A Sociological Analysis of the Intercollegiate Athletic Structure: Focusing on the Big-Time Sports of Division I Football and Basketball
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• Critically examines the power structure of big-time intercollegiate athletics. • The commercialization of this structure has had an increasing effect on the treatment of student-athletes as commodities and the diminished emphasis on education. • The owners of production within intercollegiate athletics use hegemony to maintain the ideology of amateurism which marginalizes student-athletes but is still strongly supported by the general public. • The tremendous pressures put on these athletes make it difficult to attain a quality education and the system sees them as expendable. • The relationship between big-time athletics and institutions of higher learning increases the visibility of the schools and their connection with the community, but this is countered by the damage done to student-athletes and the money poured into sports sometimes at the expense of academics. • Universities need to focus more of their scholarly research on the exploitation of student-athletes and how institutions are affected by their relationship with big-time athletics.