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The Non-Sweet Sixteen: Referee Bias Against Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Men’s College Basketball

Andrew Dix

This study focused on historically Black colleges and universities in men’s college basketball. A review of previous literature revealed that referee bias was a recurring phenomenon, while whiteness studies served as the theoretical frame. The data for this analysis centered on a 16-year period of time. The referees called a statistically significant number of personal fouls per game against men’s college basketball teams from historically Black colleges and universities relative to the number of personal fouls per game that referees called against men’s college basketball teams from predominantly White institutions. These findings suggest that men’s college basketball players were judged differently depending on whether the student-athlete played for a historically Black college and university or a predominantly White institution. The implications for critical and social theories were noted in the study discussion.

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We’ve Come a Long Way, But We Could Be Doing Better: Gendered Commentary in U.S. Media Coverage of the 1999 and 2019 Women’s World Cup

Eileen Díaz McConnell, Neal Christopherson, and Michelle Janning

In 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Team earned its fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup. Has gendered commentary in media coverage about the U.S. Women’s National Team changed since winning their first World Cup 20 years ago? Drawing on 188 newspaper articles published in three U.S. newspapers in 2019, the analyses contrast media representations of the 2019 team with a previous study focused on coverage of the 1999 team. Our analysis shows important shifts in the coverage over time. The 1999 team was popular because of their contradictory femininity in which they were “strong-yet-soft.” By 2019, the team’s popularity was rooted in their talent, hard work, success, and refusal to be silent about persisting gender-based disparities in sport and the larger society.

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Should Athletes Be Allowed to Protest During the National Anthem? An Analysis of Public Opinions Among U.S. Adults

Chris Knoester, B. David Ridpath, and Rachel Allison

Using descriptive and multiple regression analyses of data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,993), this study examines public opinions about athletes’ right to protest during the national anthem. Results suggest that public opinion is now more supportive of athletes being allowed to protest during the anthem, although considerable opposition persists. Black individuals and those who recognize racial/ethnic discrimination in society are especially likely to support athletes’ right to protest. Heterosexual, Christian, sports fan, and military identities seem to encourage opposition to the right to protest. Indicators of traditionalism and sports nationalism attitudes are also negatively associated with support for athlete protests.

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Volume 38 (2021): Issue 3 (Sep 2021)

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An Exploration of Safe Space: From a Youth Bicycle Program to the Road

Jeanette Steinmann, Brian Wilson, Mitchell McSweeney, Emerald Bandoles, and Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst

Safe space—a physical and psychosocial space cultivated through social relations—can be vital for youth programs and community development. This paper analyzes youth participants’ experiences in a Canadian bicycle program. The authors suggest that the program can be seen as a form of “Sport for Development,” and specifically what the authors term “Bicycles for Development”—as the bicycle is considered as a possible catalyst for development. Using interviews and photos, the role of “safe space” in the growing body of Bicycles for Development literature is highlighted, and the authors make a connection between Sport for Development scholarship and literature related to youth cultural activities and spaces. The findings reveal the benefits associated with program engagement and challenges despite program-related benefits.

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The Making of a College Athlete: High School Experiences, Socioeconomic Advantages, and the Likelihood of Playing College Sports

James Tompsett and Chris Knoester

Understandings of who plays college sports are dominated by assumptions that lack academic scrutiny. Using the Education Longitudinal Study (N = 7,810) and multilevel modeling, this study examines the extent to which high school indicators of family socioeconomic statuses, athletic development and merit, academic expectations and knowledge, and school contexts predict the likelihood of becoming a college athlete. The authors find evidence that supports our understanding of the process of becoming a college athlete being shaped by family socioeconomic status. Still, high school sport participation characteristics, academic expectations and knowledge, and school contexts also seem to offer independent contributions to the odds of becoming a college athlete. Overall, these results suggest that college athletic opportunities are not simply a function of athletic merit, based on unique analyses of quantitative empirical evidence from a large national sample of high school students.

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Collective Memory and Social Movements: Football Sites of Memory in Supporters’ Activism

Dino Numerato and Arnošt Svoboda

This paper examines the role of collective memory in the protection of “traditional” sociocultural and symbolic aspects of football vis-à-vis the processes of commodification and globalization. Empirical evidence that underpins the analysis is drawn from a multisite ethnographic study of football fan activism in the Czech Republic, Italy, and England, as well as at the European level. The authors argue that collective memory represents a significant component of the supporters’ mobilization and is related to the protection of specific football sites of memory, including club names, logos, colors, places, heroes, tragedies, and histories. The authors further explain that collective memory operates through three interconnected dimensions: embedded collective memory, transcendent collective memory, and the collective memory of contentious politics.

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The Hat-Trick of Racism: Examining BIPOC Hockey Players’ Experiences in Canada’s Game

Ryan Sandrin and Ted Palys

Recent high-profile incidents involving racism at hockey’s highest levels have cast serious concerns regarding the prevalence of racism in the sport. However, limited scholarly literature has examined the prevalence of racism in Canadian hockey across the lesser-known competitive developmental levels (e.g., junior, collegiate, and minor-professional). Employing a critical race framework, we interviewed Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) regarding their experiences with racism in Canadian hockey. The findings reveal that actions that keep BIPOC players on the outside looking in exist at even the sport’s youngest levels. The findings also indicate that governing bodies often fail to protect BIPOC players when racist incidents occur. Further research regarding racism in hockey is needed to more fully understand the deleterious impact of racist behavior on the sport and those who play it, and to identify strategies that can promote a more egalitarian opportunity structure than currently exists.

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Fitness Philanthropy: Exploring a Movement at the Nexus of Leisure, Charity, and Events

Catherine Palmer, Kevin Filo, and Nicholas Hookway

Sport is increasingly being used by individuals, charities, and corporate sponsors as a means of acquiring donors and fundraisers to support a variety of social and health causes. This paper examines five key features of fitness philanthropy that when considered together provide new sociological insight into a unique social phenomenon. These are: (a) peer-to-peer giving, (b) social media accounts of embodied philanthropy, (c) community connection and making a difference, (d) fitness philanthropy as social capital, and (e) charity and corporate giving. The significance of the paper is threefold. First, it highlights the ways in which fitness philanthropy points to the changing nature of sport, leisure, and physical activity, whereby fundraising is a key motivation for participation. Second, it examines the types of “empathy paths” created by fitness philanthropy with its emphasis on the body, social media, and peer-to-peer forms of organizational giving. Third, the paper seeks to answer critical questions about fitness philanthropy in the context of neoliberalism and “caring capitalism.” Bringing these themes into dialogue with broader research on the intersections between sport and charity adds to the body of sociological research on sport, philanthropy, well-being, and civic engagement by addressing novel conceptual frameworks for the embodied expression of these concerns.

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Enactments of Integrated, Disability-Inclusive Sport Policy by Sporting Organizations

Andrew M. Hammond, Andrea Bundon, Caitlin Pentifallo Gadd, and Tim Konoval

This article critically analyzed the enactment of disability-inclusive sport policies by provincial sporting organizations in British Columbia. Thirty semistructured interviews with managers representing 13 organizations informed the analysis. Findings highlighted how organizational circumstances prompted managers to enact integration policies in novel ways at the regional level. For instance, nondisabled sporting organizations mediated the adoption of integration policies due to the perceived impact on nondisabled programming. In contrast, disability sport organizations resisted integration out of concern that nondisabled organizations could not deliver programming to an equivalent standard. To thwart the perceived integration threat, disability sport organizations developed novel solutions, such as registering themselves as freestanding organizations. Discussion arises as to whether integration is the “gold standard” of inclusion in disability sport. Policy recommendations are also discussed.