The Emergence, Experiences, and Empowerment of Women Administrators, Coaches, and Athletes

The Emergence, Experiences, and Empowerment of Women Administrators, Coaches, and Athletes

Lindsey Darvin, Elizabeth H. Demara
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8592-4.ch011
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The objective of this chapter is to provide a more thorough understanding of the current United States intercollegiate athletics model that includes competitive sport opportunities within its system of higher education, the history and emergence of women in sport within higher education, the experiences of women leaders within intercollegiate sport, and future women sport participant and leader empowerment initiatives within higher education. While women were provided opportunities to compete in sport competitively within higher education at a much later date than their men counterparts, the significant impact of athletic participation for women and girls at this level has been established within the previous research. Most notably, women and girls with past sport participation experience at the college level have been found to represent a high proportion of women in leadership roles across a variety of industry segments. These insights provide significant evidence of the importance of equitable access to sport participation within the higher education model.
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The United States Intercollegiate Athletics Model

The Intercollegiate Athletics model in the United States has evolved over the past century from a male only, student-run approach, into a coed, multi-billion-dollar industry. In the mid 19th century, male undergraduate students began teams and organized competitions against other institutions. As competition and rivalries intensified, these schools began to see value in the visibility that successful teams could bring to their school, and subsequently increase the academic prestige of their institutions (Washington & Ventresca, 2004). American football quickly became the premier sport for intercollegiate competition and it played a critical role in the foundation of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) in 1906.

While the NCAA has become the largest governing body of higher education athletic endeavors in the United States, with roughly 500,000 student-athletes, additional governing bodies exist within the intercollegiate athletics system. The second largest governing body, The National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) was formed in 1938 by 13 two-year institutions after the NCAA rejected their petition to compete in the NCAA Track & Field National Championships. The NJCAA has since grown to sponsor 25 sports and like the NCAA, members are classified among three divisions. The NJCAA member institutions are divided into geographical regions, and again split into divisions based on scholarship models, much like the NCAA. Across all divisions, the NJCAA hosts 47 championships annually and sees over 22,000 athletes compete nation-wide.

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