Working the system: A study of the negotiation of eligibility in an intercollegiate athletics program
AuthorYancik, Angela Marie
AdvisorSnow, David A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the processes and strategies by which individuals attempt to maintain status orders in the negotiated interactions of everyday life. My research, drawing upon eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, describes the general social process of status maintenance as a collective endeavor, using intercollegiate athletics as a case to examine this phenomenon. In particular, I focus on how athletes and their advocates are engaged in negotiating the status of athletic eligibility, a focal problem of many "big-time" athletic programs in colleges and universities. Existing approaches to the sociology of sport do not adequately account for the academic performances of student-athletes and the strategies employed by them and their support personnel to maintain their eligibility, glossing over variations among the different categories of actors involved, the ongoing interactions between them, and the role that interaction plays in determining the direction and character of student-athletes' academic experiences. The core of the dissertation is organized around the negotiations for eligibility by three different sets of actors: academic counselors, tutors, and the student athletes themselves. Counselors act as agents of the organizational system designed to support eligibility in the university, often acting as liaisons between the athletics department and the larger university community. Tutors, also agents of the organizational support system, negotiate daily with athletes over the amount of academic assistance to be given. Student athletes vary in their formal and informal statuses and develop sub-groups along social-interactional lines that serve as sources of personal identity and solidarity. The extent to which they distance themselves or embrace their role-based social identities as students in the university impacts the strategies they employ in negotiations of eligibility. My findings include typologies of the strategies of athletes and their advocates regarding eligibility as well as correlations of those strategies with athletes' attitudes towards school, educational goals, and socioeconomic and family backgrounds. Based on these findings, I present theoretical extensions for status processes, the negotiated order perspective, and the sociology of emotions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College