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Andrew Dix

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the in-game communication of football players from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) was excessively penalized in the field of play. Previous literature has found that referee bias is commonplace and uncovered evidence that referees socially judge the communicative behaviors of HBCU student athletes differently than the communicative behaviors of student athletes from predominantly White institutions. This led to social judgment theory emerging as the theoretical frame. Quantitative methods were utilized to analyze National Collegiate Athletic Association data for Division II college football. Findings revealed that referees disproportionately flagged football teams from HBCUs in comparison with predominantly White institutions. These results provide implications for theory. The uncovered results also support a well-developed line of communication research that has indicated that excessive penalties are levied against HBCU teams in multiple sports. A rhetorical call to action is made to facilitate officiating change in intercollegiate athletics.

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NaRi Shin and Jon Welty Peachey

In this study, the authors sought to understand the influence of the Olympic Games on a host community’s globalization and development using world-systems theory and theories of globalization (i.e., glocalization and grobalization). The host community for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics (Daegwallyeong-myeon in South Korea) was the focus of this investigation. Using a global ethnographic approach, the authors collected diverse data through interviews, observations, archival and media documents, and field notes. Findings identified five key themes: (a) perception of underdevelopment, (b) the Organizing Committee’s institutional management of the global standard, (c) the Organizing Committee’s role as a negotiator between the global standard and the locality, (d) resident perspectives on global standards and regulations, and (e) aspirations to globalize Daegwallyeong-myeon. Through this study, the authors advance the use of world-systems theory and expand the concept of grobalization in the context of sport megaevent management by discussing global–local configurations and local agents’ desires to transform the community through Olympic-driven development and globalization.

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Jason Stamm and Brandon Boatwright

Using a theoretical underpinning of parasocial interaction—BIRGing (basking in reflected glory) and CORFing (cutting off reflected failure)—this study explored fan reactions to high school athletes’ commitments to play football for National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I programs. A thematic analysis of tweets made by fans during the 2020 recruiting period was examined in two stages: (a) tweets directed toward recruits before they committed to a program and (b) tweets directed toward recruits after they committed. Findings show fan frivolity in regard to identification, as well as a desire to become part of the recruiting process of high school football players. In addition, results yield the possibility of a shift in athlete motivations for social media use, fan association with athletics programs, and how fans cope with unexpected loss. Theoretical and practical implications are further discussed.

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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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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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Ted Hayduk III, Natasha Brison, and Joris Drayer

The efficacy of partitioned pricing (PP) has been investigated in a range of industries. This work showed that the usefulness of PP is situational, with numerous contextual factors playing important roles. Ticket pricing scholarship has yet to devote adequate attention to PP as a focal variable, which is problematic given the industry’s reliance on ticket revenue and the “service” fees ubiquitous in the ticketing industry. In addition, there is a need to investigate the moderating factors unique to sport consumption, such as team identification and the entertainment value of live sport. Using a sample of 403 sport consumers, this study found that PP is associated with lower perceptions of fairness but not lower enduring attitudes about the platform. Thus, sport consumers are displeased by PP, but not enough to dissuade them from future purchases. The analysis found that team identification—the entertainment value of live sports entertainment value—can further offset negative perceptions of PP.

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Akira Asada, Yuhei Inoue, and Yonghwan Chang

The #TakeAKnee movement initiated by Colin Kaepernick and the measures taken by the National Football League (NFL) to handle the situation received mixed reactions from the public. The authors developed and tested a structural model using survey data collected from 698 residents of a Super Bowl host city. The results indicated a positive relationship between attitudes toward the movement and attitudes toward the league’s responses, which in turn influenced league credibility. However, after taking the indirect effect into account, attitudes toward the movement had a direct negative relationship with league credibility. In addition, people who viewed the NFL as a credible organization tended to perceive the Super Bowl as relevant to them and as impactful for the host city. Therefore, sport organizations should develop consistent, comprehensive communication strategies that enable them to maximize a positive synergy between their approach to crisis communication and their approach to other types of communication.

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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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Michelle M. Sikes

The Supreme Council for Sport in Africa announced that all independent African nations would boycott all British sport if the British Lions rugby team toured South Africa in 1974. Despite condemnation from segments of the British public, entreaties from government ministers, and African threats, the rugby tour went ahead. This article adds to a large body of scholarship on the struggle against apartheid in sport, within which the 1974 Lions tour has received little attention, and focuses on the transnational efforts to stop that tour led by Kenya and independent Africa. Calls for reprisals across the continent were not unanimous, and the disparity of African reactions challenges perceptions of the “Africa bloc” as a monolith guaranteed to maintain a united front on anti-apartheid sport activity. Reactions to the tour anticipated events two years later at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and this event became a test case for strategies designed to isolate South Africa through punitive actions against third-party nations that broke ranks.