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Statements Versus Reality: How Multiple Stakeholders Perpetuate Racial Inequality in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership

Carter A. Rockhill, Jonathan E. Howe, and Kwame J.A. Agyemang

The lack of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership positions is an ongoing issue in intercollegiate athletics. The purpose of this study was to analyze the mission, vision, and diversity, equity, and inclusion statements of Power 5 athletic departments and their affiliated universities regarding racial diversity and inclusion to better understand how these two stakeholders work in unison or isolation when creating racially diverse environments. The authors utilized an innovative lens, which merges critical race theory with institutional theory to center race and racism while evaluating how these institutional logics interact in practice. The data show that Power 5 institutions maintain a lack of racial diversity through cultures and mission statements that omit diverse values, create symbolic statements, or lack meaning in creating a diverse reality.

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The Impact of Interorganizational Relationships on an Uncertain Industry: College Football Bowl Games

Chad Seifried, Brian Soebbing, and Kwame J.A. Agyemang

How sport organizations manage interorganizational relationships (IR) in response to industry uncertainty is a relevant question for sport managers. Yet, despite its importance, to date, little is known about how an uncertain industry influences the creation of products or how organizations might improve their market position through IR. This study uses the historical method and Oliver’s six IR determinants to understand the interaction between the bowl system of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and IR on various performance metrics, status, and new product development. In sum, the findings point to patterns of successful IR among the various tiers of bowl games and their partners through (a) conference agreements, (b) television network agreements, and (c) corporate/title sponsors. Notably, many bowl games managed to flourish and some even improved their status; however, the findings also allude to episodes of failure and indicate sport organizations rich in resources may be slower to establish IR because of resource buffers. Finally, the authors show the bowl industry produced new products via strategic alliances when certain conditions are met regarding asymmetry, reciprocity, and efficiency. Furthermore, the authors contribute to the literature on IR in sport by discussing implications for sport managers.

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Disrupting the Disruptor: Perceptions as Institutional Maintenance Work at the 1968 Olympic Games

Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Brennan K. Berg, and Rhema D. Fuller

How people reflect on and discuss protests at sporting events is a relevant question of interest to sport management scholars. This article uses qualitative data to understand how institutional members reflect on and discuss a disruptive act that violates institutional rules and norms. The authors study the historical case of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ silent protest at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Relying on interview data from Smith and Carlos’ teammates (59) on the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team, the study highlights the connections between institutional maintenance work, institutional logics, and institutions. Specifically, the authors argue that when institutional logics align with actors’ institutional maintenance work, acts seen as disruptive to the institution will not change the institution. Identifying multiple institutional logics within the Olympic Games, the authors also find that institutional logics do not always have to be competing as suggested by much of the literature. Instead, tension may be temporarily allayed when rival logics are threatened by an action (i.e., protests) that would disrupt the institution. The authors refer to this as an institutional cease-fire and discuss their findings in relation to the preservation of institutions.

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What Is Blackness to Sport Management? Manifestations of Anti-Blackness in the Field

John N. Singer, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Chen Chen, Nefertiti A. Walker, and E. Nicole Melton

This article is written in response to the collective “reckoning” with anti-Black violence in 2020. We share our perspective in solidarity with the long traditions, and contemporary, everyday actions of survival and resistance from millions of unnamed members of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities across the world. This article calls in the field of sport management, while calling attention to ways anti-Blackness has permeated the academy. Through observations, reflections, and interrogation of literature in the field, we illustrate the invisibility/marginality/erasure of Blackness in this body of knowledge and discuss missed opportunities for sport management. With the hope that the field will transform into a more inclusive, equitable, and just intellectual space, representative of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized voices, perspectives, experiences, and cultures, and accountable to rectifying the injustices inflicted upon Black and other racialized bodies, we offer calls to action for everyone in the field to consider.

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Getting an Internship in the Sport Industry: The Institutionalization of Privilege

Nefertiti A. Walker, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Marvin Washington, Lauren C. Hindman, and Jeffrey MacCharles

Unpaid internships are embedded in sport hegemony. These unpaid sport internships often offer fewer learning opportunities and foster an environment wherein interns feel like “second-class citizens” in their organization. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the world of unpaid internships in the sport industry by exploring students’ perspectives of them as an institutionalized practice, as well as how privilege impacts their internship experiences. Grounded in institutional theory, data from semistructured interviews with 17 sports management students were analyzed using the Gioia methodology. Three themes emerged from the findings: the idiosyncratic nature of sport internships, the legitimization of unpaid internships in the sport industry, and the institutionalization of privilege spurred by such positions. Practical implications from the study include increasing sport organizations’ awareness of how unpaid internships disadvantage students from less privileged backgrounds and may, therefore, result in a less socioeconomically diverse workforce in the sport industry.

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Critical Conversations About Qualitative Research in Sport Management

John N. Singer, Sally Shaw, Larena Hoeber, Nefertiti Walker, Kwame J. A. Agyemang, and Kyle Rich

The following article is an edited transcript of, “Critical Conversations About Qualitative Research in Sport Management” from the 2017 North American Society of Sport Management conference in Denver, CO, from May 30 to June 3. This 60-min roundtable session included a group of scholars with keen interest and background experiences in qualitative inquiry. They responded to questions about the state of qualitative research in the field, influential qualitative work both within and outside the field, and future considerations for research in the field. The purpose of this article is to synthesize the discussions from this roundtable session and our collective responses in the spirit of continuing to question how we use qualitative research in sport management. In this regard, we ended this article with each of the panelists, including the moderator, offering some postscript reflections.