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A Comparative Study on the Importance of Winning within University Sport in England and the United States.

By Josh Cooprider


This thesis draws from a bi-national comparative study on the importance of ‘winning’ within university sport in England and the United States, in two institutions, University College Worcester (UCW) and the British University Sport Association (BUSA) in England and Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. The thesis focuses on perceptions and attitudes related to the ‘amateur’ – ‘commercial’ ethos of winning, specifically of administrative personnel, coaches and athletes within these systems.\ud \ud In order to provide a contextual setting, the socio-historical development of sport culture generally and in universities in particular was examined in both countries. This context also provided an informed rationale for ‘participants’ perceptions and attitudes selected for this study. A multi-method approach for data collection was utilised comprising questionnaire and interview instruments supported by a comprehensive underpinning literature review including participant observation and analysis of primary and secondary documentation in a comparative dimension.\ud \ud The study’s findings suggest that the extent of the importance of winning within university sport in England and the United States is influenced by a range of shaping factors. BUSA’s central goal emanates from an ‘amateur’ approach that includes features such as ‘mass-participation’ and recreational enjoyment for the student-athletes participating. The NCAA is a business-run organisation that operates on financial budgets into the millions. Inter-collegiate sport serves as a major form of entertainment in American society, with ‘commercial’ pressures driving a ‘winning’ attitude on all levels. However, the empirical evidence and participant observations do suggest an emerging blurring of perceptions, especially amongst the athlete groups at both UCW and NNU. The evidence reveals features, which challenge accepted orthodoxy on the nature and extent of the ‘amateur’ – ‘commercial’ ethos continuum in both university systems

Topics: GV, HM
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