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Jennifer Zdroik and Philip Veliz

Background:

School districts in the United States are turning toward new sources of revenue to maintain their interscholastic sports programs. One common revenue generating policy is the implementation of participation fees, also known as pay-to-play. One concern of the growing trend of participation fees is how it impacts student participation opportunities. This study looks at how pay-to-play fees are impacting participation opportunities and participation rates in the state of Michigan.

Methods:

Through merging 3 school-level data sets, Civil Rights Data Collection, the Common Core of Data, and participation information from MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association), bivariate analysis and ordinary least squares regression were used in our analysis.

Results:

Our findings indicate that certain types of schools are able to support pay-to-play fees: relatively large schools that are located in suburban, white communities, with relatively low poverty rates. We also found that participation fees are not decreasing the number of sport opportunities for students, participation opportunities are higher in schools with fees; but participation rates are similar between schools with and without participation fees.

Conclusions:

Participation fee policy implications are discussed and we offer suggestions for future research.

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Kathryn L. Heinze, Sara Soderstrom and Jennifer Zdroik

The rise and institutionalization of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in sport is captured in a growing body of work in sport management. This literature suggests professional teams should be strategic in their approaches—matching internal resources with external needs—but we lack an understanding of the processes and mechanisms in the evolution to more strategic CSR, as well as specific practices that characterize these approaches. Further, by focusing on broad trends in how and why teams are adopting CSR, we miss the opportunity to learn from teams with innovative and authentic CSR approaches. To address these gaps, this article uses a qualitative case-study approach to examine how one professional team in the U.S.—the Detroit Lions—evolved their CSR to a more strategic and authentic partnership-focused model. Our findings point to key process steps and mechanisms in the decision making around, and implementation of, this approach, including the role of organizational structure, leadership, and community partnerships. We draw out themes around these central partnerships and highlight best practices. In offering a more nuanced understanding of professional sport CSR process and practice, we contribute to the literature on CSR in sport, sport-community partnerships, and sport and city revitalization.