Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Sport Studies

Major Professor

Damon Andrew

Committee Members

Rob Hardin, Dennie Kelley

Abstract

There are few Division I universities in the country that separate their men’s and women’s athletic departments. The reasons for separating or not separating are different and complex for each institution. Although the reasons may be different, one of the main goals of an athletic department is to put the athlete first (Rice, 1990) and understand what factors affect athlete satisfaction. Though independent studies have been conducted to determine methods of measuring athlete satisfaction, and explore organizational structure, the two components have rarely been studied simultaneously to determine how they affect each other. This study investigates and compares the relative levels of satisfaction among female athletes amid athletic departments with merged versus those with divided athletic departments. Female athletes from four Division I NCAA universities, two with divided departments and two with merged departments, participated in the study. Results showed that female athletes at divided athletic departments had higher levels of satisfaction than did female athletes at merged athletic departments. These results are not surprising when the structure of the athletic department is considered. Female athletes at divided athletic departments have a single group of individuals that work to cater to the female athlete and their needs, apart from their male counterparts. This study outlines how the structure of the athletic department contributes to female athlete satisfaction, and gives ideas about how to better the college athletic experience for all female athletes.

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