of the difficulty in analyzing activity costs.

The budget athletic trainers’ use more often than any other budget type is the eighth budget, the line item budget. The line item budget allocates a fixed amount of money for each sub function of an athletic training program. These sub-functions include; expendable supplies, equipment repair, team physician services, and medical insurance. Athletic training programs use the line item budget extensively because of the control that it provides the head athletic trainer. The flexibility of the budget provides the athletic trainer the ability to dictate how much money they want to spend in one area. For example, if an athletic trainer knows that next year’s football team will be twice the size it is this year, he may decide to expand the expendable supplies (tape) budget and reduce the equipment repair budget to meet the needs of the coming year. This flexibility grants the athletic trainer the greatest freedom at determining his success or failure the next year.

A typical athletic training budget provides the athletic trainer the opportunity to cover the responsibilities of the position. Normal line items include; expendable supplies, capital equipment, equipment repair, and operating costs. Occasionally items including continuing education, malpractice insurance, postage, and telephone charges are included in the athletic training budget. What the athletic training budget covers depends for each athletic department. Some athletic departments add continuing education and postage to the general athletic fund.

Prior to 2004 athletic training programs incurred the cost of athletic training students as part of their budget. In 2004 the national accreditation body of athletic training education the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) ended the internship route for athletic training students thus ending athletic training compensation. The commission felt that students attended athletic training programs in order to become athletic trainers, and they do so because they have a desire to do so. To pay them for their educational clinical experience contradicts the purpose of the education program. The size of an athletic training budget does depend on several variables including the size of the athletic department.

God did not create all athletic departments equally. This is evident by the different divisions of athletics. A larger athletic department includes more teams and more athletes. To accommodate those sports and athletes, schools must build facilities and hire more coaches and staff. The most distinguishable variables between athletic departments include the division of athletics, number of athletes, number of sports, ratio of female to male athletes, and school size. These variables affect the athletic training budget tremendously. However, variables do not depend upon each other. For example, in 2008 the University of Notre Dame had only 8300 undergraduate students with 752 student-athletes (Notre Dame, 2008) compared to the University of Michigan that had 38,900 undergraduate students and 745 student-athletes (University of Michigan, 2008). Despite the huge difference in the student population, the schools play each other in athletics all the time. To date, only one researcher has investigated the comparison of athletic training budgets using these variables.

In 1992 Dr. James Rankin conducted research where the focus was to investigate the amount of money in athletic training budgets that is spent on athletes. In his research Dr. Rankin submitted surveys to 250 head athletic trainers at universities, colleges, high schools, professional football teams, and sports medicine clinics. All athletic programs included football and, except for the professional football teams, had female athletic teams.

The response rate to the surveys was 57.2% with 143 surveys returned. After analyzing the data the professional football programs and sports medicine clinic programs where eliminated because the results did not compare to traditional athletic training (Rankin, 1992; p. 344). Remaining college surveys included schools from NCAA divisions I, I-AA, II, and III programs. Also included were surveys from high school athletic trainers.

The surveys reported that the average size of all athletic departments included 295 male athletes and 175 female athletes for a total average of 471 per department. The average number of male teams was 9.65 and female teams at 8.51 for a total average of 18 teams per department. The largest departments belonged to Division I programs whereas the smallest departments belonged Division II programs. High schools averaged 490 athletes and 18 teams. Despite the comparable number of athletes and teams between large Division I universities (486 athletes, 17.5 teams) and high schools (490 athletes, 18 teams), larger universities had more athletic trainers on staff (4.4 on average) than high schools (1.1)(Rankin, 1992; p. 348).

Regardless of where the budget surveys came from, each included items pertaining to the normal budgetary concerns: 1) Expendable supplies include athletic tape, bandages, dressings, pharmaceuticals, and single use items. The range of budgets in Division I universities ranged from $40,000 to $205,000 in this section. 2) Capital equipment includes items designed to last longer than one year such as taping and treatment tables, whirlpools, therapeutic modalities, and stools. 3) Maintenance money to keep equipment calibrated and running. From all schools the smallest maintenance budget came from Division II schools. 4) Operating costs such as office supplies and athletic training students. 5) Contracted expenses include items such as heat and air conditioning, water, sewer, electricity, and facility debt reduction. The surveys report that a majority of these expenses where paid by the athletic department and did not come directly from the athletic training budget except for telephone charges. 6) Team physician expenses. 7) Athletic insurance. A majority of schools carry second dollar insurance, meaning that if an athlete has medical expenses because of an injury sustained during an athletic event the school will pay for medical expenses after the athlete’s insurance. 8) Athletic trainers’ salaries and benefits. The survey, conducted in 1992, shows a range of salaries for athletic trainers from $18,000 to $70,000 (Rankin 1992; p. 347). 9) Athletic trainers’ perks, including professional dues, travel expenses, and malpractice insurance. Finally, 10) a purchasing bid system where programs are required to obtain bids prior to purchasing supplies and equipment.

The results indicated that the range of money available to spend on athletes was wide comparatively. When Rankin calculated the total, he only included athletic training salaries, expendable supplies, athletic training students, and medical insurance into the equation. Athletic training budgets for Division I schools lead by having $926 per athlete in their budget. Division I-AA was second with $462 per athlete, then Division II with $293, then Division III with $181, and finally high school with $96 per student (Rankin 1992; p. 349). Rankin noted that as the program level decreased, salaries took a larger percentage of the athletic training budget even though the number of athletic trainers decreased (Rankin 1992; p. 349).

Discussion

The most amazing information gathered from the research obtaining to athletic training budgets is the lack of data that exists. It was not the results of the research by Rankin that was a surprise. It is common knowledge in the athletic training profession that the larger athletic departments with Division I athletics have a much larger budget. What is surprising is the fact that no one has picked up the torch to conduct further research investigating if the trend discovered by Rankin continues.

Since the reporting of this data, the educational aspect of the profession of athletic training has changed. At the time of the report, academic athletic training programs provided students two paths towards becoming certified. One entailed completing an accredited program designed around didactic information combined with clinical observation and practice. The second involved an internship type of program designed around the gathering of clinical hours with very little didactic intervention. In 2004 the profession of athletic training removed this second method towards certification. The reason was to improve the quality of students seeking certification thus improving the profession.

By doing this, athletic training students shifted titles from assistant athletic trainers to students, thus ending any reimbursement for services and eliminating a line item in athletic training budgets for students. Regardless of the percentage of budgets freed by this change in academic titles, larger schools continue to enjoy budgets head and shoulders above other smaller schools with the same number of athletes and sports.

The work by Rankin demands that researchers collect new data. When they do, they should hypothesize that the data will be similar to Rankin’s data. The only difference should be the amount of money spent. The similarities will be that larger schools still have greater financial resources over smaller athletic departments. Hopefully, the research will continue.

Summary

Athletic training budgets are part of larger athletic department budgets. These budgets go to purchase supplies, equipment, salaries, insurance, and operating costs to maintain athletic training programs. Unlike athletic team budgets, athletic training budgets do not support athletic trainers, but rather the teams that athletic trainers cover. The discrepancy between athletic departments is noticeable both by athletic talent, size of school, and the financial recourses available. How then do athletic training budgets compare from school to school? In 1992 James Rankin gathered data to assess the differences in the financial resources available to college and high school athletic training programs. The research indicated that the range of money available to spend per athlete at these schools ranged from $926 to $96. Larger Division I athletic departments provided the largest financial resources available to athletic trainers and high schools provided the smallest. The results from this data come from 17 years ago. Since then the education of athletic training has changed athletic training programs and their budgets. New research into the similarities and differences between athletic training budgets is a must.

References

Fried, G., Shapiro, S.J., & DeSchriver, T. (2008). Sport finance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Horine, L. (1991). Administration of physical education and sports programs (2nd ed). Dubuque, IA: Brown.

Mayo, H.B. (1978). Basic finance. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Notre Dame, (2008). How many students attend Notre Dame? Retrieved on September 20, 2009 from http://admissions.nd.edu/.

Rankin, J.M. (1992). Financial resources for conducting athletic training programs in the collegiate and high school settings. Journal of Athletic Training, 27, 344-349.

Ray, R.R. (2000). Management strategies in athletic training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. University of Michigan, (2008). Enrollment data fall 2008. Retrieved on September 20, 2009 from http://mmd.umich.edu/forum/michigan.php#enrollment

Wildavsky, A. (1975). Budgeting: a comparative theory of budgeting process. Boston: Little, Brown.

Optimizing Development of the Pectoralis Major

Abstract

Jagessar, M. Optimizing development of the pectoralis major. 2009. This article seeks to determine optimum body/hand position and the best exercises for development of the pectoralis major. Gaps in the field of literature are also addressed. Body/hand position, execution, width of grip, trunk inclination, dumbbells and barbells are all variables that affect the prime movers (pectoralis major, anterior deltoid and triceps brachii) of the bench press. Electromyography is a technique used for recording changes in electrical potential of muscle fibres that are associated with their contractions Payton, C. J., Bartlett, R. M. (Eds.) (2008). Electromyographic (EMG) studies are well known for determining muscle activity. Due to the overwhelming contradictory information and various variations of the bench press, EMG studies have been undertaken. The research has shown that the horizontal barbell bench press done with a grip between 165% to 190% biacromial width produces maximum EMG activity in the pectoralis major. The clavicular (upper) head produces maximum activity in the close grip incline barbell bench press. Dumbbells and barbells can be used interchangeably to overcome training plateaus.
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