any given moment, the association has several dozen investigations under
way, with violations punishable by probation, fines, suspensions, and cost-
ly bans from TV appearances or post-season tournaments or bowl games.
While individual student-athletes, coaches, or athletics department admin-
istrators may be penalised, the member institution itself may pay the stiffest
price, with loss of scholarships, TV revenue, and post-season competitions.
The NCAA maintains active programmes to monitor and discourage ille-
gal gambling and drug use. Representatives of the association claim that
incidence of both among student-athletes is comparable to that of student
populations generally.
The next level consists of “conferences” or leagues in which certain schools
compete in particular sports. These are usually grouped geographically– the
Big East (East Coast), Southeastern Conference, Big Ten (upper Midwest), Big
12 (South Central), Pacific 10, and so on–or by historical rivalries (the Ivy
League) or religious orientation (various Roman Catholic conferences). A few
prominent institutions –Notre Dame, for example –are “independents” unaf-
filiated with any league or conference. The major Division I conferences are
each presided over by a commissioner and staff responsible for scheduling,
oversight of game officials, securing commercial sponsorships, and negotia-
tion of national broadcasting rights, among other duties.
At the bottom is the individual NCAA member institution. Here, the director
of athletics presides over the department of athletics and typically reports to
the institution’s president or chancellor. The director of athletics is responsible
for hiring and supervising coaches and the operation of sports programmes,
including management of events and venues and compliance with NCAA and
conference or league polices and rules. As noted, each member institution is
responsible for policing its own ranks and reporting violations to the NCAA.
A second distinguishing feature of intercollegiate sports is a tension between
the overarching educational purpose of colleges and universities and field-
ing successful sports teams. This tension is hardly recent: “This college is a
failure”, declares Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Groucho Marx), newly
elected president of the fictional Huxley College, in the 1932 film,
. “The trouble is, we’re neglecting football for education.”
Yet if the primary
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