All National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member institutions designate the highest-ranking woman in athletic administration the senior woman administrator (SWA). This role is “intended to encourage and promote the involvement” of women in decision-making, enhance the representation women’s experiences and perspectives, and support women’s interests in intercollegiate athletics (NCAA, n.d. [a]). However, previous research reveals inconsistency in the tasks and responsibilities associated with the SWA role. Furthermore, it is not well established if this role is a mechanism to advance women to leadership roles or a terminal position (Hatfield, 2009). To better understand the influence of the SWA role on the advancement of women leaders, this research introduces the historical context of women’s leadership in higher education. This historical context draws on the strategies women leaders used prior to the passage of Title IX. These strategies form a framework to analyze interview data with women who hold the SWA title among Division I institutions in the Far West. Findings illustrate four dilemmas – The Early “SWA” vs. Today’s Senior Associate Athletic Administrator, The SWA – The Sole Woman Administrator?, The SWA and Title IX, The SWA As A Terminal Position, and, “My SWA” – The Senior Woman Advocate. Together these dilemmas characterize this role and its limitations for promoting a critical mass of women leaders in intercollegiate athletics.
"The Dilemma of the Senior Woman Administrator Role in Intercollegiate Athletics,"
Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics: Vol. 3, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jiia/vol3/iss1/4