Sunday, December 14, 2014

Literature Review Blog #5 : Athletics Cost Colleges, Student Millions

While it is true that brands are important to universities, there are certainly negative effects of the money spent in branding on the university level. Cliff Peale of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes in article “Athletics Cost Colleges, Student Millions” that while branding creates and promotes campus pride the funds to support the things that inflate that brand take away from factors more central to the mission of higher education. With more money being spent on university branding and brand management, there are less collegiate funds to be spent on academics, greater funds invested in brand advertising and marketing, and a creation of ambiguity when it comes to decision-making that could negatively impact the brand. Vital resources such as academic funding and money to fund student support services are  often done away with while budgets for athletics double and triple over. Peale notes, “Nearly every university loses money on sports. Even after private donations and ticket sales, they fill the gap by tapping students paying tuitions or state taxpayers”.

This article has been absolutely vital to my paper because it recognizes that these athletic programs that take away resources from the academic needs of the university, don't actually make enough money to fund sustain themselves. This signifies that as long as university branding remains an integral part of the strategy to market schools, academics will never receive the appropriate monetary attention and is bound to always have more of the money funneled into athletics programs.

Research Blog 10


            While collegiate branding was once a concept built to promote unity among students and morale behind an educational institution, branding has now elevated to the forefront of higher education. Due to a decline in federal and state funding towards post-secondary education, colleges and universities have been forced to find an alternative solution for funding these institutions and maintaining and/or enhancing enrollment. In a society fueled by financial motivations, branding has become that solution. This newly gained importance of branding has come packaged with a new need to constantly protect that brand, by any means necessary for those connected to the brand. This paper works to discuss the negative effects of branding in higher education and connect it to pressures motivating higher education institutions, students, and officials to go to extreme lengths to protect their brand.

Works Cited

Berkowitz, Steve, and Jodi Upton. "Penn St. Athletics Revenue Fell by $7.9 Million in 2012."
USA Today. Gannett, 8 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.
Desrochers, Donna. "Academic Spending Versus Athletic Spending: Who Wins?" American
Institute Mfor Research, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.
Dooley, Roger. "Why Ignoring Social Media Complaints Is a Huge Mistake." Forbes. Forbes
Magazine, 5 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.
Johnstone, D. "Privatization in and of Higher Education in the US." Privatization in and of
Higher Education in the US. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.
Lyall, Katharine, and Kathleen Sell. "The De Facto Privatization Of American Public Higher
Education." Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning: 6-13. Print.
Olenski, Steve. "Did The Penn State Brand Get The Death Penalty?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 3
Aug. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.
Peale, Cliff. "Athletics Cost Colleges, Students Millions." USA Today. Gannett, 15 Sept.
2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <>.
Proffitt, Jennifer M., and Thomas F. Corrigan. "Penn State’S “Success With Honor”: How
Institutional Structure And Brand Logic Disincentivized Disclosure." Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies 12.4 (2012): 322. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010. Web. Date of access.
Tokuhama, Chris. "Consumption, A Modern Affliction: Branding Culture,Youth Identity And
College Admission." Journal Of College Admission 210 (2011): 32-38. ERIC. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.
Williams, James. "McDonalds Fast Food: Toxic Ingredients Include Putty and Cosmetic
Petrochemicals." AXS Digital Group, 14 Nov. 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <>.
Williams, Jeffrey. "The Pedagogy Of Debt."College Literature: 155-69. Print.  

Literature Review #2: "Consumption, a Modern Affliction: Branding Culture, Youth Identity and College Admission

In Consumption, a Modern Affliction: Branding Culture, Youth Identity and College Admission, Chris Tokuhama discusses the infatuation that today's youth, specifically college-aged youth, have with branding. Tokuhama brings this into perspective in his first paragraph stating, "Applel iPod has replaced the Walkman, caffeine has become the generally accepted drug of choice, and an obsession with social networking profiles has supplanted a preoccupation with business cards" (33). Tokuhama makes a connection between currently popular and well know brand items of today and those from the 1980's.

Tokuhama goes on to explain the ways in which our consumer culture affects teenagers. He states, "the current generation of students applying to college has developed in a society saturated with branding, marketing, and advertising. This environment has, in turn, allowed youth to conceptualize themselves as brands and to think of their projected images in terms of brand image" (33).

While Tokuhama doesn't make an outright comment on this particular branding being negative, it is obvious in his writing that he believes an obsession with branding has existed for some time. He writes, "although consumer culture manifests uniquely in today's youth, the oft-lamented consequences are not merely products of our time" (33).  In fact, Tokuhama addresses the fact that mainstream marketing has often been marketing to teenagers since the inception of the usage of the term.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Literature Review # 4: College Branding: The Tipping Point

In “College Branding: The Tipping Point” Forbes writer Roger Dooley discusses the increasing importance of college branding in the higher-education market. Dooley discusses that in a market of nearly 4,000 institutions of higher learning fighting to keep their doors open annually, branding in American higher education has become a necessity. University marketing, like many other industries shows direct correlation to Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest”. Dooley writes, “... the key difference in who survives won’t be the academic output of the faculty or the amenities available to students. It will be a factor seeming unrelated to the schools’ mission: branding” (Dooley). This difference is the only way to note for the ways that all these institutions can keep their doors open. 

While the strategic branding for each institution varies, survival of the institution is completely dependent on the needs of the population they are intending to attract, and the relationship that population is able to build with that brand.  For example, there are universities known on the national level that can be identified by their big sports names and impressive academic buildings. There are specialty institutions whose brands rely on one particular factor or offering that they have. In addition, there are regional and local school brands that are popular for low tuition costs and short travel time and can be identified for features that lend to such like commuter spaces.

With universities and students facing increasing financial concerns about attending university including potential cuts in federal student aid, decline in state support, and rising tuition, institutions must assure that their brands are featured. Dooely notes that successful brands incorporate “[the building of] an identity that transcends the physical campus”. He goes on to write, “Brand building isn’t the clever wordsmithing or artistic logo design. The entire institution needs to live the brand”.

Dooley also notes that “colleges and universities that build great brands will be far less constrained by physical limits”.

This particular article will add to my paper because it addresses the reasons that is necessary for universities to build the brand. From this point I will explore how components of branding such as athletics, work to put the brand first as opposed to the students attending the educational institution.

Dooley, Roger. "Why Ignoring Social Media Complaints Is a Huge Mistake." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 5 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Research Blog #7: Your Case

The cover-up of the 2011 Penn State scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky's molestation of young athletes serves as my chief example of the ways in which higher education scandals are concealed in an effort to save the good name of the university's brand. My primary resource for information on the scandal as well as the article that will serve as the basis of my paper is one written by Proffitt and Corrigan in their article Penn State’s “Success With Honor”: How Institutional Structure and Brand Logic Disincentivized Disclosure. In this article the authors discuss the ways in which the "corporatized" university placed self-serving economic motivations over the safety of the individuals harmed.

Using both this article as well as a few of my other resources I have gained a lot of significant information regarding the case and judicial information from the trial. I have created a separate blog posts entitled "Important Information" to compile facts that I've learned about the case from various sources. Feel free to peruse through that information.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Research Blog #6: Visual

I chose this photo because it was released shortly after the Penn State scandal in 2011 and acts to deliberately defame the reputation of the university. This picture works perfectly in sync with my paper topic because it shows the negative branding experienced by Pennsylvania State University after Jerry Sandusky was accused of the molestation of young men. 

Important Info to Keep In Mind for Paper

Sandusky Case: 

  • Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for the sexual abuse of ten boys
  • November 2011 - everything came to light 
  • Key administrators in the case: 
    • University president: Graham Spanier
    • Athletic director: Timothy Curley
    • Head Football coach: Joseph Paterno