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From Exploitative Systems to Exploitative Relationships: A Black Feminist Intervention to Scholarship on Exploitation in College Athletics

Ezinne D. Ofoegbu

This essay introduces interpersonal exploitation in Black women’s relationships in U.S. Division I college athletic environments. Interpersonal exploitation is a Black feminist-oriented analytical frame for exploring how relationships across various levels and systems contribute to the exploitation of Black women and other similarly situated populations in U.S. college athletics. Drawing from existing research, this essay describes how and why scholars, policymakers, and practitioners can use this analytical frame to explore how relationships, and systems that inform these relationships, sustain conditions in which athletes and professionals can be systematically exploited. Addressing exploitation is vital to restore college athletics’ integrity, emphasizing its educational role, and prioritizing well-being.

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The Carceral Logic of Female Eligibility Policies: Gender as a Civilizing Narrative, the Science of Sex Testing, and Anti-Trans Legislation 1


Female eligibility policies punish people for gender nonconformity and normalize patriarchal rule. These policies were used first to exclude women deemed “too masculine” from competing against women who more closely conform to gender stereotypes. In recent years, this form of discipline has dovetailed with efforts to determine the circumstances, if any, under which transgender women may compete against cisgender women. Modern sport, as a set of institutions, does not stand apart from capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy. In this article, I use a prison abolitionist lens to connect anti-trans campaigns and female eligibility policies that police sporting identity to the carceral logics of racial capitalism to make the argument that sex surveillance is related to race, social control, and capital accumulation.

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What Are the Olympics For?

Derek Silva

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Anti-Black Misandry as an Emotional Reflection With Black American Male College Athletes: An Interpretative Phenomenological Study

Donald D. McAulay Jr.

Black American males, specifically Black male athletes, experience a form of twoness that uniquely recognizes their talents but also a societal fear. This work addresses Black American males’ multidimensionality and emotional and psychological expressions when dealing with societal racism. This work explores Anti-Black misandry through an interpretive phenomenological lens. Five Black American men who are former college athletes reflect and emotionally express their experiences being a Black man and an athlete throughout their entire athletic continuum and post their athletic tenure. Results suggest that Black males are willing to express their vulnerabilities emotionally in safe spaces while recognizing racialized gender norms about emotional expressions. Implications of this study suggest that Black American male college athletes, when given constructive support, have meaningful ideas and resolutions about how society can honestly acknowledge their humanity and not just gaze at their existence as entertaining objects.

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Better to Have Played Than Not Played? Childhood Sport Participation, Dropout Frequencies and Reasons, and Mental Health in Adulthood

Laura Upenieks, Brendan Ryan, and Chris Knoester

This study considers the long-term mental health implications of organized youth sport participation, informed by an accumulation model of health, the Sport Commitment Model, and a life course perspective. Using data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,931) and multiple regression analyses, results indicate that adults who continually played organized youth sport had fewer depressive and anxiety symptoms compared with those who played and dropped out and those who never played. Dropouts had worse mental health than those who never played. Furthermore, among dropouts, reported interpersonal reasons for dropping out of organized sport were consistently associated with subsequent mental health but some structural factors also mattered. These findings point to a need to improve the interpersonal and structural environments of organized youth sport.

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Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX’s Design Undermines Changes to College Sports

Jordan Keesler

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Exploitation of College Profit-Athletes: An Amateurism That Never Was

Kirsten Hextrum

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Stability and Change in Sports Fandom Over Time: A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Women’s Professional Soccer Fandom

Rachel Allison, Radosław Kossakowski, and Stacey Pope

Scholars have recognized that sports fandom is not static, but temporal and fluid. However, little longitudinal research has traced the development of fandom over time. This analysis makes a new contribution to the sociology of fandom and women’s sport by drawing from interviews with 35 U.S. adults who attended the 2019 Women’s World Cup and were reinterviewed after the 2023 Women’s World Cup to consider how and why fandom of U.S. women’s professional soccer develops over time. Findings show stability in high levels of identification but fluctuating practices. Themes of the life course and opportunity structure show the importance of individual and team/league changes to fans’ ability to engage in a range of behavioral expressions associated with their fandom and also account for the small number of participants whose attachment to women’s soccer waned. By offering new insights into the factors that shape (changing) fan attachments and practices, we advance knowledge about women’s sport fans at a time when women’s soccer is undergoing rapid change. Our findings can also inform future longitudinal work in other sport contexts.

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Queering Gender Equity Policies for Trans College Athletes

Molly Harry and Ellen I. Graves

Trans college athletes are subjected to inconsistent and inequitable participation regulations. We adopted feminist and queer theoretical lenses to examine the gender equity policies of eight sport governing bodies in attempts to further understand the systems and structures within which trans college athletes must participate and comply. Analysis indicated predominance of entrenched essentialist feminism and limited performative postmodern/queer perspectives, leaving trans college athletes vulnerable to discriminatory/exclusionary policies and practices. To conclude, we offer three recommendations to promote better trans athlete inclusion across college sports.

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Heartbreak City: Seattle Sports and the Unmet Promise of Urban Progress

Jules Boykoff