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Daniel Sailofsky, Madeleine Orr, and Lindsey Darvin

Sport management programs are essential pathways by which aspiring professionals in the sport industry achieve their university education. Although a substantial segment of sport management scholarship has focused on driving for higher rates of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sport industry, less attention has been paid to the sport management academy. In this study, we examine the gender representation of full-time faculty positions, publications, and research methodologies in sport management. Our results show that men are employed in higher numbers overall. In the 329 sport management programs studied, the percentages of women employed at each level are assistant professor 46.8%, associate professor 39.5%, and full professor 37%, suggesting a drop-off aligned with the concept of career derailment or a time lag in reaching equity in the discipline. Women are also less published in top sport management journals (Journal of Sport Management, European Sport Management Quarterly, and Sport Management Review). Implications of these findings are discussed, as well as future research directions.

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Steph Doehler

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Team USA athlete Simone Biles withdrew from several gymnastics events midcompetition, citing mental health issues. Biles, one of the most recognizable stars of the Games, faced intense scrutiny from both the world’s media and the general public in the immediate aftermath. The purpose of this study was to analyze the Facebook narrative surrounding Biles’s withdrawal within the theoretical context of framing, as crafted through user comments on various public high-profile Facebook pages. A total of 87,714 user comments were collected and analyzed using the qualitative software Leximancer. The themes emerging from the data suggested a polarizing narrative, with many users supporting Biles, engaging in the wider discussion surrounding athlete mental health, while others condemned her action, suggesting she quit on the biggest sporting stage.

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Christopher M. McLeod and Nola Agha

Pay fairness and human capital theories make different predictions about trainees’ occupational turnover in situations where trainees perceive unfair pay but receive huge potential returns from training. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how pay fairness and human capital investment combined to explain why trainees are motivated to persist in employment when they perceive unfair pay. Cross-sectional survey data from 144 minor league baseball players showed that athletes perceived unfair pay but had low occupational turnover intentions because they perceived high learning achievement and expected to play in Major League Baseball eventually. Perceptions of unfair pay only increased occupational turnover intentions under certain conditions, such as when athletes had low expectations of playing at least one game in Major League Baseball in the next 3 years. The results support a framework that combines human capital theory and pay fairness theories to explain boundary conditions for trainee motivation.

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Wendy O’Brien, Tracy Taylor, Clare Hanlon, and Kristine Toohey

Professional team male-dominated sports have been built on masculine values; however, these values are challenged by the increasing number of women athletes entering this workplace. In this research, we explore the suitability and gender appropriateness of existing management processes and practices through three women’s professional and semiprofessional leagues. Drawing on a feminist perspective of continuum of care, players (n = 36) and organizational representatives (n = 28) were interviewed to gain insights into how athletes and organizations contend with their rapidly evolving workplaces. Framed around the values of affirmation, empowerment, and belonging, the continuum of care contrasts players’ everyday experiences of care with how organizations administer care. The research contributes through application of the feminist continuum of care. We present considerations for the management of female professional athletes in ways that are careful and an alternative value system that is affirmative, inclusive, and empowering.

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Emily Dane-Staples

A foundational component of sport management education is to prepare students for future employment. Research surveying employers indicated that they seek graduates with three broad types of skills: applied knowledge skills, effective relationship abilities, and workplace. Unfortunately, research also indicates that current employers are finding recent college graduates lacking in communication, interpersonal, and thinking skills. To better serve sport management students, faculty need to design opportunities to help students develop these desired skills. Using the pedagogical structure of team-based learning is one way that classrooms can be designed to assist students in the development of many of these skills while also learning how to work as part of a team.

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Natalie Brown-Devlin, Michael B. Devlin, and Vincent Peña

To examine the relationship among identification, fan expectations, and sponsorship outcomes, this study examined Alabama and Clemson fan expectations and responses to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) football championship game outcome. This case study sought to understand how fans of winning and losing teams evaluated a sporting event’s sponsor following the conclusion of an event, positing that highly identified fans would demonstrate a halo effect, and report favorable attitudes toward the sponsoring brand as suggested by previous research. However, there is a lack of theoretical evidence regarding consumer expectations when applied within the context of sport. Thus, using the theoretical framework of identification and expectation violation theory, the authors inquired to what extent the outcome of the game and one’s expectations of the outcome influenced their evaluation of the event sponsor. The results support previous research regarding potential halo effects, but also add nuance to earlier work demonstrating that a halo effect is not unilaterally applied for all fans. Given the unpredictable nature of sport and the increasing cost of sponsoring sporting events, these findings help explain the extent to which violations of one’s expected outcome affect subsequent evaluations of a sponsor.