Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/Advisor

Satterfield, James

Committee Member

Barcelona , Robert

Committee Member

Cawthon , Tony

Committee Member

Warner , Cheryl


Intramural activities are conducted on virtually every college campus throughout the United States, but there is a debate as to the role of intramurals in the overall development of the student (Rothwell & Theodore, 2006). Specifically for females, not every sport is offered for participation at youth or higher levels, but intramural sports is one arena where they have the chance to learn the sport rules and referee the game. This study aims to create a base of knowledge on the experiences of female college students who work on campus as intramural sports officials. The purpose of the study is to understand how working as an intramural sports official contributes to the developmental growth of female college students and discover new methods of support and direction for this population.
The researcher conducted a qualitative study utilizing constructivist grounded theory methodology to answer the primary research questions: what is the meaning of the relationship between identity development and sports officiating for female college student intramural sports officials in a higher education setting? To become more specific, the researcher explored two secondary research questions:
* How do female college student intramural sports officials filter societal messages on gender roles in sport?
* How does their personal view of women affect their identity development as a female college student intramural sports official?
Chickering's (1979) identity development theory served as the theoretical framework to develop 21 initial interview questions. Eleven (11) female college student intramural sports officials served as the sample population (n=11); they were interviewed utilizing a semi-structured interview process. Additionally, on the current Director of Intramural sports who worked closely with the participants was interviewed. The researcher examined additional data sources such as observations of participants while officiating, documents from the pilot study, various definitions of student success based on information gathered from several Student Affairs websites, and information regarding intramural sports officiating on college campuses to triangulate data.
Data were analyzed utilizing Strauss and Corbin's (1990; 1998) methods of microanalysis, open coding, axial coding, and selective coding procedures. Field notes and memos were maintained by the researcher providing support to data analysis and allowing the researcher to identify and express emerging ideas, categories, and themes. A diagram was formed by the researcher to provide information on specific skills developed by female college student intramural sports officials that led to the definitive answer to the primary research question: student success. The researcher also created a visual diagram of the interaction among the four emergent themes that explained the relationship between identity development and intramural sports officiating: external influences, internal perceptions, intersecting identities, and student success.
The researcher found that the intersections of identities became an integral part of explaining the experiences of female college student intramural sports officials. Even as younger officials were not as cognizant of how officiating fit into their identity, older, more experienced female college student intramural sports officials were more reflective in their roles as females, intramural sports officials, college students and athletes. While participants noted that working as an intramural sports official made them better students, better leaders, and better communicators, support and relationships amongst each other was missing to some extent. Female college student intramural sports officials also tended to downplay how prominent a role gender truly played in their lives. Identity salience in reference to gender only fully occurred once in the intramural sports officiating environment and in reflection of questions from the researcher.



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