Roll call voting in the NCAA

Lawrence Debrock, Wallace Hendricks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Economists typically view the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a joint marketing organization designed to advance the economic interests of member schools. Yet many journalists and much of the public reject this unidimensional view of the NCAA as an organization. In fact, the NCAA's wide authority over all aspects of the athletic side of major colleges and universities has not been limited to issues that are solely related to the financial returns of its members. In this article, we use data on NCAA convention roll call votes between 1986 and 1994, to investigate the intraorganizational decision-making process. A spatial model of voting decisions, which is similar to models used previously to analyze voting in Congress, is used to analyze the votes. We can explain variation in the decisions of schools on restructuring issues quite well. This is consistent with an economic view of NCAA voting, since restructuring of the NCAA rank and file can be thought of as an exercise in raising entry barriers. However, the same estimation procedure is only moderately successful for other issues. It thus seems unlikely that decisions on academic reform are motivated solely by economic considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-516
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Law, Economics, and Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Law


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