• The Pigskin and the Cross: Intercollegiate Football on the Faith-Based Campus

      Davis, Jody Michael
      This qualitative study examined the mission, role, and fit of intercollegiate football programs at two faith-based higher education institutions. This intersection of faith and football is rarely discussed, though on these campuses the football program wields considerable power due to the roster size, student makeup, and resources consumed. Further, faith-based institutions are called to evaluate each curricular and extracurricular program against the mission of the institution which is, at least in part, to serve Christ‟s kingdom. Seventeen faculty and administrator interviews and three student focus groups were conducted, as well as game day observation, document review, and archival research. Five themes emerged from the data: (a) coach as referent leader, (b) everyone loves a winner, (c) mission and values alignment, (d) disconnect with the student body, and (e) enrollment management and community relations lever. The findings resulted in implications for campus constituents who are interested in the interplay between athletics and the campus environment as well as recommendations for areas of future research.