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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, 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, 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.