As the potential stakes for participating in Division I athletics continue to grow, university administrators at private institutions are faced with important decisions regarding the direction of their athletic programs This study examines Southern Methodist University’s continued investment in an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision program through the theoretical lens of escalation of commitment. Escalation of commitment theory is used to explain why organizations continue to financially invest in deteriorating situations. This escalation of commitment happens despite overwhelming evidence that the course of action is not advantageous to the organization. Eleven (N=11) university stakeholders were interviewed concerning their experiences with SMU over an extended period of time. Findings revealed four primary themes: priority on institutional branding, importance of campus atmosphere, perceived alumni status within the community, and university location and identity. Implications for universities and university athletic departments will be discussed in further detail.
Bouchet, Adrien and Hutchinson, Michael
"Organizational Escalation to an Uncertain Course of Action: A Case Study of Institutional Branding at Southern Methodist University,"
Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics: Vol. 3, Article 15.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jiia/vol3/iss1/15