Rule Violations in Intercollegiate Athletics: A Qualitative Investigation Utilizing an Organizational Justice Framework

Publication Title

Journal of Academic Ethics

Publication Date


Document Type



distributive justice, equity, interactional justice, intercollegiate athletics, organizational justice, qualitative inquiry, retributive justice, rule violations


Business | Sports Management


Cheating and rule violations in intercollegiate athletics continue to be relevant issues in many institutions of higher education because they reflect upon the integrity of the institutions in which they are housed, causing concern among many faculty members, administrators, and trustees. Although a great deal of research has documented the numerous rule violations in NCAA intercollegiate athletics, much of it has failed to combine sound theory with practical solutions. The purpose of this study was to examine the possible extensions of the organizational justice framework to the problem of rule violations in intercollegiate athletics. In doing so, the current study examined (a) perceived areas of injustice among coaches at NCAA Division I institutions, (b) avenues by which coaches resolve these injustices, and (c) potential solutions for resolving injustices in an attempt to reduce NCAA violations. Six NCAA Division I basketball coaches from various parts of the country (four from men’s teams and two from women’s teams) were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Despite the NCAA’s efforts to create parity, results showed that coaches perceived several areas of inequities in recruiting, including financial resources and academic standards. The interviewed coaches described several means that are currently used to resolve these inequities and offered recommendations for changes to reduce injustice in the future.