Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

The Ncaa:an Enforcement Agency Involved in the Production of Organizational Deviance

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

The Ncaa:an Enforcement Agency Involved in the Production of Organizational Deviance

Article excerpt


Dinich (2009) reported that Florida State University's athletic department was punished by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in a cheating scandal that included ten athletic programs and over 60 student-athletes. The NCAA noted the extreme seriousness of the academic fraud and infraction cases and has placed the athletic department on probation until 2013. The NCAA claimed that the notoriety of the head football coach, Bobby Bowden whom was in contention for most all time wins in NCAA division IA history at the time of the ruling, did not impact their decision to place the various programs, most notably the football program, on probation (?FSU receives four years' probation,' 2009). While this is the most recent -scandal" to occur involving collegiate athletics, it is not the first or even the most high profile.

In 2004, a former running back of the Ohio State Buckeyes reported that the short span of his career at school - one season - was marked with free cars, clothes, and money. This led the Ohio State Athletic Department to understandably deny any illegal activity. Questions flourished concerning the truth. Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated discussed the confusion with the following statement:

It all comes down to this: Somebody's lying. Somebody in this Ohio State mess is just flat-out concocting fiction. Either Maurice Clarett is trying to blow up the Buckeyes' athletic program with dishonesty out of some misguided notion that the school betrayed him, or Ohio State's athletic administration, most notably athletic director Andy Geiger, is trying to cover up a host of misdeeds with even more deceit. Before this is all over, either Clarett will be exposed as the worst kind of fraud or Ohio State will be disgraced and heads will roll. (¶ 1)

Cases like Clarett's and the aforementioned FSU cheating scandal have persisted throughout the history of the NCAA. Certain players are exposed as being the recipients of unfair treatment and the NCAA's punishment is directed at a program. Many times, the program responds by firing the head coach, the assistant coach, or some other available scapegoat, such as a booster (Suggs, 2005).However, it raises the questions, -Who should be held accountable and who is actually held accountable?"

The purpose of this paper is to present research examining the structure of the NCAA in enforcing and inadvertently creating conditions promoting deviant behavior. While this research is exploratory in that few studies have applied organizational deviance ideas to better understanding deviance within college athletic, this concern has been raised elsewhere. Eitzen (1988) writes,

The controlling body of intercollegiate sport, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is, in many respects, a deviant organization. The NCAA has monopolistic control over big-time collegiate athletic programs. Most significantly, this monopoly is used to the one-sided detriment of the worker-athletes and to the benefit of the member schools. (p. 200)

Indeed, Frey (1994) identified how college athletics represent a form of organizational deviance in that athletic departments have dependencies on exogenous constituents (i.e. boosters) and -deviate from the organizational values in colleges and universities" (p. 110). The current research is timely because it shows that organizational deviance is a persistent issue in college athletic. The research is relevant to managing/organizing sport and college athletics because it: 1) illustrates how interdisciplinary thought can be beneficial to not only academic scholarship regarding sport, but also its practitioner-based partnerships, and 2) how sociological thought can be useful for identifying (and hopefully ameliorating) problems within college athletics. Ultimately, it is posited that the NCAA's structure influences various forms of organizational deviance by being the only quasi-legal and regulatory apparatus involved in college athletics. …

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