Impact of intercollegiate athletics in relationship to the prosocial behavior of giving or volunteering among alumni of NCAA Division II institutions
Each year, charitable giving to United States postsecondary education provides essential resources in maintaining America’s edge as one of the top higher education systems in the world. The importance of financial giving at the college and university level continues to grow on an annual basis as governmental support for higher education has declined over the last three decades. In response to the reduction in government support for higher education, institutions have increasingly turned to private donors, corporations and graduates to supplement this revenue loss. One of the largest sources of external financial contributions comes from alumni, which has led schools across the country to focus on better ways to build relationships with graduates. Studies focusing on charitable giving in higher education demonstrate a positive relationship between organizational identification with the propensity for alumni to give back to their alma mater. Research shows that engagement through organizational identification and satisfaction positively relates to giving and other prosocial behaviors. In addition, studies describe how big-time college athletics plays a part in creating a sense of community that transcends the participants of the sports, creating a campus culture that institutions rally around. At same time, interest in following college sports continues to increase, evidenced by the massive NCAA television contracts reaching billions of dollars. In higher education literature, research on intercollegiate athletic giving generally focuses on the relationship between winning athletic teams and gifts or on the motivations for donors to give specifically to athletics. Few studies investigate the indirect impact of college sports in providing an opportunity to become engaged with an institution, which leads to giving and other prosocial acts such as volunteering, attending events and serving in advisory roles. With the enormous interest in intercollegiate sports and the increasing need for higher education institutions to garner more external financial support, this study investigates the impact of intercollegiate athletics in relationship to prosocial behaviors among alumni. Additionally, the study focuses on a specific group of postsecondary institutions, examining schools at the NCAA Division II level, as current literature tends to study only schools at the NCAA Division I and III levels.