An analysis of factors influencing student-athlete recruitment : a case study : sport marketing
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With the professionalisation of sport in South Africa, the pressure to perform in sport amongst tertiary institutions has increased the competition to recruit the best athletes with the highest potential to perform. Tertiary education student-athlete recruitment has become a fiercely competitive market and being able to identify the factors which indirectly or directly influence a potential recruit's decision of whether or not to attend a tertiary institution is of great value to any institution. A sustainable and effective recruitment strategy is needed to ensure the recruitment of the highest calibre athletes. This study aims to determine which factors influence sport recruitment of student-athletes at tertiary level and the importance thereof. Questionnaires were distributed to potential University of Johannesburg recruits for 2013 (n=6); current UJ student-athletes (n=46); and unsuccessful 2012 recruits from various sporting codes consisting of athletics (n=4); cricket (n=1); football (n=18); hockey (n=5); netball (n=1); rowing (n=8); rugby (n=13) and other (n=2). Results were interpreted through the use of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences). The role of academic recruitment factors for student-athletes proved to be inconsequential overall with just the quality of the course presented measuring any significance, however sporting factors such as the quality of the High performance programme, sporting facilities and sporting participation opportunities of different levels were identified as strong recruitment factors on which student-athletes based their decisions on with regards to attending an institution. Higher education sport practitioners and/or coaches working with constrained student development programming and/or recruiting budgets are better able to streamline these processes with a better understanding of student athlete choice factors. Knowing which factors to emphasise during the choice stage of choosing a university will better assist urban-serving universities during program development or recruiting.