Teaching During a Pandemic: Tips And Tricks

By Ashley Ryder (Doctoral Candidate), Shea Brgoch (Doctoral Candidate), Evan Davis (Doctoral Candidate), and Derek Walton (Doctoral Student). All authors are from The Ohio State University Sport Management Program. Any questions can be directed toward Ashley Ryder on Twitter @AshleyNRyder

Teaching is a challenge. Teaching effectively is an art. Teaching during COVID-19 is… interesting, and we are all learning on the fly. Dealing with the loss of routine, a shift to online learning, and larger workloads has been tricky not only for us, but for students as well (Akyildiz, 2020). As instructors, we must empathize with students and help them succeed withinside the classroom. One way to help students is to make classrooms more inviting by utilizing online resources.

In the era of COVID-19, online learning has become the norm. Instructors can use online resources to promote student learning and engagement and help reduce stress. Whether teaching in-person, a mixture of in-person and online, or completely and especially online, there are several tools and strategies that can be implemented in your classroom to assist with student learning. We discuss some of them below. 

Learning Management System

One common online resource that is overlooked and underutilized is the learning management system (LMS). Faculty should embrace the movement towards maximizing their use of communication through online software and technology such as Canvas by Infrastructure or Blackboard, to ensure consistency and ease of access. This can be as simple as using an LMS’s “homepage” as the focal point of communication that serves as a one-stop shop for accessing course information for a given week, for example, including a to-do list (see the images below). Individuals are spending increased time on smartphones and future trends are leaning towards mobile devices to guide learning (Docebo, 2018).  Utilizing LMS platforms is advantageous because they are mobile accessible and allow students to quickly check course information without wireless internetat their own convenience (Bouchrika, 2020). 

Additional Online Learning Tools

Beyond the provided LMS system from your university, Padlet is an interactive digital board that can be accessed by instructors and students. Its features include the ability to post images, links, videos, and documents. All responses can be anonymous or require a name. Additional features include likes, comments, and thumbs up/down.  

Another digital tool option is Nearpod, a digital platform that allows instructors, in-person or virtual, to make their presentations interactive by incorporating features such as quizzes, polls, videos, and collaborate boards. The software is web-based and contains two modes: live mode (compatible with Zoom) or self-paced mode.  

Document Sharing

A discussion technique facilitated through the rotation of stations with guiding statements or questions with a collective dialogue to follow

Gallery Walk

With the shift to virtual learning, many discussion-based activities that are traditionally used in in-person classes can be modified for the online environment. For example, a gallery walk (i.e., discussion technique facilitated through the rotation of stations with guiding statements or questions with a collective dialogue to follow) or jigsaw (i.e., team-based; each member becomes a subject matter expert in one of 4 areas selected from current course material and teaches it to others) can be done by directing students to complete their sections in OneNote or a Google Doc (Serc, 2018; Van Amburgh et al., 2007).

Time Management

Outside of online resources, it is important to be empathetic and flexible with students as they learn to manage their time better. For example, allowing students to select their own assignment due dates and/or extending assignment due dates can give students greater flexibility in managing their overall course workload. Another way to help students is to check-in with them and inquire about their wellbeing throughout the semester. These check-ins can help identify areas students are struggling with, so they may be provided with the necessary support to adjust and adapt as needed.  

At the end of the day, nothing in COVID-19 is easy. Instructors and students are learning on the go and trying their best to simulate an in-person learning environment in a virtual world. During these challenging times, online resources can provide flexibility, and help ease the burden of teaching and learning in the COVID-19 environment.  

References

Akyildiz, S. T. (2020) College students’ views on the pandemic distance education: A focus group discussion. International Journal of Technology in Education and Science, 4(4), 322-334.

Bouchrika, I. (2020). List of learning management systems for schools and universities. Retrieved from https://www.guide2research.com/research/list-of-learning-management-systems-for-schools-and-universities

Docebo. (2018). E-Learning Trends 2019. Retrieved from 

https://kometa.edu.pl/uploads/publication/634/550a_A_Docebo-E-Learning-Trends-2019.pdf?v2.8.

Serc. (2018). What is gallery walk? Retrieved from https://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/what.html

Van Amburgh, J.A.V., Devlin, J.W., Kirwin, J.L., & Qualters, D.M., (2007). A tool for measuring active learning in the classroom. American Journal of Pharmaceutical  Education, 71(5), 1–8.


An Administrative Lens for the Modern Sport Leader

Craig P. DeAngelis, Ed.D., C.S.C.S. is a faculty member at Manhattanville College. He has an academic focus on organizational behavior and leadership. Please feel free to reach out to him via email at craigdeangelis@yahoo.com.

An interesting shift has taken place on the bottom “scroll” of cable sports networks. Scores and brief stat lines are still a fixture, but new content has been added. Information about leagues and players referencing politics or other social happenings are now present along with competition results. For example, during one week, there was a scroll topic related to the head coach of the Minnesota Lynx and one of her players calling on the NCAA to take action in response to legislative measures that they feel is restrictive for transgender athletes (Barnes, 2021). Another scroll topic was about Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia. This move emulated the National Basketball Association’s decision to move their All-Star Game out of North Carolina in 2016 due to legislative action (Anderson, Fatsis, & Levin, 2021).

As fans process this new scroll content, they have the opportunity to form opinions based on personal beliefs. However, sport practitioners are not able to participate in the same individualistic thinking. People who are active in sports must be able to differentiate between their personal feelings and professional stance. Perhaps no group is more heavily impacted by this phenomenon than Athletic Administrators. These decision-makers are responsible for making timely decisions that are representative of their respective stakeholder groups. Undoubtedly, this is a daunting task. 

Recently, Southeastern Conference (SEC) Commissioner Greg Sankey reflected on a whirlwind of hypotheticals associated with the 2020 season, and in regards to the 2021 season stated “We will be prepared to play the season as scheduled and I can pivot off that approach” (Wilson, 2021). The “we” in his statement is not accidental, as he is speaking on behalf of the SEC. The “I” in his statement is in relation to how he will respond professionally but is not necessarily indicative of his personal beliefs.  

At no point in modern history have the minds of sport practitioners been so strenuously conflicted. Societal issues have burst through the sport-life divide in a way that has demanded the keen attention of all Athletic Administrators. While the most pressing matters have been championed by politicians and proclaimed in the media, this has not aided sport-based decision-makers. The determination of how to best balance personal enthusiasms with professional obligation remains largely unchecked.

Contrary to daily itineraries, Athletic Administrators do have “life” beyond sport. The availability to pursue personal passions away from the job are somewhat limited, but it is of the utmost importance for practitioners to foster personal passions and hone individual beliefs. Sport leadership is taxing and requires dynamic individuals to operate at peak performance. It is true that long work hours are coupled with expectations for winning, revenue generation, media scrutiny, and unsettled fan bases (Hancock, Balkin, Reiner, Williams, Hunter, Powell, & Juhnke, 2019; Daughters, 2013). But, no Athletic Administrator, regardless of trait composition, can truly perform at their best if the whole person is not addressed.

This is a point of tension in the modern climate. In their personal life, Athletic Administrators have been forced to wrestle with matters that elicit feelings of intense fervor. Their stance on current circumstances must be explored while potential steps of action are keenly considered. Simultaneously, in their professional life, a massive overhaul of typical function has been mandatory. Typically, added time spent on the job would alleviate this tension (Hancock, et al., 2019) However, current circumstances cannot be eased with additional on-the-job efforts. Therefore, on both fronts, there is no available timetable for completion. Consequently, the only clear path forward must be blazed by, a likely conflicted, Administrator.

The personality and stylistic leadership qualities of appointed Athletic Administrators inevitably mark organizational function. Athletic Leaders tend to be admired and extolled for their uncanny ability to motivate people and cause positive change (Powers, Judge, Makela, McKenna, & Voight, 2016). In some spaces, the “finger prints” of leadership are an asset, while in others they are a detriment. Regardless of outcome, Athletic Administrators must be cognizant of their overarching influence. As such, Administrative practitioners must be able to isolate personal preferences in contrast to organizational duty. A key challenge for Administrators is to balance decisions and satisfaction rewards (Hancock, et al., 2019). The sport-setting carries unique demands and should not be leveraged by leadership for personal gain. In the same vein, the Administrator must accurately determine the most appropriate steps independent of personal passions.

Mounting societal issues weigh heavily on Athletic Administrators. History would suggest that the incorporation of sport as a part of the solution is appropriate. Due to an increase of interaction between athletic departments and community organizations, research confirms there to be positive local outcomes (Svensson, Huml, & Hancock, 2014).  However, current cultural issues are not as easily discernable as the topics of yesteryear. Some matters may be close to the heart, but the Athletic Department as a whole might be unable to support large-scale change. The personal beliefs of the Athletic Administrator might not be shared in corporate magnitude. This may leave the Athletic Administrator feeling compromised as they sense that something should be done, also knowing that in the guise of the organization it may not be representative of best practice. 

There is a wise old Proverb that states “as a person thinks, so they are…”. It is in the cognitive, not the emotive where the Athletic Administrator must consider their actions. Internal tension can be alleviated if practical processing is accomplished. In order to do so, a perceptive filter is required. Using the context of their specific sport setting, matters should be classified in four distinct areas. These areas are defined as:

Capacity – the actual ability of an Athletic Department to realize a benchmark. Competency – the actual ability of the stakeholders involved in the Athletic Department.
Community – the impactful characteristics and expectations of the local area setting.
Competition – the demonstrated quality and/or outcomes of Athletic participation.

This classification system aids the Administrator in achieving operational success. As issues arise that ignite personal passion through individual held beliefs, the Athletic Administrator can rely on this structure for immediate lucidity. By categorizing where an issue applies, clarity can be gained on how it is best addressed. In applying this type of thinking the Athletic Administrator is forced to be intentional and true to their beliefs, regardless of organizational outcome. However, the cycle does not end here. Initial classification must be progressively aided by:

Diagnosis – identifying areas of needed improvement.
&
Development – making improvements on areas of needed improvement

Not all societal inquiries are equal. For some, action will be warranted within the Athletic Department and for others simple acknowledgement will suffice. It is vital for Athletic Administrators to carefully consider their actions despite the often-insurmountable external pressure. Modern culture has made a clear plea for change. Change should be embraced as a positive step for all sport-settings. However, Athletic Administrators cannot be held captive by events, social media trends, and narratives. Instead, to assure equitable movement at a meaningful pace, there must be a separation between personal desire and sport-organization needs. While the former might influence the latter, it can only be sustained with coordinated rationale and an eye on sustainable growth.

References
Anderson, J., Fatsis, S., & Levin, J. (April 7, 2021). Why Major League Baseball is Boycotting Georgia. Retrieved on April 10, 2021 from http://www.slate.com, https://slate.com/culture/2021/04/mlb-all-star-game-moved-atlanta-georgia-voting-law-sb202.html

Barnes, K. (April 9, 2021). Cheryl Reeve, Napheesa Collier of Minnesota Lynx call on NCAA to take action for transgender athletes. Retrieved on April 10, 2021 from http://www.espn.com, https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31222466/cheryl-reeve-napheesa-collier-minnesota-lynx-call-ncaa-take-action-transgender-athletes

Hancock, M. G., Balkin, R. S., Reiner, S. M., Williams, S., Hunter, Q., Powell, B., & Juhnke, G. A. (2019). Life balance and work addiction among NCAA administrators and coaches. Career Development Quarterly, 67(3), 264–270. https://doi.org/10.1002/cdq.12195

Powers, S., Judge, L. W., Makela, C., McKenna, J., & Voight, M. (2016). An investigation of destructive leadership in a Division I intercollegiate athletic department: Follower perceptions and reactions. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 11(3), 297–311.

Svensson, P. G., Huml, M. R., & Hancock, M. G. (2014). Exploring intercollegiate athletic department-community partnerships through the lens of community service Organizations. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 18(4), 97–128.

Wilson, M. (March 1, 2021). SEC preparing to play 2021 football season as scheduled, commissioner Greg Sankey says. Retrieved on April 10, 2021 from http://www.azcentral.com, https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/college/university-of-tennessee/mens-basketball/2021/03/01/sec-football-season-schedule-2021-greg-sankey/6870079002/

Has sport had its #MeToo moment? Women’s experiences of sexism and sexual harassment in the sport industry

By: Lauren Hindman lhindman@umass.edu | @laurenhindman

Lauren is a doctoral candidate at the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst, where she studies gender and other diversity-related topics in sport organizations. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., she spent nine seasons working in professional sports.

Following both the January 2021 firing of New York Mets general manager Jared Porter over sexually explicit text messages he sent to a woman reporter and the July 2020 reporting of the sexism and sexual harassment experienced by women working with the Washington Football Team, women working in sport organizations took to social media to share their own stories. Moments such as this highlight how common sexism and harassment are for women in the industry, yet their stories quickly fade to the background until the next big scoop arrives, exposing a singular sport organization and attributing the problem to internal issues of organizational culture and leadership (see also: The Dallas Mavericks circa 2018). 

The issue of sexism in and around the sport industry is widespread—“commonly overt yet simultaneously unnoticed,” as Dr. Janet Fink said in her acceptance address for Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award at the 2015 NASSM conference (Fink, 2016, p. 2). Recent research in sport management reveals how women managers, athletes, coaches, journalists, and educators experience sexism and harassment. Some highlights from these studies include: 

Administration: Women sport managers working for men’s professional sport organizations face both intellectual diminishment and physical objectification, causing emotional and professional consequences. Women adopt several strategies, such a minimization and reframing of their experiences, in order to continue working in the industry (Hindman & Walker, 2020).

Athletes: An analysis of media coverage and academic literature demonstrated how these sources subject women athletes in the United States to gendered microaggressions, a subtle form of bias, through assuming that they are inferior to men, objectifying their bodies, and restricting them to certain roles based on their gender (Kaskan & Ho, 2016). Another study deemed media coverage of women’s sports “gender-bland” sexism, avoiding overt sexism while still presenting women’s sports as “lackluster” compared to men’s (Musto et al., 2017).

Coaches: A recent study found that women swimming coaches in the NCAA face sexism that limits their career mobility, creates job dissatisfaction, and contributes to women’s underrepresentation by pushing them to leave the field (Siegele et al., 2020). In addition, research reveals how women of color coaches must navigate multiple barriers created by the intersectional issues of racism and sexism (Carter-Francique & Olushola, 2016).

Journalists:  Research has shown that sexist views lead people to judge women sport journalists as less credible (Mudrick et al., 2017). Meanwhile, women journalists are pressured by their employers to wear revealing clothing to appeal to male audiences, but then face “slut-shaming” for dressing too provocatively (Harrison, 2019).

Academics: Women faculty members in sport management programs too report sexism and sexual harassment from both men and women colleagues, ranging from subtle discrimination to hostile harassment (Taylor et al., 2018). Women faculty members also experience “contrapower” harassment (harassment from individuals in positions of less power), facing comments about their appearance and assumptions that they don’t know anything about sports (Taylor et al., 2017).

Studies such as these and others demonstrate the wide-reaching effects of sexism and sexual harassment across sport. Industry leaders should be proactive in addressing this issue, as our recent Journal of Sport Management study revealed that women often do not report sexism to supervisors or human resources personnel (Hindman & Walker, 2020). Instead, leaders should be cognizant of watching for such issues and focus on promoting inclusive organizational cultures, rather that simply striving to increase gender diversity and waiting to respond when crises emerge. While women in our study reframed their experiences with sexism as a demonstration of their personal strength, they also reported leaving jobs—and considering leaving the industry—due to sexism. In order for the sport industry to achieve sustained gender diversity, then, leaders must confront the need to eliminate sexism and sexual harassment from their organizations.

References/Further Reading:

Carter-Francique, A. R., & Olushola, J. (2016). Women coaches of color: Examining the effects of intersectionality. In Women in sports coaching (pp. 81-94). Routledge.

Fink, J. S. (2016). Hiding in plain sight: The embedded nature of sexism in sport. Journal of Sport Management30(1), 1-7.

Harrison, G. (2019). “We want to see you sex it up and be slutty:” post-feminism and sports media’s appearance double standard. Critical Studies in Media Communication36(2), 140-155.

Hindman, L. C., & Walker, N. A. (2020). Sexism in professional sports: How women managers experience and survive sport organizational culture. Journal of Sport Management34(1), 64-76.

Kaskan, E. R., & Ho, I. K. (2016). Microaggressions and female athletes. Sex Roles74(7-8), 275-287.

Mudrick, M., Burton, L., & Lin, C. A. (2017). Pervasively offside: An examination of sexism, stereotypes, and sportscaster credibility. Communication & Sport5(6), 669-688.

Musto, M., Cooky, C., & Messner, M. A. (2017). “From Fizzle to Sizzle!” Televised sports news and the production of gender-bland sexism. Gender & Society31(5), 573-596.

Siegele, J. L., Hardin, R., Taylor, E. A., & Smith, A. B. (2020). ” She is the Best Female Coach”: NCAA Division I Swimming Coaches’ Experiences of Sexism. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport13(1).

Taylor, E. A., Smith, A. B., Rode, C. R., & Hardin, R. (2017). Women don’t know anything about sports: Contrapower harassment in the sport management classroom. Sport management education journal11(2), 61-71.

Taylor, E. A., Smith, A. B., Welch, N. M., & Hardin, R. (2018). “You should be flattered!”: Female sport management faculty experiences of sexual harassment and sexism. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal26(1), 43-53.

Sticking Together as We Move Forward

Ehren R. GreenLinkedIN

A smiling person with long hair

Description automatically generated with low confidence
Ehren is a second-year doctoral student at the University of Louisville. Before returning to school for her PhD, Ehren worked in intercollegiate athletics for ten years as well as in training and development in both the private and public sector. 

The challenges of Covid-19 have pushed us out of our personal and professional comfort zones. We have learned a lot about ourselves and about others during this time. As we enter 2021, we face the challenge of helping lead our industry through the transition – from the way things were, to the way things are, and to who we want to be moving forward. To be successful in this transition, a continued investment in ourselves and in each other is necessary. We can no longer just be experts in our field, but need to invest in ourselves, as people leaders, to build productive and healthy teams. 

In the sports industry we rely on other people, from faculty members collaborating on research projects to practitioners working together to make sure a game happens. However, how do we ensure we are effective team members? As contrary as it sounds, it starts with self-understanding. We must be grounded in who we are and understand what we bring to the team. There are numerous self-assessments and personality profiles available, including CliftonStrengths, DiSC, and Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to name a few. While there are differences in the assessments, what each of them brings is a level of self-awareness for individuals and an understanding of differences in others. As a certified MBTI practitioner, I’ve learned a lot about myself through the MBTI. For example, I know that I innately need to see the big picture in projects (this is identified as the intuition preference for MBTI). I also recognize that others see projects as steps in a sequential order (this is the sensing preference in the MBTI). This difference can be a major source of conflict when not understood. Team members can talk around each other, not understanding what the other is explaining, leading to frustration and a negative emotional response. However, when teams know each other’s preferences it becomes shared language and a strategy for utilizing each other’s strengths. By using a tool like the MBTI we can gain self-awareness and create a unified understanding of others as a first step in creating successful teams. 

Considering most events in the sport industry occur under high stress, it’s important that we recognize the role of emotions, both in ourselves, and in our interactions with others. Emotional intelligence is an important skill required for productive teamwork. Defined as, “the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (Salovey & Mayer, 1990, p. 189), emotional intelligence recognizes the behavioral element of human interactions and the role emotions play in those interactions. Goleman and Boyatzis (2017) developed an emotional and social intelligence leadership competency model that identifies four domains of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The table below defines each domain and lists strategies to develop competencies in each. 

EI DomainDefinitionStrategy
Self-awareness“Here is what is going on”Tune into your senses
Recognize your triggers
Get feedback
Self-management“This is what I need to do”Count to ten
Pause before you respond
Social awareness“Accurately recognizing other’s emotions”Practice empathy
Be present
Relationship management“Utilizing my awareness to build relationships”Have the tough conversations
Acknowledge individual strengths

One of the simplest and most effective emotional intelligence strategies is the power of pausing before responding. Pausing engages our thinking brain, forcing us to respond consciously rather than emotionally. Additionally, pausing increases your ability to recognize your triggers and your emotional responses to those triggers. To build effective teams, we must acknowledge the role of emotions in our environments.  

As an industry we will continue to face new challenges in 2021, but one constant will be the need for effective teamwork. Self-understanding (e.g., MBTI, etc.) and emotional intelligence can guide our industry as we continue to build effective teams. 

References: 
Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R.E. (2017, February 6). Emotional intelligence has 12 elements. Which do you need to work on? Harvard Business Review, 2-5
Salovey, P., & Mayer, J.D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9, 185-211.

Together, Apart or Somewhere in Between: Considerations for Managing Para Sport

By Darda Sales. The author is currently a PhD candidate at Western University in London, Ontario.

As a four-time Paralympian, coach, and PhD candidate, I have heard the statement ‘Sport is sport’ numerous times and I agree that the goals of sport are consistent for able-bodied and para athletes: enjoyment, competition, pushing oneself to be the best one can be at their chosen activity. However, to ensure sport and physical activity meets its intended outcomes and is beneficial to all participants, sport managers working in para sport need to be aware of the discussion surrounding segregation and integration.

Segregated Para Sport Opportunities:

Segregated sporting opportunities allow para athletes to be themselves without the impact of ableist views weighing in on them. In my experience, segregation provides opportunities to be with only those with similar experiences, and these segregated environments allow para athletes to build their self-confidence and skills in an environment set up to meet their particular needs. It helps them connect with others who share similar background experiences. It also allows para athletes to make mistakes, to stumble and fail in an accepting environment, with less concern of judgement or scrutiny. Intended or not, a lot of pressure can be placed on para athletes if they feel that they are being expected to live up to the same standards as able-bodied athletes (Wolbring, 2012). A segregated environment can relieve that pressure and allow para athletes to develop their own skills, at their own pace, and in their own way.

Integrated Para Sport Opportunities:

Alternatively, integration is the intermixing of para and able-bodied athletes (Howe, 2007).  In Canada, para sport has seen an increase in training and competitive opportunities when sports such as swimming and athletics began to be integrated in the 1990s. Integration allows for increased access to educated coaches and well-equipped facilities. It allows para athletes to challenge themselves alongside other athletes who are chasing similar goals and dreams, whether those other athletes have impairments or not.

Note of Caution: simply allowing para athletes into your program is not true integration (Berry, 1996). Thought and consideration needs to be given to include para athletes in a meaningful way into programs offered. Having a para athlete in a program continually struggling to keep up with their non-impaired counterparts or fitting into a prescribed program or sitting on the sidelines is not true integration (Berry, 1996).

The integration of para athletes needs to receive consideration and thought as to what works best for the functional level of the para athlete, where they are now, where they have the potential to get to, and a set plan on how to help them reach their full potential. Swimming Canada is an example of an organization that continues to put time, effort and resources into improving the integration of para athletes within their programming.

A Hybrid Approach:

A fitness center with both a general and a women’s only workout room is a comparable idea to the optimal training environment for para athletes.  The women’s only room allows women to exercise in a segregated environment with others with similar experiences.  Women’s only rooms tend to have smaller equipment to fit the smaller size of some women, and provides them with a comfortable, judgement-free environment. The general room, in which people of all shapes, sizes, genders, and experiences exercise, tends to have heavier weights and more equipment. Women are welcome to train in whichever environment works best for their personal comfort and training needs. Sporting opportunities for para athletes need to take on a similar thought process as not one environment, segregated or integrated, will always be the best fit for all para athletes.

Having experienced both segregated and integrated training and competition opportunities as a para athlete, I fully believe that there is a time and place for both environments. If sport managers recognize and accommodate this need, it can result in long term para athlete engagement and success within their programs.

Eliminating Organizational Sport Checks and Balances to Promote Societal Change

35433484-D1D5-4FB3-909A-0C2473A8837A

By Barry Person, Jr.

The current demand for civil and social justice has never been higher nor more justified. One of the driving forces behind the active and hopefully push towards societal change is sport. Athletes of all genders, sexual orientations, performance levels, and sports continue to speak out regarding the need for reform, joining them in these efforts are many sporting organizations as well. However, what is missing from these calls for justice is the fact that until we see these changes within sporting organizations, society itself will continue to lag behind. For sport is the ultimate microcosm of society and much of how we here in North America function is driven by what we see in sport. Cooper, Macaulay, and Rodriguez (2019) supported this claim stating that the institution of sport does not operate in isolation from broader society. Instead sport serves as a site where societal inequities such as racism, sexism, economic stratification, and other forms of oppression are reproduced, exacerbated, and/or ignored (Cooper, Macaulay, & Rodriguez, 2019). While sport itself is not geared to be systematically racist, the consistent organizational practices and regulations (checks and balances) uphold various restrictions to equality. This essay will take a look at the recent attention given to Mike Gundy, the Rooney Rule, and NASCAR, to highlight how to really change society we must first change sport itself.

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy has taken on some heat lately for being caught in a photo wearing an OAN network t-shirt. Almost immediately upon being discovered, Oklahoma State star running back Chuba Hubbard spoke out against the image. Now, it has come to light the potential use of the N word by Gundy during a football game back in 1989. While Gundy remains on his image restoration path, he also still holds his job and support of his athletic administration and football team. While Gundy states his regrets and vows to provide positive change, the real message is being missed. The fact at any point that a leader of a diverse sporting organization would feel comfortable to use such language and/or wear such potentially offensive attire is the true issue. Let us not forget back in 2007, Mike Gundy is the same coach who went on a tirade during a press conference ripping the media for writing articles which attacked his players. Worth noting is that his response was driven by the attention drawn to the article by a parent of one of the football athletes. Also, worth noting is that within that press conference Gundy demands that if the media were to come after anyone, they should come after him because he is a man and that such articles are what’s wrong with society today. Funny how the tide has turned as Gundy now has to call upon the same players he once stood up for, in order to be saved from the very things he demanded be turned his way. Now that the tables have turned, why is the true manly thing to do (stepping down) not being put on the table by Gundy himself, or his administration? Many will state because of the money pulled in by the football program, but in reality, it is the structure of the sporting system. The checks and balances of sport strongly support the blind following of fault and regret of coaches by star athletes who seldom look like their coach, given that ultimately it is the coach who holds the power. Instead of battling and sustaining power within the coaching athlete relationship, why not just key in on doing what is right or should we say the manly/womanly thing to do (take accountability and remove yourself).

Continuing on with coaching and football one cannot ignore the recent amendments and rejections of the NFL’s Rooney Rule. In May, the NFL expanded the guidelines of the Rooney Rule to require all teams to now include more interviews of minority candidates for coaching, senior football operations, and general manager vacancies. The idea to improve draft positioning or total picks for the hiring of minority candidates for these positions, was also discussed but ultimately rejected and rightfully so. While the advancement of potential opportunities for minority coaching and leadership positions within the NFL is overall a positive thing, such rules in any organization further illustrate the inherent checks and balances with sport. The need to require any organization to merely interview minorities is a travesty, such things should just be normal practice. Brighter alternatives to these practices are not rooted in racism or even disrespect but yet again administrative power. African Americans have been withheld from holding coaching and higher administrative positions simply because it would upend the checks and balances put in place. The check is to make sure that players stay in their lane and continue to focus on playing the sport, while the balance is to make sure that those who most often times do not look like the majority of athletes are given oversight. The need for diversity and equality within sporting administration should not be labeled by administrative rules as if things are to be done out of pity and/or submission, but instead initiatives should be done to show and express unity amongst all who contribute to sport. As long as the imagery remains that minority hires, interviews, and opportunities are merely suggested proper practice over actual willingness, the suppressive checks and balances of sport will continue to prevail.

On my final lap around the track, I cannot pass on the opportunity to address the recent Confederate flag ban by NASCAR. First, I must admit that never in my wildest imagination did I see this moment coming, even as a completely uninterested NASCAR fan to begin with. However, to see the ultimate sport check and balance come crashing down does provide a clear vision as to how sport can right itself and society at the same time. I will not waste time to discuss the stereotypes of the typical NASCAR fan prior to this ruling, as that is what the internet is for. However, I will discuss the potential future of the new NASCAR moving forward. For the new NASCAR has the opportunity to be the shining star of the power and potential sport has to promote diversity, unity, and justice. NASCAR for the longest time has been dominated by one particular grouping of individuals from fan, driver, owner, and employee. And at no time was this norm ever questioned, which was made even more evident by the religious flying of the Confederate flag in some fashion during any and all events. While the eternal debate of what the Confederate flag represents might never end, I will take the higher road and assume that we can all intellectually agree on the sour roots that the flag is best associated with. The Confederate flag and NASCAR of old, in relation to sport checks and balances was quite clear: enter at your own risk. That was until Bubba Wallace spoke up as the first full-time African American stock car racer on the injustice of the checks and balances within NASCAR. The trick now is getting society to give the same love to NASCAR as it does its other leagues. NASCAR has struggled with viewership as of late but this can and should quickly change, given its attempt to join mainstream sport society. As more minority and non-stereotypical NASCAR fans begin to express interest and support for the sport the more the call for the removal of the Confederate flag will be valued by society at large.

Sport has the unique ability to serve as a universal language across the globe. But the language of sport is strongest here in North America, the same country in which the call for social and racial reform is also the loudest. The problem is that the language of sport in North America is one that currently supports the restriction and classification of African Americans through its institutional checks and balances. Checks and balances that allow Mike Gundy, Drew Brees, Curt Schilling, and Kyle Larson to openly express opinions on anything without the fear of their careers ending, unlike their minority counterparts (Colin Kaepernick). Yet while athletes of all races have spoken out and vow to fight for change, it is sport itself which we must change for these proclamations to become a reality. Removing the checks and balances which silently hold the racial rank and order of sporting organization structure, is the most prominent way for America to hear the societal demand that enough is enough. Until sport embraces equality for all at every level of its organizations, then the reminder to society to continue to hold on to what has worked in the past will remain.

References
Cooper, J. N., Macaulay, C., & Rodriguez, S. H. (2019). Race and resistence: A typology of African American sport activism. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 54 (2), 151-181. doi: 10.1177/1012690217718170.

3EBA0F76-8495-4B60-B080-14C5502D29D8

Barry Person Jr.
Assistant Professor
Sport and Recreation Management
SUNY Delhi
personbb@delhi.edu 

Sport Management Degrees: Teaching So Much More Than Sport

67F15EB6-4E1C-4F6D-8CB9-546A671DD13E

By Barry Person, Jr. Assistant Professor, Sport and Recreation Management
SUNY Delhi

3EBA0F76-8495-4B60-B080-14C5502D29D8As a Sport Management professor, I am always asked what can my child/I do with a Sport Management degree, the answer is change the world. Bradbury and O’Boyle (2017) stated that sport management has come a long way in the past 20 years; the sport management environment has now evolved into a legitimate professional and commercial sector and continues to grow in size and scope in many nations throughout the world. Yet, the power and applicability of the Sport Management degree fails to garner enough attention. This blog aims to highlight the universal application a Sport Management degree can have within the global economy and society to generate both change and recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic and current civil justice unrest has provided the unique opportunity for the value and importance of the Sport Management degree to address these issues, not only in academia but also within larger society, to be broadcasted. The notion that sport is a microcosm of society is no secret, but the truth and sustainability of this statement is now being tested. Pending global and societal changes, and advancements which arise from the world’s current situation, can highlight how sport is not only a microcosm of society, but a tool for societal change. Sport is one of the few things in the world that can serve as a universal language and bond. Touchdowns, goals, slam dunks, and home runs are terms that almost anyone in the world can comprehend the meaning of, regardless of their interest in the given sport for which the term is associated. The same can be said for fans who see others with the same jersey, alma mater, or sporting t-shirt; a special bond is instantly created no matter the race, gender, or religion of the individuals involved. So, seeing that sport has become one of the focal points to help stimulate economic recovery, civil unity, and support social justice is no surprise.

However, what is not being highlighted enough is the educational foundation which frames the future of the sport industry. Sport Management degrees hold the power to inspire and spur change within all aspects of sports and society. More importantly, such a degree serves as the foundation from which the push for equality within all levels of sporting administration can truly be achieved. The more sporting organizations become united and equally diverse, so will the society in which we live. The more that the world is shown equality amongst sport ownership, upper management, and coaching/leadership, the more society will embrace the same principles. The realization that Sport Management degrees go beyond coaching and training, but also deal with functioning in the global marketplace and all the social issues that arise within it, should no longer be ignored. To best understand how and why sport has been called upon to kickstart efforts for social justice and diverse equality, one must be well versed in the principles of sport management itself. So as sport continues to be the shining star in the road to global and social recovery, let us not forget the Sport Management degree in this process as well.

The same can be said for the eventual economic recovery for many countries. We regularly see the impact that geopolitics has on the sport management environment through the selection of countries to host mega sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup (Bradbury & O’Boyle, 2017). The current push by the entire world to get their sporting leagues back in action, speaks directly to this statement. While sports may not look the same in terms of fans in the stands and/or the postponement of the Olympics, it does not take away from a sporting event’s ability to be an economic stimulant. As restaurants, bars, and clubs continue to reopen, so do the opportunities for sports fans to gather and support these businesses. Being able to identify, create, adjust to, and market such opportunities are core principles within Sport Management studies regardless of institution. So be it in North America, England, Korea, or Italy, Sport Management studies are intertwined in some fashion with all that we do and will be vital to change and recovery. So, to restate what can be done with a Sport Management degree, in a nutshell whatever one chooses to do in order to impact the world, society, and/or economy through sport. The broad applicability and unique perspective which can be developed through sport management studies, offers a one of a kind educational experience that thanks to COVID-19 and current civil unrest, will no longer be cast into the secondary programming tier at institutions of higher learning.

References
Bradbury, T., & O’Boyle. (2017). Understanding sport management international perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.

Perceived Course Rigor in Sport Management: Class Level, Course Grades, and Student Ratings

During the last half-century, critics of higher education have disparaged institutions for their declining standards and lack of rigor.  The U.S. has slipped in educational rankings while popular culture has glorified the social aspects of college above the intellectual (Arum & Roksa, 2011).  Caught in the middle, particularly as higher education has adopted more business-centric models, are faculty.

By James E. Johnson, Robert M. Turick, Michael F. Dalgety, Khirey B. Walker, Eric L. Klosterman, and Anya T. Eicher. All authors are based at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

During the last half-century, critics of higher education have disparaged institutions for their declining standards and lack of rigor.  The U.S. has slipped in educational rankings while popular culture has glorified the social aspects of college above the intellectual (Arum & Roksa, 2011).  Caught in the middle, particularly as higher education has adopted more business-centric models, are faculty.

While many faculty and administrators strive for high standards, worry over receiving poor student ratings may influence some faculty to lower their expectations/standards.  For example, the grading leniency hypothesis (Marsh & Duncan, 1992) suggests that faculty will inflate grades out of fear of retributional bias (Feldman, 2007) on student ratings. This stress could become amplified when tenure and promotion are at stake and student perceptions are the primary evaluative source for teaching performance.  In sport management, where some programs must combat the easy major label, this issue can become complex.  These beliefs are in contrast to the validity theory (Marsh & Duncan, 1992) that suggests students value a rigorous academic experience and rate faculty accordingly.

Unfortunately, an evaluation of rigor and its potential impact on course/faculty ratings is scarce.  For this study, rigor within individual courses was chosen so that instructor and course could be examined simultaneously.  Predictably, an operational definition of course rigor is elusive.  Removing the subjective nature of the term to objectively define and evaluate this construct is challenging.  Fortunately, Johnson et al. (2019) provided a definition that included the following five components of course rigor.

  • Critical Thinking
  • Challenge
  • Complex Material
  • Time and Labor Intensive (Quantity)
  • Production of Credible Work (Quality)

From those five components, Johnson et al. created seven questions designed to be included in tandem with student rating questionnaires.  Johnson et al.’s work provided the template used to conduct our study of sport management courses.

Methodologically, our study investigated 830 students in 69 sport management courses over the span of four years to determine if course ratings (i.e., student evaluations), course grades, and course level were related to course rigor.  The seven rigor questions developed by Johnson et al. were added to existing student ratings and strongly supported through a factor analysis.  Course ratings were distributed at the end of each semester and included three groups of questions that assessed the instructor, the course, and perceived rigor.

We found that the strongest correlations with course rigor occurred for course and instructor ratings.  Moreover, when predicting course rigor only the overall ratings scores (combined instructor and course scores) and course GPA were significant.  As overall ratings increased so too did the perception of rigor.  As course GPA decreased, rigor perceptions increased.

The pragmatic implications of this work are noteworthy for faculty and administrators.

  • While rigorous coursework may result in lower mean course GPAs, course rigor appears to be appreciated by students. So, the more rigor, the higher student ratings – provided work is appropriate for class level and content area.  This finding supports the validity theory (Marsh & Dunkin, 1992).
  • Because sport management students reported higher instructor, course, and overall ratings when perceived rigor increased (and mean course grades decreased), the grading leniency hypothesis (Marsh & Dunkin, 1992) does not seem to apply.
  • The fear of retributional bias (Feldman, 2007) should be minimized based on our results. This conclusion does not mean that individual students will not provide negative ratings or engage in retributional behaviors on occasion.  Rather, it means at the course level the mean scores over time indicate that if faculty engage in designing and implementing courses with the five elements of rigor, their mean course ratings will likely be improved.

 

Click here for full research article in Sport Management Education Vol. 14, Issue 1.

 

 

References

Arum, R., & Roksa, J. (2011). Academically adrift: Limited learning on college campuses. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Feldman, K. A. (2007). Identifying exemplary teachers and teaching: Evidence from student ratings. In R.P. Perry & J.C. Smart (Eds.), The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 93–129). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Johnson, J. E., Weidner, T. G., Jones, J. A., & Manwell, A. K. (2019). Evaluating academic course rigor, Part I: Defining a nebulous construct. Journal of Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, 8(1-2), 86-121.

Marsh, H. W., & Dunkin, M. J. (1992). Students’ evaluations of university teaching: A multidimensional perspective. In J.C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 8, pp. 143-234). New York, NY: Agathon Press.

Empirical Investigation of Sport Trademark Dilution Using Contingent Valuation Method

By Sungho Cho, J. Lucy Lee, June Won, and Jong Kwan (Jake) Lee (all authors are affiliated with Bowling Green State University)

TM Dilution_Graphics.pngWould any unauthorized use of sport trademarks be harmful to the brand equity of the marks? What if a sport trademark is extremely strong like Nike or Adidas? What if an unauthorized use has happened in a product category totally not related to sport (such as Manchester Moo United milk and butter)?

Without trademark law, people would need to pay attention on so many things when they want to buy sneakers or gym membership. Trademarks help consumers find desirable goods and services without evaluating product attributes in detail. Thus, trademark law protects owners of legally protected marks from unauthorized use that would likely confuse general consumers as to the sources of goods and services. The legal claim is based on the theory of infringement that focuses on trademarks’ crucial function of information delivery in the market. Since the claim mainly intends to protect general consumers rather than mark owners, plaintiffs must show that people would likely be confused between the marks at issue (e.g., Nike v. Nikee).

In addition to the infringement theory, owners of famous marks can bring lawsuits against unauthorized users under the theory of trademark dilution. Dilution is a legal concept designed to protect intellectual property rights of mark owners. Trademark dilution claims do not require plaintiffs to prove that people are likely confused. Therefore, owners of famous marks such as Nike or Adidas may sue some “noncompetitive” users even if the junior marks would not likely confuse anyone. For instance, Nike successfully brought a lawsuit against Nikepal who was selling biochemical lab supplies even though people might not likely be confused between the sport merchandising brand and Nikepal’s business due to their irrelevant product categories. Studies investigated whether noncompetitive use of famous marks would result in serious damage to the them, but empirical results have been inconsistent.

The current study examined four different situations to see if noncompetitive use of sport trademarks would have harmful effects to them: (1) when two marks sound similar (Nike v. Nikepal); (2) when their logos look similar (Adidas v. Herbalife); (3) when one is a service mark while the other is a trademark (Manchester United v. Manchester Moo United); and (4) when marks are used in an exactly same product category, i.e., sport merchandise (Under Armour v. Uncle Martian). 140 participants were assigned to four subgroups where they tried to purchase goods of the famous sport trademarks online. While participants searched product of their interest, junior marks’ popup ads appear frequently and interrupted their virtual shopping. The perceived financial values of the famous sport trademarks were measured before and after the online shopping experience in conjunction with control group settings.

Nikepal and Herbalife did not negatively affect the brand equity of the exceptionally famous sport trademarks, Nike and Adidas, respectively. But Manchester Moo United (against Manchester United) and Uncle Martian (against Under Armour) resulted in harmful effects on the moderately famous trademarks in terms of their decreased brand equity in financial terms.

For academics, it is notable that exceptionally famous sport trademarks (Nike and Adidas) were immune to trademark dilution. The finding affirms that strong schematic properties of the famous marks would not be easily weakened by the introduction of the cognitively dissonant information (Nikepal and Herbalife). Presumably, the junior marks created information processing that just confirmed the extremely strong brand schemata associated with Nike and Adidas in the minds of participants. Future studies may conduct a series of follow-up inquiries relating to this result in the context of brand management as well as consumer behavior.

For practitioners, the findings suggest that owners of exceptionally famous sport trademarks may need to focus on traditional infringement claim in the enforcement of their trademark rights rather than engage catch-all legal actions that would waste various resources for seemingly insignificant harm. In addition, parties in trademark litigation may use the findings to attack the constitutionality of the federal trademark dilution statute on the ground that the regulation of commercial speech under the law might be unnecessarily restrictive under the First Amendment.

Click here for full research article in Journal of Sport Management Vol 34 Issue 3.

Meeting NASSM: Conference Manager Role

In the Spring of 2020, the NASSM Blog highlighted different individuals with NASSM leadership roles. We hope you enjoyed getting to know them and learning more about NASSM. For our final feature, we asked Stacey Warner to answer some questions about her role as Conference Manager (Note: These interviews were conducted in early February.):

Current faculty position:  Professor at East Carolina University (ECU)

How long have you been at this institution?:   10

Where are you from?:  Central PA

What are your primary responsibilities in your role with NASSM?  I serve as the conference manager for our annual conference. I oversee various aspects of the event including securing future sites, scheduling, budgeting, event operations, and securing & working with sponsorships, exhibitors, and advertisers.

What made you want to get involved with NASSM?   My mentors (Drs. Dixon, Chalip, and Green) did a tremendous job of role modeling the importance of service to the profession.    The environment at ECU, which has a motto of Servire or “to serve”, only further reinforced that. Success for me in this profession is about being able to balance and contribute strong research, teaching, and service.  NASSM offered an arena where I felt like I could serve and my skill set could contribute to the profession.

How do you hope to contribute to NASSM through serving? I feel that the NASSM annual conference should be a strong, healthy, and welcoming place for all sport management researchers and educators. I want to be a part of building and contributing to that type of culture and community.  I know there are Sport Managements colleagues out there that have felt like NASSM is their “home conference”.   I’m someone that wants to listen to those that haven’t felt that yet, understand why, and improve/fix what we can to make the annual conference feel like it’s the conference for all who haven’t found that home yet. The NASSM Conference can’t be everything for everyone, but my hope is it continues to be the conference that Sport Management researchers and educators look forward to going to meet new colleagues and exchange ideas.

What do you think are the biggest challenges NASSM faces?  Leadership, governance, & service.  We are an organization that continues to grow and is very dependent upon voluntary service. We’re very fortunately to have an organization full of gifted leaders and managers who always seem to step up each year, but as the organization grows so do the time demands. So I think restructuring and governance are the biggest challenges (and opportunity!) that NASSM faces.

Dream NASSM destination: Hawaii

Stayed tuned for all NASSM news on Twitter at @NASSM or on the website at nassm.org.