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Amanda Kastrinos, Rachel Damiani and Debbie Treise

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, thrust potential Olympians into the midst of the unprecedented outbreak of the Zika virus. Because parasocial interaction theory purports that athletes can have tremendous influence on fans’ attitudes and behavior, particularly in the context of public health, it is important to understand how media framed athletes’ response to their risk of contracting Zika at the Games and the possibility of a global epidemic. To understand how athletes’ safety concerns were portrayed by news outlets, the authors conducted a framing analysis of articles reporting on the intersection of the Olympics and Zika published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post between January and November of 2016. This analysis revealed that media employed three main frames in their coverage of athletes: Athletes perceived the risk of Zika as small compared with potential Olympic glory, the decision to participate in the Games is an athletes’ personal choice between family and career, and athletes used Zika concerns as a convenient excuse to pull out of a troubled Games. The combination of these frames painted a contradictory portrait of athletes’ risk perception, both emphasizing and downplaying the threat of contracting the virus at the Games and an ensuing worldwide outbreak. These conflicting athlete narratives could have created uncertainty regarding the actual safety risk of the Zika virus and the Olympic Games for the fans who admire the athletes.

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Joseph H. Moore

Much research has been conducted relating to uses-and-gratification theory and how audiences select their news medium and message. Research has examined how newspapers, television stations, and social media outlets such at Twitter present news. However, no research has examined from which medium the audience retains the most information. Through the lens of uses-and-gratification theory, this exploratory study used a 4 × 1 experimental design to fill this gap. A convenience sample of 285 students at a large Midwestern university was invited to participate. A total of 122 responded to the invitation (N = 122). While most reported getting the majority of their sports news via television, participants who were presented news in print scored significantly higher on a retention test than did their counterparts who consumed news via television or Twitter. Avid sports fans retained more information, and the presence of links and images in Twitter did have an impact on how much news was retained. Implications for further research are also discussed.

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Nikolas Dickerson

In this article, I examine the ways the popular press, and two sport documentaries construct narratives of Ricky Williams’ marijuana use, early retirement, and return to the National Football League. I argue that all of the texts in question, work to produce a dominant reading of Williams, as someone who is difficult to define, and it is because of inability to put Williams’s identity into a box, that his marijuana use, “strange” personality, and early retirement is used to shoe-horn him into tropes of the bad black athlete. Nonetheless, this paper draws on Mark Anthony Neal’s concept of illegible and legible black masculinity to argue that a re-scripting of these narratives can be used to imagine alternative forms of black masculinity the emphasizes empathy, sensitivity, emotional maturity, and a rejection of domination and material wealth. This analysis is situated within the changing landscape of marijuana legislation and the racial inequity in arrest rates for marijuana.

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Alex C. Gang

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Ryan King-White and Adam Beissel

This project will specifically focus on the symbiotic relationship between the intercollegiate athletics program and corporatization of educational functions and leadership at Towson University as emblematic of the influence that neoliberal corporate capitalism has had on institutions of higher education and its stakeholders. We offer a genealogy of Towson University athletics to interrogate how the athletics program is a byproduct of, and vehicle for, the ascent of commercial imperatives and growing the consumer experience at the corporate university through authoritarian leadership and centralized governance. We conclude by making the argument that the corporate university lacks any real semblance of shared governance and that it has been to the very real detriment of the many stakeholders administrators suggest they are beholden to.

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Lin Yu, Hanhan Xue and Joshua I. Newman

In recent years, Shanghai has become one of Asia’s major players in the bidding for, and hosting of, international sporting events. Uniquely positioned by history (e.g., China’s liberalized urban node to the globalizing economy, an imbedded urban cosmopolitanism) and geopolitics (e.g., a shift toward free market domestic political economy, a growing pro-corporatist governing alliance), sporting Shanghai provides a critical site of analysis for contemporary sport-based global-localisms. In this study, we examine how local culture, global commercialism, and policy discourse intersect to “produce” the global sporting city. We conclude with a discussion of how sport in this context is manufactured not only as economic, social, and political catalyst, but also how sport policy itself represents a conjunctural city as “modernization” event.

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Matthew Lamont and Sheranne Fairley

Rituals may organically manifest on the periphery of official sport event programs, yet scholars have primarily focused on understanding the meaning of and experiences of athletes participating in the focal event. This paper explores a subworld ritual that occurs the day after major triathlon events in Australia. Organized by members of a distinct subworld within the broader social world of triathletes, the Beer Mile is a quasi-devious ritual performed by this subworld to mark the completion of a period of regimentation. The ritual embraces fortitude expressed through demonstrations of physicality, ability to handle alcohol, and boisterousness. We demonstrate how this ritual is a form of calculated hedonism that is both congruent and convergent with traditional endurance sport practices and norms.

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Qingru Xu and Andrew C. Billings

At the World Tour Platinum China Open in 2017, 3 leading Chinese table tennis players and two coaches withdrew from the Games to protest the sudden removal of Head Coach Liu Guoliang, triggering unprecedented public uproar online. Applying gatekeeping theory, this study explored how mainland Chinese media controlled information flow during the crisis. A thematic analysis uncovered 3 primary gatekeeping behaviors: repetition, selection, and manipulation. Findings suggest that the party-state, not media institutions, was the dominant gatekeeper in mainland China. The Chinese media system and sports system were both subject to strict government control during a crisis that challenged authority.

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Sheri J. Brock, Jared A. Russell, Brenna Cosgrove and Jessica Richards

The School of Kinesiology at Auburn University has a large Physical Activity and Wellness Program (PAWP) that services approximately 8,000 students each academic year. The roughly 470 courses offered annually include aquatics, leisure, martial arts, fitness, and individual- and team-sport offerings taught predominantly by graduate teaching assistants. Overall, Auburn University has experienced a great deal of success in providing a PAWP program that students enjoy and often wish to repeat although these courses are not required as compulsory credit. Delivering high-quality undergraduate educational experiences is paramount to the overall instructional mission of the School of Kinesiology. This paper outlines administrative strategies to ensure that PAWP instructors are prepared and supported in their instructional responsibilities.