The Role of Interorganizational Relationships in the Effectiveness of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services

James O. Evans – The Ohio State University
Amy E. Werdine – Louisiana State University
Chad S. Seifried – Louisiana State University


The purpose of this illustrative case study was to examine interorganizational relations (IORs) at the intersection of higher education and athletics through the context of one exemplar sport organization focused on student-athlete academic services (i.e., the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes [CCACSA] at the Louisiana State University). The present research specifically sought to understand 1) what types of IORs might be prevalent in student-athlete academic services, 2) which of Oliver’s (1990) critical contingencies are common in student-athlete academic services IORs, and 3) how IORs are formed and prioritized by student-athlete academic services? The results show that the CCACSA, as an archetype for potentially other Division I public institutions, creates many IORs which are most often categorized as social service joint programs, agency-sponsor linkages, and trade associations. These IORs help the CCACSA primarily fulfill the critical contingencies of legitimacy, reciprocity, stability, and efficiency. Finally, the CCACSA establishes and prioritizes its IORs based on mutually beneficial goals and missions and the ability of the partner organizations to help the CCACSA achieve its mission of helping LSU student-athletes succeed. Within this point, it should be noted partnering organizations receive multiple benefits (e.g., recognition, product exposure, employee recruitment, and volunteer labor/philanthropy).