In this expository paper, we reflect upon our understanding of how disabled people are discussed and treated in kinesiology and adapted physical activity in higher education and explore potential areas of unintentional harm that may be present in our everyday practice. There are three particular aspects of kinesiology in higher education that we discuss: access, language, and assessment. We discuss the challenges of access of disabled people in positions in higher education, language in higher education which serves as centers for knowledge creation, and the problematic nature of assessments based on societal norms, and for us, it is important to shine a spotlight on the many systemic limitations and barriers that disabled persons experience, in hope to amplify the importance of these issues.
Fabián Arroyo-Rojas, A. Chloe Simpson, Paige Laxton, Marie Leake, Jamie Linker, and Justin A. Haegele
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.
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.
Jillian McNiff Villemaire
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.
Gregg Twietmeyer and Tyler G. Johnson
Meritocracy continues to dominate conventional thinking in the postmodern West. Yet, recently, an increasing number of critics have highlighted how meritocracy has gone wrong. One such critic is Daniel Markovits, author of The Meritocracy Trap. In this article, we highlight the major themes of Markovits’s book, identify how the ideology of meritocracy has infiltrated kinesiology and sport, and then propose how to reconceptualize and redirect kinesiology toward a more humane and morally sound discipline, which can avoid the pitfalls of the meritocracy trap. Most notably, we propose that kinesiology should (a) recognize the frailty and temporality of humans, (b) embrace the wide middle of human skill performance capabilities, (c) value mid-level jobs and occupations such as physical education teaching and YMCA and/or city recreation department positions, and (d) redefine what counts as success.
Yvette L. Figueroa and Emily A. Roper
Women’s involvement in sport has been replete with challenges at all levels. In a similar vein, women in strength and conditioning (S&C) encounter workplace challenges at all levels. Given the lack of representation of women in S&C, it is important to delve into the potential contributing factors. The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of women’s experiences in S&C. A total of 19 female S&C coaches at the collegiate level participated in our study. Participants were interviewed individually by both investigators via Zoom video calls using a semistructured interview guide. An overwhelming interest in participation among female S&C coaches allowed for interviews to be performed past the stage of saturation. Career experience among participants ranged from 4 to 26 years (M = 12.87 years). Results uncovered five central themes: (a) entrance into the S&C field and navigating a male-dominated culture, (b) appearance and presentation, (c) pressure to hire women, (d) support community and mentorship, and (e) family. Despite the perceived barriers described by these women, all participants stressed the love and passion each has for their career. The implications of this study are vital for administrators and athletic directors to advocate for greater representation of women in S&C and associated leadership positions.
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.