Understanding the Meaning of Representation in a Deliberative Democratic Governance System

in Journal of Sport Management
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The meaning and nature of athlete representation in sport governance is broad and goes beyond formalistic delegate models and voting rights accounts. This article explores the meaning and nature of representation in the context of intercollegiate sport governance. Interviews were conducted with intercollegiate athlete representatives and athlete representative administrative advisors to gain an understanding of how and why athlete representatives carried out their roles. Findings revealed that the meaning and motivations of athlete representation were based on the institutionalized deliberative democratic governance system. Representation meant standing and acting for the power of the athlete voice and having the capacity to generate the athlete voice into legislation and decision making. The performative role of representatives involved self-accountability, where they accepted responsibility to engage in a deliberative process of collective decision making. Implications for practice and future research on athlete representation in a deliberative democratic sport governance system are presented.

Kihl is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Schull is with the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Kihl (lkihl@umn.edu) is corresponding author.
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