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College Football “Kids”: Infantilizing Language in Football Bowl Subdivision Bowl Game Broadcasts

Chris Corr, Crystal Southall, Billy Hawkins, and Richard M. Southall

Paternalistic institutional structures are strategically arranged to maintain locus of control and preserve male-centric patriarchal authority. A confluence of cultural, social, and legal structures perpetuates paternalism within National Collegiate Athletic Association college sport and specifically in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football. This study examined FBS bowl game broadcasts to determine the prevalence of paternalistic and infantilizing commentary. An analysis of in-game commentary from a sample of 18 FBS bowl games from the 2019 to 2020 season revealed that commentators frequently infantilize FBS football players, normalizing a paternalistic and exploitative coach–athlete relationship.

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Hegemony and the National Collegiate Athletic Association: A Critical Discourse Analysis of National Collegiate Athletic Association Resources Concerning Name, Image, and Likeness

Molly Harry

When athletes gained rights from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to monetize their name, image, and likeness (NIL), the NCAA’s historic hegemony over college sports was challenged. However, given the recency of NIL, there is minimal research on how the NCAA communicated NIL changes to its members during this time. Through the lens of hegemony theory, this research explored how the NCAA communicated its hegemony and its loss of power via its distribution of NIL resources (N = 48). Critical discourse analysis demonstrated the NCAA and its leaders predominantly employed ideological influence in their communications to members and athletes to follow NIL guidelines. This influence centered around appeals to fairness and amateurism. The NCAA also tried to use coercion to force compliance. Finally, with an increasing trend toward decentralization, the NCAA relinquished hegemony in communications that shifted control to member institutions and by requesting federal involvement.

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“They’ve Never Played the Game”: “Cool Sports Girls,” Gender Inequality, and Garbage Time in Sports Punditry

Taylor M. Henry

In the 2010s, certain women in the sports television industry ascended beyond the often-reductive roles of studio hosts or sideline reporters, giving their sports opinions and occasionally hosting their own programs. This article argues that women who achieve this standing are forced to play a new role, that of the “cool sports girl.” Although “cool sports girls” gain male support through adopting masculine-coded traits, such as sports knowledge and smack talk, this article examines the misogynistic backlash these women face, interpreting the backlash as representing finite boundaries of the gains that women have achieved in a hypermasculine industry. This article reads the tenure of Katie Nolan at Fox Sports (2013–2017) as a representative example of how female television pundits exhibit agency amid entrenched industrial patriarchy.

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“Futures—Past,” A Reflection of 40 Years of the Sociology of Sport Journal: An Introduction

Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, Chen Chen, Tomika Ferguson, Courtney Szto, Anthony Jean Weems, and Natalie Welch

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Volume 40 (2023): Issue 4 (Dec 2023): SPECIAL ISSUE “Futures—Past,”: Liberation, Futurity, Intersectionality, and Interdisciplinarity: Reading Sport, Physical Culture, and the (Physically Active) Body

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Sports Reforms and Coaches’ Spoiled Identities: An Analysis of Structural Stigma

Yoon Jin Kim and Marcelle C. Dawson

This article explores how sports coaches’ identity and social relations are shaped within the context of new policy initiatives in sport. It focuses particularly on South Korea’s ongoing sports reforms wherein sports coaches feel stigmatized and disgraced. Informed by classic and contemporary sociological understandings of stigma and relying both on documents and narratives from 29 individuals, our qualitative analysis reveals that Korean coaches’ stigma is discrediting, prior-known, and power-laden. By viewing stigmatization as a social process constructed both “symbolically” and “structurally,” this article extends Goffman’s analysis to argue that coaches’ stigmatization is rooted in the social, institutional, and political power around sports reforms that forge stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs across society by offering ready-made scripts for both the stigmatized and the “normals.”

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Sports Attitudes in Childhood and Income in Adulthood

Adam Vanzella-Yang, Pascale Domond, Frank Vitaro, Richard E. Tremblay, Vincent Bégin, and Sylvana Côté

Research shows that sports participation in youth is associated with earnings in adulthood. However, studies have often relied on self-reported earnings and on single indicators of sports participation. Using large-scale data linked to administrative records, we investigate: (a) whether sports attitudes at age 13 are uniquely related to income at ages 30–36 and (b) whether educational attainment and mental health in early adulthood mediate this association. We find that a one SD increase in sports attitudes is related to a 10% increase in income. This association is not entirely confounded by preexisting and co-occurring risk factors. Educational attainment mediates 22% of the association between sports attitudes and income. Sports attitudes are potentially a form of capital deployed in the pursuit of socioeconomic advantages.

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Brittney Griner, Intersectionality, and “Woke Politics”: A Critical Examination of Brittney Griner’s Return to the United States

Ajhanai C.I. Keaton, Evan Frederick, Keisha Branch, and Ann Pegoraro

In February of 2022, professional women’s basketball player Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on drug possession charges. Her detainment was a trending Twitter topic demonstrating the cultural, political, and social state of the United States, specifically pertaining to race, gender, nationality, and LGBTQ matters. The purpose of this study was to analyze what Brittney Griner’s release from Russia tells us about social power relations and contemporary social political matters on the axis of race, gender, and sexual orientation. We organized the data to determine three distinct, yet interconnected themes: (a) Woke Politics at the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Queerness; (b) Preferential Treatment at the Expense of Whiteness Informed Patriotism; and (c) Intersectionality as Political Pandering.

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Indigenizing Sport Research: Analyzing Protective Factors of Exercising Sovereignty in North America

Alisse Ali-Joseph, Kelsey Leonard, and Natalie Welch

Indigenous Peoples have an inherent responsibility and right to “exercising” sovereignty—the practice of sport and physical activity in performance of our cultural, political, and spiritual citizenship. By exercising this inherent right and responsibility, sport has the power for communities to reenvision their futures. Sport and physical activity are highly regarded and practiced in multiple contexts within Indigenous communities. Utilizing Indigenous ways of knowing, practices of resurgence, Indigenous activism, and Indigenous responses to political and cultural injustices, we apply the five protective factors of “exercising” sovereignty, including community, relationality, strength, abundance, and resilience to analyze Indigenous sport research in North America.

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Letter From the Editor

Cheryl Cooky