Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Recreation and Sport Management

Major Professor

Rob Hardin

Committee Members

Steven N. Waller, Jim Bemiller


Athletic directors (ADs) in institutions of higher education are the chief administrators of their respective athletic departments. The purpose of this study is to describe the current demographic, educational, and professional characteristics of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and III ADs. Forty-five Division II ADs and 105 Division III ADs responded to a survey of 725 institutions, returning response rates of 15.5% and 24.1% respectively. Findings for social and educational demographics mirror those of previous studies. Subjects in both divisions studied athletic administration in post-graduate work, but studies in education were also common. Experiences in coaching and athletic administration were most frequent for both samples. Division II ADs were notably experienced in compliance, while teaching experiences were common with Division III ADs. Both sets were heavily involved in finance and internal policy, but Division II responses emphasized community relations while Division III responses emphasized campus relations. Limited resources challenged ADs in both groups. In conclusion, NCAA institutions, especially those with athletic administration departments and significant minority populations, should promote NCAA diversity initiatives campus-wide. Students and professionals preparing for a career as a Division II or Division III AD should pursue post-graduate education in an administrative field, preferably in concentrations of sport or education. They should choose a career path involving teaching, coaching, or an administrative specialization within athletics, and they should be familiar with finance and NCAA regulations. Recommendations for future research include detailed analysis of AD job design and investigating whether ADs can be clustered based on their involvement in various tasks.

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