Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Higher Education

First Committee Member

Nancy Lough

Second Committee Member

Federick Ngo

Third Committee Member

Alice Corkill

Fourth Committee Member

Thomas Leslie

Number of Pages



The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) justifies its power and regulatory structure as necessary to promote competitive balance. Despite this, there is limited research on the efficacy of NCAA policies that were implemented with the intention of supporting more parity in Division I conferences. This study examined whether the 2015 cost of attendance (COA) policy was associated with competitive balance in various groups within the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Through the lenses of the Matthew Effect and policy design theory, this study aimed to understand how NCAA policies may hurt or help inequality in college sport. Although not all findings were significant, meaningful conclusions were drawn from observing the differences between Power 5 and Group of Five conferences, as well as between men’s and women’s sports. This descriptive study found that COA had little effect on competitive balance; rather, it may have only served to further perpetuate the college athletics arms race and inequality in the NCAA. Keywords: Competitive balance, cost of attendance, NCAA policy, cumulative inequality, college athletics arms race

Controlled Subject

Tuition;National Collegiate Athletic Association;NCAA football


Education | Sports Management | Sports Studies

File Format


File Size

17500 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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