Conducting a SWOT Analysis



The Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is one of the various strategic planning tools utilized by organizations in making sure that there are well-defined objectives for a venture or project (Hamidi & Delbahari, 2011). In this case, the venture is joining the NCAA. It is possible to analyze this move in terms of strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. The SWOT analysis helps in making sure that all factors linked to the effort, both negative and positive, are detected and addressed. It should be noted that when classifying and detecting relevant factors, the focus should not just be on internal issues, but also on external issues, which might affect the success of a venture. According to Lee & Walsh (2010), strengths and weaknesses refer to factors that internally destroy or create value. On the other hand, opportunities and threats refer to factors beyond the control of an organization that might destroy or create value for the organization. The SWOT analysis is very important to all athletic administrators, as this paper will discuss.


  • Firstly, Western Illinois University is among the largest institutions in the State of Illinois and has an extremely good reputation and high profile. This is because of its high quality group of faculty. In addition, the department of athletics in Western Illinois University has a complete system of management with excellent history in sports. For instance, the university boasts of a creating a gender-neutral environment. According to Parent & Smith-Swan (2013), a high personal competence and wealth of management experience are the successful condition for the WIU athletic department.
  • Secondly, Western Illinois University has several achievements including the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics aspect. For instance, about 250 student-athletes finished with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the fall of 2013, about 21 student-athletes earned a 4.0 GPA during the 2013 semester. According to Parent & Smith-Swan (2013), women’s basketball team had the highest GPA, therefore ending the semester with a 3.608 team GPA. The men’s Cross Country has the highest men’s GPA. These achievements have significantly contributed to the good reputation of the university in the Illinois region. This is likely to allure excellent student-athletes for their further education. Such athletes are likely to improve the ranking of the university in the NCAA Division I.
  • Thirdly, the university has excellent facility that is necessary for a Division I university. According to Slack & Parent (2006), WIU is dedicated to offering the state-of-art athletic facilities in their daily study, competition, and training. The development team of WIU athletic department is committed to continuous improving the quality of facility, and offering the best service to student-athletes. As a result, the university athletics department presents very competitive and well-capable athletes to participate in NCAA.


  • The first weakness linked to the move of joining NCAA is the absence of female baseball team. Baseball is among the most popular sports in the United States ( Western Illinois Athletics Department, 2013). However, WIU does not have a baseball team. The different sports teams are necessary for an NCAA Division 1 school. Many female students interested in baseball have transferred to others schools in order to play for other universities. As a result, the goal of the university of offering the best service to the publics cannot be achieved. This is a weakness for the Western Illinois University, and it has influenced the reputation and development of Athletic Department.
  • The second weakness of the department, with regard to human resource, includes lower salaried staff, heavier workloads, and imbalance ration of student-to-faculty and student-staff ( Western Illinois Athletics Department, 2013). This is a problem leading to more hiring and staff retention difficulties. This has also affected the quality of service provided to student-athletes. The bottom line is poor performance by student-athletes in the NCAA.


As a new member of NCAA, the Western Illinois University has several opportunities for its future development. The university has the capacity to achieve the championship of Division I of NCAA and higher objective. Slack & Parent (2006) pointed out that Western Illinois University has the ability to improve its reputation of athletics and lure more excellent and competitive student-athletes to study. In addition, the university can also exploit the opportunity of attracting high quality staff and faculty to work. This is likely to improve the university’s ranking by improving the services delivered to student-athletes. Another existing opportunity is attracting more boosters and support groups to assist in the development of Athletic Department. The aid offered by these support groups can contribute to improving the available athletics facilities. In addition, some support groups are likely to offer free sponsorship programs to various athletics programs. According to Western Illinois Athletics (2009), basketball is the most common sport in the Western Illinois University. As a result, basketball is an opportunity for the university to market itself.

Lastly, the change in the Athletic Department from Division I into Division I by NCAA has become a major starting point for all employees (Western Illinois Athletics, 2009). This is likely to increase the confidence of employees and motivate the staff and faculty to work harder.


It is likely that every female sport is played before male athletic event on the same day. This makes it hard to attract people to come to both games. According to Western Illinois Athletics (2009), this will influence the rate of female games’ attendance. The Chicago State University, Eastern State University, and Illinois State University are famous universities with extremely good reputation in the United States. These universities are the biggest competitors for Western Illinois. In addition, no matter which sports and organizations, they need a team of professional skill head coaches, assistant coaches, and other related workers in order to attain the goal of the athletics department.

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Nevertheless, low salaries will be a major threat for the Western University of Illinois to recruit and retain those faculties and staff who are highly competent in the competitive job market. This threat is likely to hinder the Western University of Illinois from achieving its objective of venturing into the NCAA Division I athletics (Lee & Walsh, 2010). In order to overcome this threat, the university athletics department will have to improve the salaries and the working conditions. It is important to note that the university cannot influence the salaries of its employees. Several factors, such as the economic environment of the country and governments regulations, determine the salaries. The university can only limit the number of employees in order to work within the budget and reduce the costs of operation.

Lastly, the shortage of scholarship is also another threat for the Western Illinois University Department of Athletics. The limited number of scholarships significantly limits the number of highly skilled players to be recruited to play for the university in NCAA Division I (Hamidi & Delbahari, 2011). As a result, the mission of the university cannot be achieved effectively. In addition, the environment of the university is also a crucial factor in attracting student-athletes. For instance, the housing, traffic, infrastructure and parking might be a threat to the university in attracting new student-athletes. In other words, the environment poses a significant challenge for athletic department and even the entire Western Illinois University.

Mission Statement

The Athletics Department has developed a mission statement and major themes, which are representative of its primary values, and supports the mission of the university. The mission of the department describes its purpose, why and how to fulfill venture with its primary. The SWOT analysis discussed above illustrates the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in pursuing this mission.


“The Athletics Department participates fully within the mission of Western Illinois University to offer the premier graduate and undergraduate education among all public universities within the state. The Athletics Department strives to attract a diverse collection of highly qualified student-athletes, and offer them with premier athletic and education experience, with a focus on their individual welfare. Through competitions, coaching, specialized student-athlete support services, and mentoring, the Athletics Department encourages all stakeholders to succeed at the highest possible level in both athletic competitions and academic programs. By this commitment to academic and athletic excellence, the Athletics Department of Western Illinois seeks to build a sense of pride among its student-athletes in representing Western Illinois University.” ( Western Illinois Athletics Department, 2013)


The WIU athletic department stakeholders and staff developed a vision statement that portrays the beliefs and expectation of the department. The statement is particularly significant as athletics reclassifies to Division I (Western Illinois Athletics, 2009).

“The vision of the Western Illinois University Athletics Department is to become the leading comprehensive athletics department in the United States.”

Core Values

The strategic planning team and the athletic department have also developed an initial draft of the Department’s core values. The core values serve as the foundation for the WIU’s athletics operating procedures and beliefs. According to Western Illinois Athletics (2009), the people of this department value:

  • Academic excellence: primary to the university’s tradition and history is the commitment to teaching, the individual student-athlete, and active involvement in the teaching-learning process.
  • Educational and athletic opportunity: the university welcomes those showing promise and willingness to work toward achieving shared education and athletic opportunity.
  • Personal growth: the department is dedicated to offering opportunities for personal growth in terms of sports and academics. This is because it values the development of an individual as a whole.

Assessment of the University’s Mission

Largely, the University has been successful at achieving its mission of attracting a diverse group of athletics. There are notable successes from the previous season. For instance, the male basketball team boasted three NCAA statistical champions. Three female basketball teams advanced to the postseason. In addition, the Summit League female basketball teams recorded their best Division I non-league and overall non-league winning percentages since the 2002-2003 season ( Western Illinois Athletics Department, 2013). The University has also achieved a gender-neutral environment in its struggle of achieving a diverse group of athletes. It is evident that the athletic programs provided to men are also provided to women, with the exception of baseball. One can conclude that the department has been successful in achieving its mission.


This analysis essay has performed a SWOT analysis on WIU’s athletic department. Strengths of the department include good reputation and excellent facilities. Weaknesses include lower salaried staff and the absence of the female baseball team. Opportunities for the department include capacity to improve reputation and capacity to achieve the championship of Division I of NCAA. The shortage of scholarship is a threat for the Western Illinois University Department of Athletics. The mission of the department describes its purpose as well as why and how to fulfill the venture with its primary. The three core values of the department include personal growth, education, athletic opportunities, and academic excellence.

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