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Profiling South African universities for service delivery to the sport industry
For universities to fulfil a critical role in the economic growth, prosperity and innovation of a nation-state, they have to align themselves with other institutions and stakeholders to optimally deliver on strategic national objectives. The post-merger landscape of higher education institutions in South Africa provides a context for the 23 USSA (University Sport South Africa) affiliated institutions to critically position themselves for optimal delivery to the sport industry – particularly in terms of sport and elite athlete development. The paper draws on a national research project (Burnett, 2010a) and utilises a mix-method approach. Documentary analysis (including website scans and analysis of official publications), 28 interviews and 38 focus group sessions provided quantitative and qualitative data sets. Universities were categorised according to the following criteria: institutional type, locality, guiding philosophy, availability of resources (bursaries, physical, human, information and financial). A three-tier typology emerged, namely nine institutions identified as mainly facilitating “a student experience”, four universities were placed in a second category with a focus on “student-sport”, and five universities drive a multi-faceted and high performance focus within a commercial and professionalised sporting environment. Four universities fall between the second and third categories i.e. providing competitive sport with relatively limited commercially-product and service provision.