Athletics Department Awareness and Action Regarding the Environment: A Study of NCAA Athletics Department Sustainability Practices

in Journal of Sport Management
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The relationship of sport to sustainability management is relatively unknown. Despite the increasing recognition of the growing role of athletics in regard to environmental sustainability, it remains unclear what role athletics departments have with regard to environmental action and what is currently being done now. The purpose of this study is to examine American intercollegiate athletics department personnel in relation to their organization’s sustainability practices, organizational strategies, and personal perspectives at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) universities. Athletics department members (N = 97) who were most responsible for sustainability initiatives responded to a survey designed to assess awareness levels and concern for environmental issues and the strategies and practices at work in their respective athletics departments. Findings based on prioritization, planning, decision-making, and use of initiatives using frequencies and means are reported. Differences, using t tests were also compared based on BCS or non-BCS standing. Results show that although environmental concern is high, there is disconnect between concern and action perhaps due to a lack of communication between the athletics department and the general university, cost concerns, and a lack of knowledge about sustainability initiatives. Implications related to the need for better communication between the athletics department/university and improved planning and prioritization is discussed.

Casper is with the Dept. of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Pfahl is with the College of Business, Ohio University, Athens, OH. McSherry is with ProGreenSports, Falmouth, MA.

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