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Lisa A. Kihl and Vicki Schull

The meaning and nature of athlete representation in sport governance is broad and goes beyond formalistic delegate models and voting rights accounts. This article explores the meaning and nature of representation in the context of intercollegiate sport governance. Interviews were conducted with intercollegiate athlete representatives and athlete representative administrative advisors to gain an understanding of how and why athlete representatives carried out their roles. Findings revealed that the meaning and motivations of athlete representation were based on the institutionalized deliberative democratic governance system. Representation meant standing and acting for the power of the athlete voice and having the capacity to generate the athlete voice into legislation and decision making. The performative role of representatives involved self-accountability, where they accepted responsibility to engage in a deliberative process of collective decision making. Implications for practice and future research on athlete representation in a deliberative democratic sport governance system are presented.

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Lisa Kihl, Sally Shaw and Vicki Schull

This study examined organizational processes involved in a merger between two gender affiliated intercollegiate athletic departments. A conceptual framework incorporating the concepts of gendered social processes, and the transition and integration stages of organizational mergers framed the study. Organizational political activity is perceived as a gendered process in merging groups. Interviews with 57 stakeholders of a university athletic department were conducted. The data analysis showed that gender politics identified in the transition stage involved stakeholders’ emotional reactions. In the integration stage, gender politics were evident during the social processes of assessing trust and loyalties, and cultural reengineering. Practical implications for merger facilitation are noted in terms of considering the necessity of merging, the hiring of outside leadership, and implementing a communication plan. Overall, our study furthers our understanding of the gender politics involved in merging gender affiliated sport organizations.

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Vicki D. Schull and Lisa A. Kihl

The purpose of this study is to examine the gendered nature of sport leadership by analyzing female college athletes’ perceptions of leadership associated with sport coaching. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 female college athletes participating in NCAA Division I team sports to understand their perceptions of leadership associated with coaching and to examine the gendered nature of their leadership constructions. Findings indicated two gendered leadership attributes were associated with coaching (i.e., human capital and empathy) in the context of women’s college sport. While both men and women were cited as ideal leaders based on their human capital and ability to express empathy, these leadership attributes were evaluated and applied differently to male and female coaches. The gendered nature of human capital and empathy contributed to the further privileging of men and certain forms of dominant masculinities over women and forms of femininities within notions of sport leadership and coaching. This study contributes to the gender and sport literature and offers practical implications focused on individual and interpersonal strategies.