Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Kay A. Keiser, Ed. D.


To fight tightened funding, high schools across the United States are turning to banks and other big businesses for financial support. Not the type of support a loan would offer but that of a sports sponsorship (Garofalo, 2016). This has differed from the traditional models of raising money such as collecting athletic fees and pay to play. As high school budgets are trimmed, sports and activities programs continue to feel the squeeze, creating a greater emphasis on fund-raising efforts (Troha, 2014). Corporate sponsorships were once unheard of for high schools but fundraising ideas that were once relegated to professional and Division I college teams have trickled into the high school culture (Troha, 2014). With school districts budgets becoming tighter and tighter every year, athletic departments are seeking avenues to help supplement the loss of money. The most common forms of alternative revenue generation are fundraising, participation fees, and sponsorship (Pierce & Bussell, 2011). The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to examine the influence of corporate sponsorships on the ability of Midwest U.S. public schools to provide quality programs for students. This study may be used to discover how school leaders make decisions about community influences, and how their perceptions impact the athletic programs and the roles of schools, families, and players. The framework for this study is based upon three levels of analysis including community, school district, and organization participants (Provan & Milward, 2001). As schools share more control of their budgets, they also balance the needs and philosophies of a wider groups of stakeholders. Analyzing the three levels of community, school district, and participants gave a better understanding of the role of sponsorships in high school athletics. The researcher also deduced suggestions for athletic directors and schools districts as the make decisions about entering partnerships with corporate sponsorships.


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