The administrative reporting structure of athletics directors in NCAA divisions I, II and III intercollegiate athletics
Sanders, Calli Theisen
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Differences in administrative reporting structures for NCAA Division I, II and III athletics directors were reported and analyzed. Reasons for different reporting structures and athletics director satisfaction with reporting structures were studied, and athletics directors' perceptions of their structures, particularly when organizational change had recently occurred, were analyzed. Athletics directors at all 977 NCAA Division I, II and III institutions were asked to complete a questionnaire indicating to whom they report in the administrative structure of their institution, what organizational structure changes had occurred during the previous five year period, and their satisfaction level with their campus reporting structure. Fifteen NCAA athletics directors were asked in a telephone interview to respond to questions about their current and previous organizational structures. Results were cross tabulated and frequencies were calculated. A content analysis of themes from the written survey and telephone interview was conducted. The two most common administrative reporting structures were a direct report to the university president and to the student affairs division. A direct report to the president was the most common in Divisions I-A, I-AA, I-AAA and II, whereas student affairs was the most common structure in Division III. The vast majority of athletics directors were satisfied with their reporting structure. Those reporting directly to the president cited the direct contact with the president as the primary reason for their satisfaction. Athletics directors who reported to student affairs indicated the natural fit with student services was the primary reason for their structure. Satisfaction levels generally decreased when moving from larger to smaller athletics programs. Athletics directors, particularly in Division I, felt that it was critical to report directly to the university president due to the high visibility of their programs, NCAA institutional control issues, and the impact of the athletics program on the institution as a whole. Respondents also indicated that communication efficiency necessitated this direct involvement. Directors of lower division athletics programs were generally satisfied reporting through student affairs. However, among these directors there were some who expressed interest in a direct report to the president.