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Opportunities for Extracurricular Physical Activity in North Carolina Middle Schools

Michael B. Edwards, Michael A. Kanters, and Jason N. Bocarro


This study’s purpose was to assess the opportunities for North Carolina adolescents to be physically active in extracurricular middle school environments and to compare opportunities across community types.


Data were analyzed based on the results of an electronic questionnaire distributed to a sample of 431 schools with a response rate of 75.4% (N = 325).


Nearly all schools offered interscholastic sports while fewer than half offered intramurals or noncompetitive activities to students. “Open gym” was offered at only 35% of schools, while 24% of schools offered extracurricular activities to students with disabilities. Overall, 43.4% of schools offered special transportation to students who participated in some extracurricular physical activities. Schools in rural areas generally offered fewer programs and had fewer supports than schools located in more urbanized areas. Over two-thirds of rural schools offered no extracurricular programs other than interscholastic sports.


Schools can be important settings for physical activity. North Carolina’s middle schools and its rural schools in particular, are falling short in efforts to provide extracurricular physical activity programming recommended by researchers and policy groups.1−6 Lower accessibility to extracurricular physical activities may partially contribute to higher levels of physical inactivity found in the state.

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Examining the Environmental Characteristics of Shared Leadership in a Sport-for-Development Organization

Gareth J. Jones, Christine E. Wegner, Kyle S. Bunds, Michael B. Edwards, and Jason N. Bocarro

To promote community development, sport-for-development (SFD) organizations strive to build local leadership that fosters long-term sustainability. Although shared leadership (SL) structures are particularly effective in these settings, there has been limited attention to SL within the SFD context, especially from a multilevel perspective. While previous studies of leadership in sport have primarily focused on the individual traits of leaders, multilevel analysis is required to understand how environmental characteristics relate to leadership development. This qualitative case study analyzes the development and deployment of SL in an American SFD organization. Interviews, observations, and document analysis are used to generate data, and theoretical thematic analysis is used to identify key themes related to the environmental characteristics of SL. Results highlight how environmental characteristics are related to SL, as well as group and task characteristics. The discussion integrates these findings with SL theory to discuss implications for the management of SFD projects in this context, and recommends integrated forms of leadership that combine shared and servant leadership approaches.

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Collaborative Advantages: The Role of Interorganizational Partnerships for Youth Sport Nonprofit Organizations

Gareth J. Jones, Mike Edwards, Jason N. Bocarro, Kyle S. Bunds, and Jordan W. Smith

Interorganizational partnerships have been used by nonprofits in a variety of industries to build organizational capacity, yet they are currently underutilized by many youth sport nonprofit organizations. While previous research has highlighted key features of dyadic relationships that inhibit the development and maintenance of partnerships, there has been less attention to the influence of broader or complete networks. This study examined key structural properties of a youth sport nonprofit network in one municipality to determine how interorganizational partnerships were used to build organizational capacity. Whole network analysis was used to study partnerships between youth sport nonprofits and analyze the configuration and structural features of the network. Results indicated a fragmented network of youth sport nonprofit organizations, with the majority of organizations operating independently of one another, and the network itself characterized by unbalanced ties. The discussion highlights how this network structure influences organizational action and contributes to relational issues often observed at the dyadic level. The introduction of a third-party brokerage organization is discussed as a potentially useful strategy for improving this network structure.

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Adaptation of the System for Observing Physical Activity and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) to Assess Age Groupings of Children

Jason N. Bocarro, Myron Floyd, Robin Moore, Perver Baran, Tom Danninger, William Smith, and Nilda Cosco


To better measure physical activity (PA) in outdoor environments, McKenzie and colleagues developed the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC). However, previous SOPARC research has focused on adults, seniors, teens and children. One avenue for extending this work is to expand the child age group code to capture important nuances that can influence children's PA and their environments. This study reports on the reliability of a measure designed to account for PA in parks among children in different childhood age groups.


Three groups were developed: 0 to 5 years old (Young Children); 6 to 12 (Middle Childhood) and 13 to 18 (Older Children) based on Erikson's stages of child development. Data were obtained by direct observation in 3 neighborhood parks in Raleigh, NC and 20 neighborhood parks in Durham, NC.


Kappa coefficients showed high agreement for all age group, gender, and PA codes. For the 3 assessments, the results show that the 3 age group category exhibit acceptable reliability for measuring PA in parks among children.


The reliability of measuring PA among children by segmenting children by 3 age groups was established. This approach is recommended for future studies of PA among children in parks and other outdoor environments.

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“Just Let Me Play!”—Understanding Constraints That Limit Adolescent Sport Participation

Jonathan M. Casper, Jason N. Bocarro, Michael A. Kanters, and Myron F. Floyd


Organized sport is viewed as a viable medium for promoting more physical activity among youth. However, participation in youth sport declines significantly among both boys and girls during their middle school years. This study examined middle school students’ perceived constraints to sport participation.


Middle school students from 4 schools (6th−8th grade, N = 2465) completed a web based survey (97.3% response rate). Descriptive analysis, t tests, and ANOVA were used to assess extent of perceived constraints and differences among demographic and sport participation level subgroups.


The most salient constraint perceived by respondents was time, while knowledge was perceived as the lowest among the overall sample. Significant (P < .01) differences in perceived constraints were found among all comparisons groups. Girls, Latinos, lower SES students, and students who did not play sports reported more constraints than respective comparisons groups.


The sociodemographic characteristics of middle school students appear to be a significant factor in their perception of constraints to sport participation. Identifying constraints associated with sport participation can enable policy-makers and administrators to be more deliberate in channeling resources.

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Perceived Constraints to Pickleball Participation Among Black Older Adults

Jonathan M. Casper, Amy Chan Hyung Kim, and Jason N. Bocarro

Pickleball offers sociopsychological and physical activity benefits for older adults but lacks racial diversity. The purpose of this study was to identify constraints to pickleball participation with Black older adults (65+ years) as well as examine differences based on physical activity and sex. A Qualtrics panel included Black older adults (N = 292) who have heard of pickleball and are physically able to play but have not played. Results found Knowledge, Accessibility, Interpersonal, and Interest were the most salient constraints overall. Multivariate analysis of variance found that those who report low physical activity had significantly higher Interpersonal, Psychological, Costs, and Perceived Racism constraints. Additionally, females report significantly higher Knowledge, Psychological, and Cost constraints compared to males. The results further the theoretical application of constraints to physical activity research and provide insights into practitioner implications to grow the sport of pickleball for Black older adults.