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Elizabeth A. Taylor and Robin Hardin

This study examined the experiences and challenges of 10 female Division I athletic directors. Four themes emerged from the interviews: (a) lack of female role models; (b) females are not qualified to manage football programs; (c) scrutiny about (lack of) ability and experience, and (d) benefits of intercollegiate coaching experience. The findings of this study suggest these are the central causes for females’ inability to reach maximum career mobility in the intercollegiate athletics industry. Participants encouraged women trying to enter the intercollegiate athletics industry to find a mentor who can advocate for them as they navigate through their career. In addition, participants encouraged those entering the industry to gain experience in as many facets of the athletic department as possible.

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Timothy Mirabito, Robin Hardin, and Joshua R. Pate

The sports world’s near universal moratorium in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was abrupt and unprecedented. From professional leagues to youth sports, doors were closed to competitions and events to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The hiatus began at one of the busiest times on the calendar for sport, with the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League seasons concluding; the Women's National Basketball Association and National Football League drafts taking place; Major League Baseball's spring training nearing its conclusion; the Professional Golf Association and Ladies Professional Golf Association Tours starting their seasons; and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's marquee events, the Division-I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, set to begin. The suddenness of the interruption was met with a need by the various sport entities to engage their public with information about their respective responses. The statements that emerged on or after March 12—“the day the sports world stopped”—were not all the same. Many of the statements, in fact, were quite different. That was especially the case with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, whose governance structure and messaging practices hindered their ability to have a uniform response. The purpose of this essay was to examine the public messaging of sport leagues and organizations and to discuss the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of those public statements.

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Brody J. Ruihley and Robin L. Hardin

Fantasy sport joins competition, sport knowledge, and socialization into one interactive sport activity. This research specifically focuses on the socialization aspects of the activity. This analysis addresses overall satisfaction in fantasy sport, future intentions to return to the activity, and reasons why fantasy sport users (FSUs) do or do not use message boards. Data were collected from 322 FSUs in a questionnaire format using quantitative-scale items and qualitative open-ended questions. The results indicate 62.1% (n = 200) of the sample using message boards in their fantasy sport experience. Reasons for their use were based on the themes of logistical conversation, socializing, surveillance, and advice or opinion. FSUs chose not to use message boards for reasons based on no interest, information, time, and alternative options. Other results indicate that those using message boards have higher overall satisfaction and future use intentions than those not using message boards. This suggests that message boards enhance the fantasy sport experience.

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Robin Hardin, James Bemiller, and Joshua Pate

Experiential learning is a critical component to a college education in the area of sport management as students must enter the workforce with hands-on industry experience. One experiential learning tool is a cocurricular club that offers volunteer work experience for sport management majors. The University of Tennessee’s Partners in Sports is an example of a sport management cocurricular club that prepares students for working in the sport industry through volunteer experiences. The purpose of this study was to provide a governance and organizational framework of a student-operated sport management cocurricular club and explore how it fits into the Foster Five-Step Experiential Learning Model (Foster & Dollar, 2010). This study examines the governance, student involvement, leadership, opportunities, financials, and yearly activities of Partners in Sports and offers practical applications for each area. The exploration revealed that a cocurricular club fits on the Volunteer Exploration step of the Foster Five-Step Experiential Learning Model as it introduces students to the sport industry by offering experiential learning opportunities. Providing a cocurricular club allows sport management programs to maximize initial industry exposure to students.

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Robin Hardin, Elizabeth A. Taylor, and Emily Sleadd

Internships provide professional preparation for aspiring sport management professionals, because they allow for professional and personal growth, as well as for being exposed to a professional work environment. Unfortunately, part of the exposure to a professional work environment also means being subjected to its negative aspects, which include sexual harassment. The purpose of this study was to examine the sexual harassment experiences of female students in a sport management internship setting. Nearly 66% of the respondents had experienced some type of sexual harassment while completing an internship. Internship satisfaction was lower for those who had experienced sexual harassment, but experiencing sexual harassment had no impact on their intent to enter the sport management profession. Sport management educators, as well as internship supervisors, must work together to create a safe and professional environment for female students.

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Elizabeth A. Taylor, Gareth J. Jones, Kristy McCray, and Robin Hardin

The sport industry is ripe for issues of sexual harassment/assault due to the high value placed on masculine characteristics and the power differential between male leaders/coaches and female subordinates/athletes. This culture permeates sport organizations, as issues of sexual harassment/assault committed by athletes and coaches/administrators are commonplace and have recently been mishandled, raising questions about effective education. This study examined the relationship between education on sexual harassment/assault and the endorsement of rape myths by sport management students. Results indicate that training on sexual harassment/assault in sport management classrooms is low and is potentially ineffective at curbing rape myth acceptance, suggesting current curricula are insufficient. These findings have both theoretical and practical contributions related to how sport management departments can prepare future professionals to change the culture of sport.

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Natalie M. Welch, Jessica L. Siegele, and Robin Hardin

Women continue to struggle to reach senior-level leadership positions in collegiate sports, and ethnic minorities face the challenges due to their ethnicity as well. This research examined the experiences and challenges of ethnic minority women who are collegiate athletic directors at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). Semistructured interviews were conducted with eight participants using intersectionality as a theoretical framework. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) intersectional challenges, (b) questions of competence, and (c) professional support. The women were continually battling the idea of having to prove themselves and negotiating the challenges of being an ethnic minority woman working in collegiate athletics. They credit their professional networks as a valuable resource during their career progression. The women noted that sexism was more prevalent in their experiences than issues related to their ethnicity. The masculine athletic director stereotype persists in collegiate sports, but the findings of this study can contest the notion of a standard leadership identity that has long been perceived as a White man.

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Jeffrey A. Graham, Robin L. Hardin, and James Bemiller

The News-Sentinel Open presented by Pilot is an event on the Web.com Tour. The Web.com Tour began in 1990 with the name of the Ben Hogan Tour and has transitioned through several title sponsors, taking its current name in June 2012. The tour is the developmental tour for the PGA Tour and the primary means for professional golfers to earn playing privileges on the PGA Tour. Tournaments are 72-hole stroke play events featuring between 144 and 156 golfers. This specific tournament is staged in Knoxville, Tennessee, and is one of only three original tour stops from the inaugural season in 1990. In an effort to measure economic impact in the greater Knoxville area resulting from the tournament weekend, the News-Sentinel Open has commissioned an economic impact study. This case study challenges students to analyze data collected from the economic impact study commissioned by the tour organizers. By engaging with this case study, and its accompanying data and results, students will gain insight into best practices of planning, conducting, and analyzing an ethical economic impact study.