Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Abstract and Bibliography

My final paper makes the case that college athletics are beneficial for colleges and universities. Colleges and universities have three main sources of revenue: revenue from students attendance, revenue from donations, and revenue from the community.  Due to the growing trend of privatization of public higher education, colleges and universities are now receiving less money from the government, and must raise more money from these private sources.  For this reason, brand image is a very important aspect of colleges and universities.  Brand image is a reputation that is very identifiable and visible to the public.  When a school has good brand image, it allows the school to increase funding from the three revenue streams of student attendance, donations, and from the community.  Participation in athletics is an excellent way for schools to build a brand image, and this means that athletic participation allows schools to increase their funding.  This is very important in an environment in which colleges must compete for funding.

Dowling, Wiliam C. Confessions of a Spoilsport : My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007. Print.

Fillis, Douglas. Personal interview. 5 April 2012.

Frans, Kelly Ashley. "Ways in which Intercollegiate Athletics Contribute to University Success." NCSU Digital Repository (2002)Print.

Gladden, James M., George R. Mime, and William A. Sutton. "A Conceptual Framework for Assessing Brand Equity in Division I College Athletics." Journal of Sport Management 12.1 (1998): 1. Print.

Goff, Brian. "Effects Of University Athletics On The University: A Review And Extension Of Empirical Assessment." Journal Of Sport Management 14.2 (2000): 85. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.

Lyall, Katherine C. and Katherine Sell. “The De Facto Privatization of American Public Higher Education.” Change (Jan./ Feb. 2006): 6-13.

Noaman, Abu. "Seven Habits of Highly Effective For-Profit Colleges What traditional colleges can learn from for-profits." 01 February 2011Web. <>.

Ohnsman, Alan. "Toyota Prepares $1 Billion Marketing Blitz in U.S.." September 16, 2009Web. <>.

Renshaw, Jarrett. “Growing resentment evident in overwhelming vote to cut Rutgers athletic budget, faculty say.” The Star Leger. 02 Feb. 2012. Electronic.

Roy, Donald P., Timothy R. Graeff, and Susan K. Harmon. "Repositioning a University through NCAA Division I-A Football Membership." Journal of Sport Management 22.1 (2008): 11-29. Print.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review #5

Gladden, James M., George R. Mime, and William A. Sutton. "A Conceptual Framework for Assessing Brand Equity in Division I College Athletics." Journal of Sport Management 12.1 (1998): 1. Print.

In this source the author, James Gladden, gives a method for assessing brand equity, and explains factors that go into building brand equity.

This source is credible because it is published in the Journal of Sport Management, which is a peer reviewed publication.

This is not a direct quote, but rather a list of positive consequences of strong brand equity.  Gladden lists national media exposure, merchandise sales, individual donations, corporate support, atmosphere, and ticket sales as positive consequences of having good brand equity (Gladden 9-10).  These items relate directly to the theme of privatization, and increasing the amount of revenue a school has available.  Sports do this by increasing name recognition of the school and also act as marketing for the school.  Ultimately this will attract more students which is more income.

Gladden talks about the importance of a head coach, and how having a successful head coach can serve as a basis for brand equity (Gladden 6).  This is directly related to the personal interview I had last week.  Doug and I discussed the importance of the head football coach as a public focal point for a university.  Very often when people are considering making a large donation to a school, they want to meet someone from the school that they can associate with, in order to determine if their donation is going to a worthy cause.  Very few people at a university are more in the public eye than the head football coach, so employing a well reputable coach will often give the community a link to your school that they can relate to more so then the school president or a professor who is deeply interested in research.

"College sport teams with visible corporate support can create a positive quality image because corporate marketers within large sport product manufacturers will only ally with the teams with the most brand equity" (Gladden 11).  Here gladden talks about corporate sponsorship.  Its hard to ignore emblems just as Nike, Rebook, and Easton all over the uniforms of college sports.  Its not just a coincidence that the schools that earn corporate sponsorship are schools that have based their brand equity off of their sports programs, and have invested time and money into becoming the largest, most successful, and most popular athletic programs.  Because these schools have based their brand image off of their athletic programs they are the schools that the public can relate to most. Its no surprise that the schools that the public can most easily affiliate themselves with have the largest fan base, and were therefore chosen for corporate sponsorship.  This goes to show the importance of being able  to relate to the public.  Only a small percentage of the public can relate to institutions that consider themselves academically elite, such as the ivy league, but the majority of the public can relate to big time sports.  Because this is the case, schools that base their brand image off of big time sports programs are better equipped to compete in a world of privatized college funding.

Conclusion & Relating to Other Sources:
It is not a secret that most collegiate athletic programs lose money for their institutions.  It is also not true that colleges across the country, or any college for that matter, are scrapping their athletic programs in order to route more money towards education.  As i have said, the reason for this is privatization.  Schools have less income from the government, so their income must now come from other sources.  These sources are mainly attracting students to enroll at their schools, seeking donations, and from the community in ways such as corporate sponsorship.  Sports programs increase name recognition of a school, as well as offer a platform for the school to create its brand image.  A positive brand image will attract more money to a school through the three aforementioned revenue streams, and ultimately leave a school better equipped to operate in a privatized environment.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I interviewed Douglas Fillis from the Rutgers Foundation Office.  He is the Associate Athletic Director in athletic development.  I was able to get a lot of good information regarding fundraising from him.  He explained that funding for the athletic programs comes from ticket sales, concessions, apparel, parking fees, and fundraising.  What ever difference remains is made up from student fees.  In a typical year, the foundations office can raise around 13million dollars in athletic donations.  This is money that is donated to the athletic program, so if Rutgers did not have athletic teams, this money would not be spent on academics, because the money would have never come to the university.
He also shared with me that Rutgers has a plan in place to reduce the amount student fees necessary to finance their sports programs.  Avenues of income such as concessions and apparel have not been carefully managed in the past, but in the coming years more efficient operation of these income streams will reduce the amount of money spent by the athletic department that could otherwise go towards academics.
We also discussed how the sports programs aid in fundraising efforts. Often when considering making donations meetings with high profile figures, such as the football coach, can sway people into doing so.
One story about someone considering making a donation to the athletic program, but instead making a donation  over one million dollars towards academics, goes to show how athletic programs can aid academic fundraising.
The importance of the exposure that sports bring to a university was also addressed in our interview.  Doug mentioned the importance of the ads that run during nationally televised games, and how they can bring many important aspects of the university to light.  The ability to associate the Rutgers' R with winning would also be a huge boost for the school.
Overall, I received a lot of good info to put into my paper from this interview.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Book Review #4

Roy, Donald P., Timothy R. Graeff, and Susan K. Harmon. "Repositioning a University through NCAA Division I-A Football Membership." Journal of Sport Management 22.1 (2008): 11-29. Print.

This source talks about the marketing and business side of having a NCAA Divison I-A sports team.  Most of the discussion is related to football, because football is a high exposure sport.

This source is from a scholarly, peer reviewed journal.

Brand Awareness- Exposure, synonymous to many of the terms I have been already using
Brand Positioning- Identity, what the brand means to your target audience

“College football has an impact on several stakeholders, with three key stake holder groups being students, alumni, and local communities” (Roy 11).
This statement is the core of my argument, because it demonstrates the connection between Div- 1A sports and privatization.  Privatization means that less of a universities’ funding is going to come from the government, so the university must draw money from other sources.  Three main sources for the university to seek money from are student attendance, alumni donations, and support from its surrounding community.  The need to associate, and profit from these other parties show the importance of branding, and why universities must create a strong brand image.  The bottom line is always monetary,

“Brand Equity is the added value a brand gives to a product” (Roy 15).
“Brand image is defined as perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory” (Roy 15).
These two quotes are definitions I find myself using often in my writing.  I will likely add these definitions to the introduction of my paper, because they come from a scholarly source, and hold more weight than my own words.

“Brands that are familiar to consumers are more likely to elicit positive associations about the brand that make up the brand’s favorable image” (Roy 15).
“Such as image can extend beyond an institution’s athletic programs to become the overall image one holds for the institution” (Roy 15).
These two quotes will add more weight to my counter argument against Dowling’s “Confessions of a Spoilsport”.  They perfectly contradict Dowling’s argument he dubs “Everyone knows O.J.”.  Dowling suggests that athletics draws undesirable types of students to a university. He calls them party animals.  Here the author explains how athletics can boost the image of all aspects of an institution, even those unrelated to athletics, such as academics.

“By moving their football teams to NCAA Division IA football membership, universities can reposition their athletic brand using product category as a basis for positioning, benefiting from shared associations with established IA institutions” (Roy 17).
Product Category is a type of association that a university can use as a part of its brand image.  This means that a school does not have to be a top athletic program to benefit from IA membership.  Simply competing at the highest level causes a team that is not necessarily elite to be associated with the elite.  The association is made in the mind of the consumers, and increases the brand value in the mind of consumers.

This source is very important for two important reasons. The first reason is that it gives credibility to the claims I make about flaws in the counterargument.  More importantly, is that this source will allow me to shed more light upon the financial and privatization aspect of my topic.  (The first quote I listed in the above section is what I am referring to.)
To sum it up simply, creating a favorable brand image helps to fight against the decrease in funding universities are experiencing, by opening up new avenues in which to receive funding.  I hope to find another source to help elaborate on this aspect of my topic.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Case

My argument is that college sports are beneficial to universities.  Most, if not all, colleges lose money on their athletic programs.  For this reason many people believe that athletic programs should be abolished, because in their view that money should be put into academics.  I hope to show that athletic programs are worth their expenses, because Div-1a sports and big time programs allow universities to increase their exposure and publicity.  This allows the university to build a brand image based off of their sports programs.  The positive brand image that results from sports programs increases the perceived value in the minds of consumers and the public.

Research related to my case:

Counter Argument Book Review

Dowling, Wiliam C. Confessions of a Spoilsport : My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007. Print.

The Author:
William Dowling was a professor at Rutgers University, and spent years "fighting corruption" that he believed to stem from Rutger's athletic programs

Dowling's argument is that college athletics are not beneficial to colleges and universities.  Dowling believes that the tremendous costs of college athletics would be better spent on academics.  Additionally, Dowling believes that schools with big time division 1A athletic programs attract a certain type of "party animal" student.  This type of student does not necessarily treat their education as their number one priority.  A student body that is not interested in their education will ultimately drive the most tenured and important professors away from a university, and lead to a degradation of the school's academic standing.

The problems with Dowling's argument is that he bases his argument that college athletics are a burden to universities solely on the effects that Div-1a sports can have on an institution's academic reputation.  In today's college culture, privatization is the most powerful force.  Privatization is affecting everything from the budget's of this countries biggest universities, to college admissions.  In a world very much effected by privatization, building a brand image can be much more beneficial than maintaining a spot among the most selective universities.  I do not mean to say that a sound academic reputation is worthless, or that being a college sports powerhouse means everything to a university, but I do maintain that a college sports program will do more for a school's brand image.

"Academics and big-time athletics can go hand in hand.  A successful athletic program can help draw the community to the campus, and raise the university's profile in the public eye" (Dowling, 166).
This is a quote of Rutgers President Richard McCormick, in which McCormick is expressing his stance on athletics at Rutgers.  The Rutgers 1000, a group of alumni that was fighting hard to remove Div-1a athletics, had hoped that McCormick would remove athletics upon taking over as university president.  When McCormick arrived at Rutgers, he took a pro-sports stance.  As detailed in the explanations in the following quotes, this provides Rutgers with a way to build its brand image.

"It was the Coca-Cola campaign that did the most to teach us that the issue of Div-1a sports was inseparable from the more general issue of university commercialization" (Dowling 84).
Dowling is opposed to commercialization, and therefore privatization.  Today we know that the privatization of colleges and universities is inevitable and necessary.  Privatization is the reason that brand name and brand image are increasingly important.  Elite private schools, such as the Ivy leagues, can use their Ivy League membership to create a positive brand image.  State public institution, although they can be large and academically excellent, cannot claim Ivy league membership to build their brand image.  Bigtime collegiate athletic programs are an option to build a highly visible and marketable brand image.

"Boise State in Idaho...failed even to make the U.S. News rankings of the top 248 institutions in the United States" (Dowling 132).
Then i would ask Dowling, why is it that Boise State is so well known all across America? The answer of course is the recent success of their football program.  Dowling attempts to make the point that having a powerful football program has caused Boise to slip in academic standing.  However, I think it is more likely that without its football program, Boise would be a state school known to few nation wide.  They would not have an academic or athletic reputation in order to back their brand.  Dowling does provide the statistic that Boise is not academically elite, and says the cause for that is its athletic programs.  Boise has no history of being academically elite before it participated in athletics, or before its teams were successful, so saying its recent success can be correlated to its weak academic standing does not make sense.

In chapter 4, Dowling offers ways in which exposure from athletics is not useful for building a brand image. He calls his theories things such as: "Everyone knows O.J.", "The Flutie Factor", "What About Duke", "Rose Bowl Bump", and "Big Rock Candy Mountain".  With these theories, Dowling aims to say that the attention and publicity from Div-1a sports is bad attention.
Much of the information from Brian Goff's "Effects of University Athletics on the University: A Review and Extension of Empirical Assessment", as well as other sources, takes a stance against Dowling.  In fact, Goff uses a lot of statistical analysis to show that what Dowling says is not entirely accurate.  Overall, Dowling does do a good job of displaying the counter argument against the argument I hope to make.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


This visual image is from my second book review, and pertains to some of the statistical evidence from that source that has to do with how athletics increases exposure for a university.

1995 was a year of tremendous football success for Northwestern University, because their football team reached the Rose Bowl.  Northwestern saw a tremendous spike in newspaper mentions in 1995.  Newspaper mentions were the mechanism used to measure exposure.  In 1995, Northwestern's newspaper mentions jumped by 185%

Western Kentucky University in a year of no noteworthy or noble athletic success only averaged 2 or 3 newspaper mentions per year among the eight leading newspapers used in this study.  In 1992 and 1993 both men's and women's basketball teams had noteworthy success.  In 1992, WKU had 30 newspaper mentions, and 13 in 1993.