Graduate-Level Professional Preparation for Athletic Directors

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1 Journal of Sport Management, 1992, 6, Graduate-Level Professional Preparation for Athletic Directors Jacquelyn Cuneen Bowling Green State University The purpose of this research was to design a cumculum for graduate-level preparation of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 and I1 athletic directors. A survey instrument, consisting of a composite of 41 courses and based on R. Hay's model, Proposed Sports Management Cumculum and Related Strategies, was mailed to the full population of NCAA Division I and II athletic directors (N=569). A total of 307 completed surveys were returned from directors of men's, women's and merged athletic departments. Respondents rated each course using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from not important (1) to essential (5). There were 17 courses that were rated very important according to the acceptance criterion of a mean of 3.5 or greater. Results of a 2 x 3 (Division x Program type) factorial ANOVA, with alpha adjusted from.05 to.001 by Bonferroni's contrasting procedure, indicated that there were no differences in determined levels of course importance. It was concluded that a graduate curriculum to prepare a collegiate director of athletics should be implemented through the collaborative effort of an interdisciplinary faculty and that the program should culminate with a doctoral degree. Parkhouse (1978, 1979) suggested that an incongruous aspect of athletic administration was the trend of assigning the directorate of million-dollar businesses to individuals with little or no formal professional preparation in athletic administration. The traditional route to administrative responsibility within sport had been through service in the coaching network. According to Mullin (1980), this network flourished in collegiate athletic administration and was acceptable because, in the absence of a written body of knowledge for the science of administration, coaches and directors, through experience and incumbency, were the definitive sources of knowledge. Curricula had been established making sport and athletic management a respected and viable area of study (Mason, Higgins, & Wilkinson, 1981; McGee, 1984; van der Smissen, 1984; Williams & Miller, 1983), but Parkhouse (1984) with Lapin (Parkhouse & Lapin, 1980) and Ulrich (Parkhouse & Ulrich, 1979; Ulrich & Parkhouse, 1979, 1982) raised questions about the appropriateness of Jacquelyn Cuneen is with the School of HPER/SMD at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH

2 16 Cuneen some of that curricula. She challenged the effectiveness of curricula that attempted to prepare athletic administrators through modified physical education preparatory models and called for specialized content. The growth of athletics had created a need for job-related courses designed specifically to prepare individuals for athletic administration. Ulrich and Parkhouse (1982) asked for curriculum that would prepare students more effectively in meeting the job requirements of athletic administration. They suggested that practitioners were a relatively untapped resource who could help establish credibility of curricular content. Clearly, managerial expertise and business acumen have become such essential characteristics for directors of major collegiate athletic programs that the long-standing career path of player to coach to athletic director is no longer sufficient (Berg, 1990; Gleason, 1986; Hager, 1984; Lessig & Alsop, 1990; Parkhouse & Ulrich, 1979; Parks & Quain, 1986; Quain & Parks, 1986). Justification for the written body of knowledge in sport administration was documented by Parks and Olafson (1987) in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Sport Management. They judged that although the traditional functions of managers in sport had remained consistent, the modem preparation of managers had undergone dramatic change. Parkhouse (1987) and others (Brassie, 1989; DeSensi, Kelley, Blanton, & Beitel, 1990; Mullin, 1984) have proposed that sport administration preparatory programs should be multidimensional to meet the needs of the variety of sport occupations and that there should be discrete distinctions between undergraduate and graduate programs. Brassie (1989) and Parkhouse (1987), however, found that many institutions offering curricula in sport management had dual-listed some courses that may be applied toward either undergraduate or graduate credit. Hatfield, Wrenn, and Bretting (1987), after finding differences between the preparatory courses recommended by Division I athletic directors and by professional-sport general managers, recommended a graduate-level specialty track to prepare intercollegiate athletic directors. The directors designated athletic administration, speech communication, public relations, marketing, and business management as important, but the general managers recommended business and sport law, public relations, speech communication, labor relations, and marketing. Hatfield et al. determined that the differences were significant enough to warrant a specificity of curriculum to prepare administrators who would be more effective in their jobs. It was effectiveness of preparation that concerned Hardy (1987). He thought that although undergraduate programs should produce entry-level technicians, graduate curricula should facilitate high levels of quality and productivity in people with capabilities for managing sport organizations. DeSensi et al. (1990) also recommended distinctions be made between undergraduate and graduate programs by providing research opportunities for graduate students. he^ suggested that curricular decisions be made from a theoretical framework that included information from a variety of sources. A theory of preparation based on information gathered from multiple sources was presented by Hay (1986) at the first meeting of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM). He had studied thecriteria for cumcular content established by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, reviewed the literature relative to sport administrative competencies, and examined sample curricula from the literature and from established programs. He then

3 Graduate Preparation for ADS 17 proposed a model, Sports Management Curriculum and Related Strategies, that combined the strengths of sport and physical education curricula with management curricula. Hay's (1986) interdisciplinary model contained two specialized cores representing sport and management. A background core of sport contained courses in exercise physiology, biomechanics, sports facilities, coaching, physical activity research, sport sociology, sport philosophy, sport psychology, sport history, and sport economics. A background core of management contained courses in business enterprise (production, marketing, and finance), the external environments of profitlnon-profit business (economic, political, and legal), accounting, statistics, information systems, personnel, organization, communications, and strategies in uncertain conditions. Hay theorized that curricula could be fortified through interdisciplinary study because this approach would reflect the multitude of academic competencies required for effective sport management. The curriculum was developed with a strong base in business administration, and the cores were sufficiently general to be adaptable to individually prescribed programs of study. Because of the current development and on-going transition of sport management curricula, the present study was designed to develop a graduate specialty-track curriculum for athletic directors based on Hay's model. Subjects This study was designed as a full population survey of athletic directors associated with National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and I1 member institutions. Division 111 directors were not included in the sample design because most directors at those institutions are also department chairs and/or professors of physical education (McFarlane, 1986). Subjects were asked to select graduate courses based on their present job duties, and it was determined that the dual appointment status of Division I11 directors might be reflected in their responses. Within NCAA Division I and 11, there were 569 individuals who were the designated officers of men's, women's, or merged athletic departments according to the men's and women's editions of the National Directory of Collegiate Athletics. A total of 307 completed questionnaires were returned. Table 1 contains the summary of returns by population segments. Instrumentation Graduate catalogs (N=20) were examined to determine the availability and frequency of courses meeting the core criteria outlined in Hay's (1986) model. Course titles and descriptions were analyzed for common content by a panel of graduate faculty members from physical education, sport, and exercise studies (N=5), higher education administration (N=3), business and management (N=3), and intercollegiate athletics (N=3). There were 40 courses selected to represent the core areas of physical educationlsport studies, higher education administration, research/statistics, and businesslmanagement from Hay's model. Course titles and descriptions were copied verbatim from the graduate catalog of a Category I, land grant, doctoral institution. The courses were taken from the listings within the School of Physical Education, the College

4 18 Cuneen Table 1 Summary of Returns from NCAA Divison I and II Directors Population segment Total Returned % of Total Division I merged Division I men's Division I women's Division ll merged Division II men's Divison II women's of Human Resources and Education, and the College of Business and Economics. A composite of course titles and descriptions was prepared that presented the courses under four core headings: A sport/exercise/physical education core () contained 15 courses, a higher education administration core () contained 10 courses, a management core (M) contained 12 courses, and a research/statistics core (RS) contained 3 courses. The course titles and descriptions were inspected and verified by Hay to confirm that they were reflective of his concept. Hay's (1986) original proposal lacked reference to practical experiences. Because these have been suggested as essential for linking theoretical knowledge to practical application (Brassie, 1989; National Association for Sport and Physical Education [NASPE], 1987; Parks & Quain, 1986; Sidwell, 1984; Sutton, 1989; van der Smissen, 1984; Whiddon, 1990), a practicum experience core (P) was added to the composite with Hay's approval. The composite instrument contained an open-ended section labeled practitioner addendum (PA). Subjects were asked to list and describe any courses they believed were crucial to preparation that were not reflected in the specialized cores. Data Analysis Subjects were asked to rate each course according to their perceptions of its appropriateness in preparing students for proficiency in their particular administrative positions. Respondents used a Likert scale with a range of 1 to 5-not important, somewhat important, important, very important, essential. An acceptance criterion of a 3.5 mean was attached to the courses. A mean of 3.5 would reach into the lower real limits of very important; with this criterion, only courses perceived by the directors to be very important or essential would be included in the resulting model. This criterion was attached to keep the curricular model to a workable size. Data were arranged in a 2 x 3 factorial design in order to assess differences in responses as a function of divisional affiliation and merged or separate status. Alpha was set at.05 and adjusted by Bonferroni's contrasting procedure (.001) to avoid Type I error.

5 Graduate Preparation for ADS 19 Results Each course that met the acceptance criterion was rated in the lower real limits of very important or essential by each sample segment (e.g., divisions and status). Table 2 shows the rank order of courses selected by the subjects. Sport/Exercise/Physical Education Core () Four courses met the acceptance criterion from. Each course was administrative in nature and received ratings that placed it in the very important range. The course yielding the highest mean was Sports Marketing. This course was described as one that would explore fundamental marketing principles, relate market concepts to sport organizations, and examine the role of various components of marketing to sport. Management Processes in Physical Education was the next highest rated course from this core and was designed to explore analytically the situational and relational processes between the administrator, the staff, the facility, and the planned learning environment. The course Sports Facilities, designed to explore the planning, evaluation, and management of current and future athletic facilities, was perceived by the subjects as very important, as was Sports Law, which examined critical legal issues in sport and athletics. Table 2 Summary of Means and Standard Deviations for Courses Meeting the Acceptance Criterion (k3.5) Course title M SD Core Personnel management M Practicum experience P College business management Strategic planning M Sports marketing Management processes in P.E ' Managerial control M Decisions under uncertainty M Sports facilities Focal points-management M Focal points-marketing M Sports law Higher education finance Accounting systems M Marketing administration M Organizational theorylanalysis Financial accounting theorylpractice M M=management, P=practicum experience, =highereducation administration, =sportl exercise/physical education.

6 20 Cuneen Higher Education Administration Core () Three courses met the criterion for acceptance. Like those from, the courses were administrative or managerial in nature. The highest mean was obtained by College Business Management. This course, which received the third-highest overall rating, was described as one that would cover budgeting, grants and contracts preparation and administration, formula funding, management information systems, purchasing procedures and practices, and zero-based budgeting. Higher Education Finance was rated very important and was described as addressing the financial concerns in higher education, with emphasis on taxation and legislative actions, sources of income, and cost analysis. The final entry from the core was Organizational Theory and Analysis. This course was described as examining alternative means for the analysis of organizational structures, interrelationships, and functions. Management Core IM) This core area provided the greatest number of courses to the curriculum. The highest mean in the M core was assigned to Personnel Management, which also received the highest mean assigned overall and reached into the lower real limits of essential. This course covered (a) methods and theories of leading and motivating individuals whose work behavior is influenced by technology, and (b) organization and management styles as they affect the individual and work groups. The Strategic Planning course was considered very important and was described as examining a system, creating development strategies, and making resource allocation decisions by drawing information from the organization's internal strengths and weaknesses and by noting trends, opportunities, and risks in the external environment. Managerial Control was also rated as very important; this course aimed to explore the use and significance of quantitative techniques of accounting, statistics, and budgeting for planning and decision making. Business Decision-Making Under Uncertainty provided an analysis of businessrelated problems where certainty does not exist. The course was described as one using actual or realistic data involving business functions and solutions of unique business problems. Five courses from the M core qualified within the lower real limits of very important. Focal Points in Management was presented to the directors as a course designed to study specialized management subjects, personnel interviewing, job descriptions, consulting, and organizational development. Focal Points in Marketing covered such specialized marketing subjects as franchising, packaging, and product development. Accounting Systems involved an analysis of dataprocessing fundamentals and information-systems analysis, design, and implementation. The aim of Marketing Administration was to provide an analysis of the problems met by management in distributing goods and services efficiently to consumers. The final accepted course, both from the M core and overall, was Financial Accounting Theory and Practice. This course was described as a comprehensive examination of financial accounting theory as established by the opinions, statements, and interpretations of professional organizations with special emphasis on application and problem solving.

7 Graduate Preparation for ADS 21 Research/Statistics Core (RS) Although each course in the RS core was rated within somewhat important, those ratings were below the acceptance criterion of a 3.5 mean. Means for each RS course, and for each course with a mean below the criterion, can be found in Table 3. Practicum Experience (P) The intemshiplfield experience/extemship was rated consistently within the lower real limits of essential. This rating was high enough to make the practicum the second most essential course in the curriculum (see Table 2). This course was described to the directors as a comprehensive and extended practical experience with assignment in an intercollegiate department of athletics. Table 3 Summary of Means and Standard Deviations for Courses Not Meeting the Acceptance Criterion (M=3.5) Course title M SD Core Higher education administration, organization, and governance Consumer behavior Institutional research/planning Theories of coaching Issues in higher education Auditing/professionaI accounting standards Higher education law Group influences in sport and physical activity Psychology of sport and physical activity Politics of education Higher education collective barganing Governmental and nonprofit accounting American higher education Research methodology Statistical methodology History of sport and physical activity Program planning for recreational sport Theories of sport psychology Individual interaction in sport and physical activity Design of experiments Biomechanical analysis of sport and physical activity Operant principles in physical education Curriculum in physical education Motor development M M M RS RS RS =higher education administration, M=management, =sport~exercise/physicaf education, RS=research/statistics.

8 A 2 x 3 (Divisional affiliation: NCAA I or I1 x Programmatic status: men's, women's, or merged) ANOVA revealed no main effects or interaction effects (p.001). Therefore, the graduate curricula with a 3.5 acceptance criterion significantly represented the responses from directors who were the chief athletic officers of all types of NCAA Division I and I1 programs. Discussion The need for interdisciplinary specialty study a (1990), Parkhouse (1987), Hay (1986), and van der in the present study. No single academic unit o university could satisfy the requirements as defined b met the acceptance criterion from each core except RS. such as this would require the collaborative effort of from the,, and M areas. Whiddon (1990) p study in colleges of business and departments of sport and exercise science was a vehicle by which to unite business-related responsibilities with the multiple facets of sport programs. The curriculum obtained in this study reflects that concept and goes further by introducing higher education administration courses for specialty tracks in athletic direction. Many studies have suggested that athletic directors need business acumen and intricate management skills (Gleason, 1986; Hager, 1984; Hay, 1986; Lessig & Alsop, 1990; McGee, 1984; Mullin, 1980, 1984; Parkhouse, 1984, 1987; Parkhouse & Ulrich, 1979; Ulrich & Parkhouse, 1979). This was also supported by the present results. All 17 courses that qualified for the curriculum reflected management andlor business bases (see Table 2). The importance assigned to the marketing courses also indicated the commercial nature of intercollegiate sport, as had been suggested by McGee (1984), Hager (1984), Hatfield et al. (1987), Hay (1986), Mullin (1980), and Lessig and Alsop (1990). Even though business and commercialism seemed prominent in the subjects' perceptions of important coursework, three of the highest means were assigned to managerial type courses from within the core, which indicates that Hatfield et al, (1987) were on target when they found that competence in educational administration was important to those assuming athletic leadership roles within educational settings. That practical experiences should be included in the preparation of a collegiate athletic director was also demonstrated in this study. The internship1 field experiencelexternship received a rating that made it the second most essential course in the curriculum. This would strengthen the positions of Brassie (1989), DeSensi et al. (1990), NASPE (1987), Parks and Quain (1986), Sidwell (1984), Sutton (1989), van der Smissen (1984), and Whiddon (1990). Apparently,

9 Graduate Preparation for ADS 23 those in the actual practice of athletic direction agree that an extended, supervised experience within an intercollegiate department is an integral part of graduate education. There was a lack of differences as a function of divisional affiliation. It had been generally accepted that Division I1 institutions, as compared to Division I institutions, maintain competitive but smaller athletic programs that are more broadly based in student participation. Division I1 programs operate on a different financial aid base and sponsor programs that are smaller in total number of sports ("Defending the Bastions," 1989). Yet the responding Division I1 directors did not differ significantly from Division I directors in their perceptions of,, M, RS, or P coursework. Analysis of data by divisional segment showed strong agreement between respondents with no variability (R, s2, or SD) that approached significance. That same strong agreement emerged with the lack of substantive variance between the responses of men's, women's or merged program directors. As a result of Title IX, women's athletic programs are complex enterprises (Sidwell & Kane, 1990). This was underscored when the women's program directors assigned ratings analogous to those assigned by directors of men's and merged departments. The majority of respondents did not add courses to the graduate curriculum. Less than one fifth of the responding directors added courses that were absent from the original 41 listed on the instrument. Although this suggests that an adequate course listing was presented originally, cumcula obtained from studies such as the present one should serve only as guidelines, not as templates. Parks and Quain (1986) warned that to rely solely on practitioners' opinions in curriculum construction was ill-advised. They proposed that subjects may respond to curricular questions as a reflection of their professional roles as well as their educational backgrounds. For instance, sport administrators may not suggest that computer expertise be reflected in curricula because their roles at a given agency or organization may not involve the use of computers and therefore they may never have completed a course in computer usage. Educators have the responsibility of preparing students for the future, and portions of curricula should reflect those competencies that have been judged by educators to be essential for future professionals (Parks & Quain, 1986). Likewise, if educators perceive that courses in history, philosophy, or theory of administration, education, or sport should be reflected in the academic preparation of an intercollegiate athletic director, they are obliged by virtue of their professional insight to include those courses in individual preparation programs. Recommendations Zeigler and Paton (1967) expressed early on the need for differentiation between programs of study leading to baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degrees in sport and athletic administration. The intent of this research was to obtain a graduate curriculum for NCAA Division I and I1 athletic directors; therefore, consideration must be given to the academic degree that would result from the implementation of this curriculum. In this survey, no restrictions were placed on the directors that would have interfered with their judgment in identifying important course work. The acceptance criterion of a mean of 3.5 was a control installed without the

10 24 Cuneen knowledge of the responding directors. It was assumed that the directors would rate courses according to their perceptions of each course's singular importance, not according to which of the 41 courses were the most crucial. Responding directors determined that 17 courses were very important or essential, which would require 51 credit hours of study (considering that each course would likely warrant the standard 3 credit hours awarded for courses of these types according to the 20 catalogs examined during instrument construction). These 51 hours would exceed the 30 to 35 hours of study traditionally required for master's degree programs. Because the courses listed in Table 2 have been identified as very important or essential, it is recommended that the entire 51- hour curriculum be completed. Such a curriculum would likely bring students to the point at which the completion of research and statistics courses and the writing of a dissertation would be the only remaining requirements for a doctoral degree. Although directors of athletics have not traditionally held doctorates, demographic data collected in this study indicated that nearly one third (30%) of the Division I and II athletic directors held earned doctorates, making the terminal degree second only to the master's (58%) in frequency. This finding supports Parks and Zanger's (1990) contention that the doctorate is becoming a prerequisite for those wanting to obtain positions within colleges and universities. Additionally, Lessig and Alsop (1990) offered the rationale that many university administrators believe the doctorate to be essential in enabling directors to relate to faculty and other academic departments. In fact, when Hatfield et al. (1987) found a greater than expected frequency of athletic directors who had studied to the doctoral level, they concluded that the degrees were reflective of the directors' roles as administrators within academic communities. The curriculum obtained from this study would lend itself easily to doctoral study. The curriculum would include 5 1 hours of specialty content as presented in Table 2 (27 hours in management, 21 hours in sport and higher education administration, and 3 hours of practicum). Research and statistics courses would include those rated by the respondents as somewhat important (see Table 3; 9 hours in RS) and additional hours determined through individual advisement based on the experiential knowledge of the curriculum planner. Finally, an appropriate dissertation (variable hours) would complete the program. Hatfield et al. (1987) thought that the functional significance of the doctorate was its ability to increase the integration of athletic departments with the academic mainstream. This integration of athletics and academe was addressed by Brubacher and Rudy (1976) in their history of the development of American higher education. They stated that the role of the athletic director, as a central executive authority under the direct regulation of the institution, was to integrate a highly visible side of student life with the actual instructional services of higher education. As more directors obtain the doctoral degree, the integration may be facilitated as suggested by Lessig and Alsop (1990) and Hatfield et al. (1987). A director prepared through a curriculum such as the one obtained in this study will be prepared to complete that integration with the type of business, management, and higher education administration competencies that will benefit the missions of both the athletic department and the institution.

11 Graduate Preparation for ADS 25 References Berg, R. (1990, November). The roads less traveled. Athletic Business, pp Brassie, S. (1989). A student buyer's guide to sport management programs. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 60(1 l), Brubacher, J., & Rudy, W. (1976). Higher education in transition. New York: Harper and Row. Defending the bastions of amateurism. (1989, December). Athletic Business, p. 25. DeSensi, J., Kelley, D., Blanton, M., & Beitel, P. (1990). Sport management curricular evaluation and needs assessment: A multifaceted approach. Journal of Sport Management, 4, Gleason, T. (1986, February). Sports administration degrees: Growing to fill a need/supply overwhelms demand. Athletic Administration, pp Hager, S. (1984). Cumcular questions confronting sport management: A summary. In B.K. Zanger & J.B. Parks (Eds.), Sport management curricula: The business and education nexus (pp ). Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University. Hardy, S. (1987). Graduate curriculums in sport management: The need for a business orientation. Quest, 39, Hatfield, B., Wrenn, J., & Bretting, M. (1987). Comparison of job responsibilities of intercollegiate athletic directors and professional sport general managers. Jour-nal of Sport Management, 1, Hay, R. (1986, June). A proposed sports management curriculum and related strategies. Paper presented at the meeting of the North American Society for Sport Management, Kent, OH. Lessig, J., & Alsop, W. (1990). Intercollegiate athletics and professional sport. In J.B. Parks & B.R.K. Zanger (Eds.), Sport and fitness management career strategies and professional content (pp ). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Mason, J., Higgins, C., & Wilkinson, 0. (1981). Sports administration education 15 years later. Athletic Purchasing and Facilities, 5, McFarlane, E. (1986). Tenure considerations for individuals in full time teaching faculty positions with dual responsibilities in intercollegiate athletics. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, West Virginia University, Morgantown. McGee, M. (1984, February). Management approach: Training athletic educators. Athletic Administration, pp Mullin, B. (1980). Sport management: The nature and utility of the concept. Journal of Sport and Social Issues: Arena Review, 4(3), Mullin, B. (1984).'Cuniculum: Graduate. In B.K. Zanger & J.B. Parks (Eds.), Sport management curricula: The business and education nexus (pp ). Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University. National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (1987, February). Guidelines for undergraduate and graduate programs in sport management (Membership Report). Reston, VA: Author National directory of collegiate athletics (men's edition). (1988). Amarillo, TX: Ray Franks Publishing Ranch National directory of collegiate athletics (women's edition). (1988). Amarillo, TX: Ray Franks Publishing Ranch. Parkhouse, B. (1978). Professional preparation in athletic administration and sport management: Graduate programs in the United States. Journal of Physical Education and Recreation, 49,

12 Sutton, W. (1989). The role of internships in sport management curricula-a model for development. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 60(7), Ulrich, D., & Parkhouse, B. (1979). The application of motivation theory in management to the sport arena. Quest, 31, Ulrich, D., & Parkhouse, B. (1982). An alumni orientated approach to sport management curriculum design using performance ratings and a regression model. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 53, van der Smissen, B. (1984). A process for success: Sport management curricula-an idea whose time has come! In B.K. Zanger & J.B. Parks (Eds.), Sport management curricula: The business and education nexus (pp. 5-18). Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University. Whiddon, S. (1990). Graduate dual preparation programs in business and sport management. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 61(3), Williams, J., & Miller, D. (1983). Intercollegiate athletic administration: Preparation patterns. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 54, Zeigler, E., & Paton, G. (1967). Administrative theory as a basis for practice in intercollegiate athletics. Proceedings of the 70th Annual Convention of the National College Physical Education Association for Men ( ). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

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