Challenges Confronting Female Intercollegiate Athletic Directors of NCAA Member Institutions by Division

By Quarterman, Jerome; DuPree, Aimee D. et al. | College Student Journal, September 2006 | Go to article overview

Challenges Confronting Female Intercollegiate Athletic Directors of NCAA Member Institutions by Division


Quarterman, Jerome, DuPree, Aimee D., Willis, Kimberly Pettaway, College Student Journal


This study examined the major challenges confronting female intercollegiate athletic directors and directors of women's intercollegiate athletics programs of NCAA member institutions. A 34-item questionnaire was mailed to 169 female intercollegiate athletic directors and directors of women's intercollegiate athletics programs. Of the 169 directors contacted, 85 (50.3%) returned the questionnaire in its completed form. The findings indicated that budget/funding issues and personnel issues had the single highest number of responses across the total sample. Nearly three fourths of the responses (70.3%) from Division I directors were associated with budget/fundraising, Title IX (gender/pay equity), and inadequate facilities. For Division II, over half (53.5%) of the responses were associated with issues of budgeting/funding, personnel and dealing with the good ole' boys network. Of the 77 responses in Division III, slightly over half (53.5%) were associated with personnel and budgeting issues. The findings are far from conclusive, however they do have implications for: (1) the practice of intercollegiate athletic administration, (2) undergraduate and graduate programs and courses in sport management and sport studies, and (3) the development of future research in the new and emerging field of sport management.

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Since the 1970s, women have gained an increasing share of administrative positions in intercollegiate athletics (Suggs, 2000). It was during the 1970s when the first female intercollegiate athletic director, Betty Kruczek was hired at Fitchburg State College (MA). Mary A. Hill was hired during the early 1980s as athletic director of San Diego State (CA). Other female pioneers of athletic administration included Judy Sweet, who became the first female to serve as President of the NCAA from 1991-93, and Barbara Hedges, who became the first female to serve as President of the National Associate of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) (Killy, 1996).

By 1995, women held 35 percent of the athletic-administration positions at NCAA member institutions (Suggs, 2000). Such positions were classified as athletic directors, associate athletic directors, senior woman administrators (SWAs), business managers, faculty athletic representatives, assistant athletic directors, compliance coordinators, academic advisors, graduate assistants, and interns. During the 1999-2000 academic year for member institutions of the NCAA, the positions were made up of 19,124 individuals (Suggs, 2000). Of this number of individuals, 995 were athletic directors. The majority of the director positions were filled by males (n=825 or 82.9%) and the remaining number (n= 170 or 17.1%) were females (Suggs, 2000).

During a most recent analysis it was found that there were 27 female athletic directors of NCAA Division I, 41 in Division II, and 108 in Division III (Acosta & Carpenter, 2002). It was also reported that NCAA Division III programs are most likely to have a female head administrator (27.6%) while Division I programs are the least likely (8.4%) (Acosta & Carpenter, 2002). These findings raise the question of why so few women are represented as athletic directors in the filed of intercollegiate athletics today.

Despite the increasing numbers of women in athletic administrative positions, the aforementioned statistics have indicated that women are definitely underrepresented in one of the most powerful positions in intercollegiate athletics--the athletic directors' position.

As of 2002, there were 885 directors of athletics of NCAA member institutions (http://www.ncaa.org/about/div_criteria.html). Of this number, 297 (33.6%) were directors of Division I, 230, (26.0%) were directors of Division II member institutions, and 357 (40.3%) were directors of Division III member institutions (http://www.ncaa.org/about/div_criteria.html).

Purpose and Significance of this Study

Prior to this investigation, the researchers found no scientific studies which identified challenges confronting female intercollegiate athletic directors. …

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