Kevin R. Cole

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Ronald C. Kramer

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Caulfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The controversy surrounding the creation and implementation of two National Collegiate Athletic Association student-athlete eligibility rules, Proposition 48 and Proposition 42, was the focus of this study. The two rules required that a student's scholastic grade point average and SAT scores be factored into scholarship and athletic admissions decisions. By describing the unfolding social process respecting the creation of these two eligibility rules, this study addressed issues vital to rule creating processes in general.

The social constructionist perspective was utilized as a theoretical guide for this study, allowing for the examination of claims makers and their social claims regarding the state and needs of intercollegiate athletics. Two dissimilar theoretical models, critical theory and cartel theory, were used to interpret the creation and reaction to the eligibility rules.

A critical analysis indicated that the NCAA was concerned with maintaining its regulatory control over the association as well as increasing the overall integrity of the association. A cartel theory analysis indicated that by placing recruiting restrictions on member institutions, the NCAA was able to limit the competition between its members, thereby increasing revenue for the entire membership.