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Megan B. Shreffler

A number of benefits have been associated with discussing controversial topics in the classroom. In this article, the author provides an example of using classroom debates on controversial issues in sport as a learning method in an introductory sport management class. Students were assigned to a side of a topic on which they did not agree. This required them to critically think about their stance and seek information to understand why others might feel the way they do. After the debate, students completed a debate reaction paper in which they outlined their opinions not only about the topic but also about the process.

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Megan B. Shreffler

The Internet has become a competitive platform from which organizations can market their services and consumers can garner information through electronic word of mouth (eWOM). While eWOM has been examined in many different contexts, little research has been done on the impact of eWOM in a sport setting. This study examined the persuasiveness of eWOM on the attitudes and behaviors of consumers through online reviews of the Chicago Bears Bar, a hypothetical brand extension of the Chicago Bears. Through an online experiment with the elaboration likelihood model providing a theoretical framework, 2 major findings emerged from this research. First, it was found that the attitudes of highly identified fans are influenced by high-quality reviews. Second, the behaviors of highly identified fans were significantly influenced by high-quality reviews. Both findings suggest that highly identified fans prefer to align with messages that are refective of their attitudes toward a brand and its extensions. The results of the study provide significant theoretical and managerial implications.

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Megan B. Shreffler, Adam R. Cocco and Jacob R. Shreffler

The number of students enrolled in online courses continues to increase as the landscape of higher education evolves to meet the needs of the student population. With the growing number of online education students, and the necessity of programs to demonstrate learning effectiveness, it is essential for higher education institutions to compare the success of online students with their traditional classroom counterparts in terms of course outcomes (final project and course grades). This study used a quasi-experimental design to examine the relationship between the instructional delivery method (online vs. traditional classroom) and the course outcomes and satisfaction of students in selected sport management courses. Differences between instructional delivery method were found in motivational factors, satisfaction, and content knowledge. However, no significant differences were found with respect to final project and course grades. The findings from this study can assist sport management programs beginning to offer online education courses or looking to expand their online course offerings. The results demonstrate that instructional delivery method does not affect a student’s course outcomes in sport management courses, leaving them the ability to choose the educational delivery method best suited for their lifestyle and motivations.

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Megan B. Shreffler and Stephen D. Ross

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing has the potential to effectively contribute to revenue generation as sport organizations continue to create and implement marketing strategies to build and maintain relationships with consumers. While there has been a plethora of research on WOM marketing in the general business literature, the magnitude of the phenomenon must be examined separately in a sport setting because of the uniqueness of sport fans as consumers. This study examined the effect of the transference of personal experiences through WOM activity on brand associations, team identification, and the behavioral intentions of college basketball fans. Through a 4-stage data-collection approach in which both positive and negative messages were used, it was found that WOM activity has a significant impact on some of the measured constructs. The results of the study suggest that negative WOM has a greater impact on consumers than positive WOM, providing significant theoretical and managerial implications.

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Megan Beth Shreffler, Gin Presley and Samuel Schmidt

In 1981, Donald Sterling became the owner of the San Diego Clippers, an ownership that would prove troublesome for the National Basketball Association (NBA). During his 33 years as an owner of the Clippers, Sterling had four major lawsuits for racial discrimination filed against him and was accused of running the organization with the vision of a “southern plantation-type structure.” On April 25, 2014, the allegations of racist behavior were taken to a new level when Sterling was recorded by his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, proclaiming racist statements toward minorities. The audio recording was put online for the world to hear (mere hours after the conversation) leading to extensive public backlash. Sterling’s comments ultimately led to his demise in the NBA, as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced, 4 days after the incident, that Sterling received a $2.5 million fine and was banned from the Clippers organization and the NBA for life. Given the immediacy of the spreading of information on the incident, the NBA and Commissioner Silver knew they had to manage the crisis as swiftly as possible. This case examines Sterling’s involvement with the NBA, his history with racism, and the NBA’s responses to the leaked recording. Multiple models for crisis management and decision making are discussed to help readers develop their own plan for working through organizational crises.

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Megan B. Shreffler, Samuel H. Schmidt and James Weiner

Sales skills have become one of the most common requirements within sport management job postings. As thousands of graduates compete in a competitive career market, it is essential to better understand not only the needs of the industry but also the qualifications expected of sport management majors. The current study examines 481 colleges and universities as well as 10 sport management hiring managers to determine the prominence of sales courses within sport management curricula as well as industry perceptions of preferred qualifications. Results indicated 26.2% of sport management curricula in the United States offer a sales class, while 73.8% do not. Of those that do offer sales, 59% of the institutions make the course a requirement, while 41% offer the class as an elective. Qualitative findings from hiring managers included disagreement regarding degree-based value, the desire for prior face-to-face experience and a passion for sales as essential hiring qualifiers, and expectations of the industry/sales position as the largest pitfall of unsuccessful employees.

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Megan B. Shreffler, Meg G. Hancock and Samuel H. Schmidt

Unlike traditional media, which frames female athletes in sexualized manners and in socially accepted roles such as mothers and girlfriends, user-controlled social-media Web sites allow female athletes to control the image and brand they wish to portray to the public. Using Goffman’s theory of self-presentation, the current study aimed to investigate how female athletes were portraying themselves via their Twitter avatar pictures. A total of 207 verified Twitter avatars of female athletes from 6 sports were examined through a content analysis. The avatars from each player were coded using the following themes: athlete as social being, athlete as promotional figure, “selfie,” athletic competence, ambivalence, “girl next door,” and “sexy babe.” The results revealed that athletic competence was the most common theme, followed by selfie and athlete as social being. Thus, when women have the opportunity to control their image through social media they choose to focus on their athletic identities.

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Megan B. Shreffler, Adam R. Cocco, Regina G. Presley and Chelsea C. Police

Increasing student persistence rates is imperative in higher education, as less than 60% of those who initially enroll in college full-time finish with a certificate or degree. Educators must ensure students are engaged with many facets of their educational experiences. Two strategies through which educators can engage students in the classroom, approaches to learning and learning styles, were examined. Researchers then assessed the relationships between these strategies and student success in the course (quiz scores and overall course grade). Findings suggest that the self-reported learning styles of students enrolled in sport management courses have little impact on student success. Thus, support was not found for the learning styles hypothesis. However, approaches to learning warrant attention, as students who employ strategic study skills are likely to achieve significantly higher course outcomes compared with those who utilize deep or surface study skills in the sport management discipline.