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Collegiate = Corporate? The Business and Financial Backgrounds of Athletic Directors at the “Power 5” Conference Leve – Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics

Collegiate = Corporate? The Business and Financial Backgrounds of Athletic Directors at the “Power 5” Conference Leve

Author
Nathan Kirkpatrick – Samford University

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Abstract
This study sought to determine whether business and financial experience along with graduate education were truly factors (or even necessities) in obtaining athletic director positions at the “Power 5” Conference level. A quantitative content analysis was used in this study to review and analyze all 65 athletic directors’ biographies from “Power 5” Conference institutional athletic department websites in order to better understand these athletic directors’ past work experiences and educational attainments. More specifically, this analysis aimed to better understand what backgrounds, degrees, and skills are needed to rise to the occupational level of athletic director. Data collection and analysis took place in the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017. Each biography (n=65) was analyzed and then coded using 21 categories of business and financial experiences, as well as educational attainment. Ten important trends emerged from the analysis, and the main takeaways revealed that athletic fundraising, contract negotiation, and business operations experiences were all crucial in obtaining athletic director positions at the “Power 5” Conference level.