Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Environmental and Public Affairs
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
This study examined how urban communities might grow social capital from the passion and support offered by a college athletics program. Given the increasing emphasis on fiscal responsibility from local governments and public universities, recognizing how college athletics programs influence local community social capital, such as anchor attachments formed by alumni and fans, is an important perspective. Historically, the exhausted conversation has focused on economics, such as the economic impact of athletic venues and franchises. (Coates, 2007; Crompton, 2004). Through decades of research, social capital has been measured at various depths and viewed through social, economic, psychological, and even historical perspectives (Dluhy & Swartz, 2006; Goodsell, 1997; Prezza, Amici, Roberti, & Tedeshi, 2001; Atkinson & Fowler, 2012). The lack of research on the relationship between social capital and athletics programs drove this study.
Fifty urban universities in metropolitan statistical areas with a population greater than one million and with successful NCAA Division I football or basketball programs were examined for their impact on their local community’s development of nonmonetary social capital. The success of a university athletic program was measured with an index built from winning percentage, postseason victories, and average attendance per home event. Measuring the social capital in a community was less precise due to multiple data sets from different segments of time and with different units of measurement. Existing public policy literature focusing on social capital identified the variables of crime rates, voter turnout, and volunteer hours. I used additional variables in an existing model to determine trends and correlations on social capital index in the three years of available data and subsequent to significant years of athletic program achievements.
For 38 counties with universities matching the criteria for time periods between 1990 and 2005, the regression models indicated some positive correlations with football attendance, but the results were not statistically significant. However, the groundwork was created to meaningfully direct university officials and legislators toward a conversation on cooperation when considering funding of athletic facilities.
College Athletics; Legislation; Public Financing; Social Capital; Stadiums and Arenas
Higher Education Administration | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning
Woody, Paul, "The Impact of Successful NCAA Division I Athletics Programs on the Social Capital of Urban Communities" (2016). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 2765.