Church & Sport in Alabama

Authors: Joseph C. Spears, Jr.

Corresponding Author:
Joseph C. Spears, Jr., Ed. D
Assistant Professor Sport Management
Faculty Athletic Representative
Bowie State University
15402 General Lafayette Blvd
Brandywine, MD 20613
Phone: (301) 860-3778
jcspears@bowiestate.edu

Dr. Joseph C. Spears, Jr. is an assistant professor of Sport Management at both Bowie State and Liberty Universities. At Bowie State, he also serves as faculty athletic rep and chaplain of the football team. Dr. Spears has an Ed.D in sports management from the United States Sports Academy and has completed a masters in higher education from Morgan State, a masters in divinity from Virginia Union and a B.A degree in Christian education from Logos Christian. College. Dr. Spears understands the need and importance of developing families and communities spiritually, socially and economically. To that end, Dr. Spears utilizes sports as a framework to partner with other community organizations and leaders to provide educational and informational programs that promote the well-being of the entire community. His sports background is long-distance road, trail running, and mountain biking and boxing.

Church & Sport in Alabama

ABSTRACT
Can a Sports Ministry program positively impact the church’s mission among its members? Previous research with commitment theory in psychology as it relates to sports and religious activity (2, 19) indicates that what benefits that church members get out of attending church activities will impact their frequency of attendance and commitment to their church. Sports activities have long been used as a tool to bring people into the church and increase fellowship and evangelism (11). To date, there has been little empirical research into the specific benefits of a sports ministry in the opinion of the church leaders who have sports activities in their church.

Keywords: transformative, sports ministry, benefits, church growth

INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this study was to investigate Church leaders’ perceptions of the benefits of utilizing a Sports Ministry Program within the African Methodist Episcopal Churches of Alabama. A survey questionnaire was developed by the researcher to access the perceptions of the benefits of utilizing a sports ministry within the churches. Prior to this date, no surveys of church leaders’ opinions on the impacts of sports ministries in predominantly African American churches have been published. Church leaders of AME churches in Alabama were asked about sports ministry and its potential impact in eight areas: 1) overall benefit, 2) growth and economic impact, 3) fellowship, 4) evangelism, 5) helping spread the Gospel, 6) teach character development, hard work, and respect, 7) discipleship, and 8) training future leaders. Most of the church leaders who responded indicated that they saw positive value of sports ministry in all 8 areas. Establishing a sports ministry has the potential impact of not only improving youth commitment to the church, it also can have positive effects on the social relationships of participants with their coaches and peers, as well as improving self-esteem (6). This research article will disclose church leaders’ perceptions of the benefits of utilizing a sports ministry program within the African Methodist Episcopal Churches of Alabama.

How is sport related to scripture?
Henry Ward Beecher, a muscular Christian, was an outspoken supporter of the benefits of sports that, “nothing could be more properly in the sphere of Christian activity than the application of the cause of physical health and community” (3). Beecher also stated, “If general health is not religion, if it is not Christ, it is John the Baptist; it goes before him” (18).

The Church has long used Paul’s (10) four primary sporting metaphors to connect religious and secular ideas. Paul wrote:

  1. to the Philippians of pressing towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, (Phil. 3:14);
  2. to the Corinthians of running the race to obtain the prize (1 Cor. 9:24);
  3. to the Ephesians of wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the dark ages (Ephesians 6:12,)
  4. to Timothy having fought the good fight of faith, and to finish the course for the crown of heaven is awaiting him (2 Tim 4:7-8).

There is a historical and Biblical basis for using sport as both a metaphor for spiritual growth and as a manifestation of the Christian ideal. These examples show the close relationship between sport and spreading the word of the Gospel, and evangelism. If sports can be a manifestation of Christian ideals, it can be an effective tool for evangelism through teaching how the leisure activity of sports can complement and enhance the spiritual experience.

Historical precedent for using sports to grow the church and spread the Gospel
American Christian institutions saw the potential for using sports to grow the church and spread the Gospel starting as early as the 19th century [e.g. 7, 16,] In 1891, Dr. James Naismith created the game of basketball to help him spread the Gospel as part of his position at the YMCA (16). The focus of muscular Christians such as James Naismith was to use athletics to spread the Gospel message (11). Sports was ways to reach diverse audiences that may have not otherwise have attended church events (14).

Since the early twentieth century, intercollegiate sports have served as an important recruiting tool for bringing students (especially male student) to enroll in evangelical colleges and universities (e.g.8,15, 17, 9, 1, 13,11, 5). Universities affiliated with a variety of denominations have used sports to recruit not only student athletes, but also to expand the school’s reach to spectators of sports. (e.g. 12, 4). Sporting events provide a unique opportunity to bring in new participants and spectators who may not otherwise have come into the church.

Both the muscular Christians of a bygone era (e.g. 11) and modern-day universities. (e.g. 12; 4) have used sports to bring people into the church. American church leaders have realized the power of sports to grow their ministries and use familiar and entertaining sports activities to spread the Gospel. Let us now examine the ways in which sports ministries can benefit the churches that sponsor them.

Subjects
Forty-four Alabama A.M.E. church participants were recruited from 18 counties in the State of Alabama. All 44 surveys were completed resulting in a participation rate of 100%. Participants consisted of 37 males and 7 females.

Methods
The purpose of this study was to investigate church leaders’ perceptions of the benefits of utilizing a sports ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Churches of Alabama. A list of churches representing the population of interest was identified from the African Methodist Episcopal Churches of Alabama official registry mailing list. The survey questionnaire titled “Church Leaders Perceptions of Youth Sports” utilized a Likert scale design to assess attitudes of church leaders (N=44) regarding the impact of church sponsored youth sports programs. A non-random sample of this population was made based on the following criteria: 1) the church had an active sports ministry, 2) the church held regular services other than just on Sunday (for example, a Wednesday night bible study in addition to Sunday service), and 3) the church regularly hosted social activities or other types of ministries in addition to regular church services.

Once these criteria for sample selection were identified, five pastors were selected for a pilot study of the questionnaire to test whether the questions were clear and whether any changes needed to be made. An additional five pastors were chosen to be “expert” reviewers to look at the results of the pilot questionnaire and evaluate the questionnaire as additional reviewers. Once the questionnaire was finalized, a sample of forty-four Alabama A.M.E. churches was selected based on the three criteria explained previously. Of the six A.M.E. conferences across the state of Alabama, there were eight churches selected from each of five conferences and four churches were selected from the remaining conference. The survey was then distributed through survey monkey to church leaders at each of the identified sample of forty-four A.M.E. churches across the state of Alabama. After the respondents were contacted by the researcher, there was a 100% response rate and all forty-four questionnaires were returned to the researcher.

Each church leader participant was asked for demographic information including their gender, age, years of experience as a church leader, church leader participation in sports during their K-12 years, and highest educational level obtained. Participants were also asked for demographic information about the church that they served: age of the church, number of K-8 children that attend their church, county where church is located, and questions about the status of the current or future sports ministry program with questions about the specific sports involved. After the demographics information was completed, participants completed the Sports Ministry Impact (SMI) survey. The SMI consisted of 8 questions, each scored on a 5-point Likert-type scale with descriptors from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree”. Each item also included a comment field in case the participant wished to add more information. The SMI questions are listed below, and they solicited the church leaders’ feedback on the effects that the sports ministry had on the church in areas such as fellowship, economic impact, evangelism and character development.

  1. Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly benefit the Church.
  2. Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly impact the growth and economic impact of the Church.
  3. Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly impact the fellowship within the Church.
  4. Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly stimulate evangelism and outreach for the Church.
  5. Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program can significantly help spread the Gospel and the Lords Word.
  6. Utilizing a Sports Ministry Program can significantly teach character development, hard work and respect for fellow man.
  7. Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program can significantly be a useful tool for discipleship.
  8. Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program can significantly be an avenue for servant-hood and training strategy for future Church leaders.

The surveys were administered using Survey Monkey and the results were downloaded to IBM SPSS Statistics version16 for analysis. Descriptive statistics for each item were calculated, along with the Cronbach’s alpha for the entire scale.

RESULTS
There were eleven types of sports programs that were being utilized at the targeted A.M.E. churches at time of the survey (see Table 1), however the most common sports were basketball (N = 11), boxing (N = 6), and baseball / softball (N = 6).
Thirty-seven (n=37, 84.1%) of the church leaders were male and six (n = 6, 13.6%) were female. One respondent did not report their gender. Thirty-nine (88.6%) of the church leaders reported that they participated in sports at the K-12 level, while five participants (11.4%) reported that they did not participate in sports. When asked to approximate the number of children K-8th who attended their church, the mean estimated number of children was 34.6 with a standard deviation of 27.9. The median estimated number of children at the church was 30 and the mode was 20. The results of the additional demographics questions are shown below in Tables 1 – 5.

Table 1. Sports ministry programs being utilized in the African Methodist Episcopal Churches of Alabama at the time of the survey
___________________________________________________________________
(N = Number of Churches Using the Sport Listed)

Sport N
Basketball 11
Boxing 6
Baseball / softball 6
Golf 4
Football 3
Soccer 2
Frisbee golf 2
Cheerleading 1
Aerobics 1
FCA 1
Track  

__________________________________________________________________
We see here when asked which sport is preferred, again basketball is given preference.

Table 2. Self-reported age ranges of church leader survey respondents
__________________________________________________________________

Age group N Percentage
21-30 4 9.1
31-40 8 18.2
41-50 12 27.3
51-60 13 29.5
60+ 6 13.6
Not reported 1 2.3

__________________________________________________________________
Participants were recruited from counties in the state of Alabama. All 44 surveys were completed resulting in a participation rate of 100%.

Table 3. Number of years since each church in the survey had been established
__________________________________________________________________

Years established as a church N Percentage
0-5 3 6.8
6-10 1 2.3
11-15 1 2.3
16-20 1 2.3
21+ 37 84.1
Not reported 1 2.3

__________________________________________________________________
Their respective churches were over twenty years or more.

Table 4. Number of years as a church leader of respondents at the time of the survey
__________________________________________________________________

Number of years as church leader N Percentage
0-5 4 9.1
6-10 12 27.3
11-15 5 11.4
16-20 5 11.4
21+ 14 31.8
Not reported 4 9.1

__________________________________________________________________
Most had ten years or more in the ministry.

Table 5. Highest reported educational level of the church leader respondents
__________________________________________________________________

Highest educational level reported N Percentage
High School 7 15.9
Associates 4 9.1
Bachelors 13 29.5
Masters 14 31.8
Ph.D. 2 4.5
D. Min 4 9.1

__________________________________________________________________
Most have had some participation in sports, with at least a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The Sports Ministry Impact (SMI) survey was scored using a 5-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = don’t know, 4 = agree and 5 = strongly agree. The results from each item are summarized below. Three survey responses were excluded from analysis because their negative ratings (1 = strongly disagree) on the items did not match the positive content of their comment section, so it is believed that they erroneously filled out the 1-5 Likert type scale. The resulting sample size for the SMI survey was 41 respondents. The Sports Ministry Impact survey had excellent internal consistency, with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.958. A total Sports Ministry Impact score was calculated by adding the numeric responses of the eight items for each participant.

Table 6. Item full text and descriptive statistics for each item

Item

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Don’t Know

Agree

Strongly Agree

Mean

Standard Deviation

Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly benefit the Church.

4 (8%)

0 (0%)

6 (12%)

20 (40%)

20 (40%)

3.95

1.20

Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly impact the growth and economic impact of the Church.

3 (6%)

2 (4%)

11(22%)

22(44%)

12(24%)

3.80

1.08

Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly impact the fellowship within the Church.

2(4%)

0(0%)

3(6%)

24(48%)

21(42%)

4.22

0.94

Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program would significantly stimulate evangelism and outreach for the Church.

2(4%)

1(2%)

3(6%)

22(44%)

22(44%)

4.20

1.03

Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program can significantly help spread the Gospel and the Lords Word.

2(4%)

0(0%)

1(2%)

24(48%)

23(46%)

4.27

0.92

Utilizing a Sports Ministry Program can significantly teach character development, hard work and respect for fellow man.

2(4%)

0(0%)

0(0%)

16(32%)

32(64%)

4.54

0.92

Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program can significantly be a useful tool for discipleship.

2(4%)

0(0%)

0(0%)

23(46%)

25(50%)

4.39

0.92

Utilizing a Sport Ministry Program can significantly be an avenue for servant-hood and training strategy for future Church leaders.

2(2%)

0(0%)

2(4%)

24(48%)

22(44%)

4.27

0.95

Eight questions on the survey assessed these perceptions in 18 counties in the state of Alabama.

There was no significant correlation between the estimated number of children K-8th that attended the church and the total Sports Ministry Impact score (r = -0.285, p = 0.071). This was one of the few variables tested that approached significance. Otherwise, the Sports Ministry Impact score did not show a significant difference due to the gender of the church leaders [t(38) = -0.633, p = 0.531], the church leader’s age group [F(4,35) = 1.714, p = 0.169], how long the respondent had been a church leader [F(4,32) = 0.710, p = 0.591], the age of the church [F(4,35) = 0.291, p = 0.882], whether the church leaders participated in sports themselves in K-12 [t(39) = 0.560, p = 0.579], the highest educational level attained by the church leaders [F(5,35) = 0.450, p = 0.810], or whether the church utilized a sports ministry program [t(14.735) = -0.681, p = .507]. These analyses may have lacked the power to find significant effects due to the low sample size relative to the number of groups in some of the analysis. The lack of significant differences in these demographic groups indicates that the Sports Ministry Impact score was similarly high in many different AME church environments.

A qualitative analysis of the 48 free response comments given by the survey respondents revealed that 37 of the 48 comments (77.1%) were positive towards the benefits of a sports ministry program to the church, 1 was negative about sports ministries (2.1%), and 10 were neutral (20.8%). There were four dominant themes of the responses about the positive effects of a sports ministry: 1) bringing people into the church that otherwise would not be there, 2) improving fellowship among the youth and the adults in the church, 3) the character building opportunities of teamwork and leadership, and 4) the opportunity for spreading the gospel but only if prayer and scripture is included in the sports program. The one negative response referred to “a poor witness on the part of a few of the participants”. The neutral statements mostly focused on general statements about church involvement that were not directly related to sports ministry, but there were several responses that were cautious about the idea of a sports ministry, questioning whether there was enough demand for a sports ministry to result in a benefit to the church.

A sample of positive comments of church leaders on the benefits of sports ministry to the church: “improve cohesiveness of the youth in our church”, “help bridge the gap between the church and community”, “support the youth by giving a God-based activity to participate in outside of the sanctuary”, “help with leadership, teamwork, character and respect”, “give the kids who didn’t make the team at school a chance to compete” “As sports continue to gain the interest of the youth of our community. We must draw the connection of not only being a winner on the court but allowing the athletic or future athletics to understand what it is to be a winner with Christ. Through such ministry, the church can fulfill the Great Commission. From that the church sees growth-not only from the youth-but with families. They have not only won the soul of the child but of the family, which in most cases are three or more.”, “ the researcher personally has seen a lot of kids come to know Christ through sports ministry, that may never have stepped into a regular church service.”

DISCUSSION
Most of the church leaders surveyed had a positive impression of the possible impact of sports ministries, independent of the age, gender, or other demographics of the church leader or the church at large. There was low variability in the responses to the Sports Ministry Impact survey, indicating that sports ministry may have a positive impact on AME churches regardless of whether the church is a long-established church or a newer congregation. The responses to the survey were overwhelmingly positive, with church leaders expressing positive opinions about the effects of sports ministry programs on various aspects of church participation and engagement. Future research should focus on the direct effects of sports ministry on church attendance, finances, and engagement. A before and after research study with measures of church attendance and monetary giving, as well as surveys completed by the sports ministry participants, would add another layer of important data to this line of study.

Recommendations: Best Practices for Sports Ministry based on previous research
In 1999, Bronfenner, as cited in Fraser-Thomas et al. (6), proposed the following operational model for activities that effectively encourage development in adolescents: a) a person must engage in activities, b) activities must take place on a fairly regular basis, over an extended period of time, c) activities must take place over a long enough period of time to become increasingly more complex, and d) activities must involve long-term reciprocal relationships” (p.5-6).

Fraser-Thomas et al. (6) report that some of the negative effects of youth sports participation such as early dropout from the sport, physical injury and psychological stress can be lessened by providing a more diverse set of early sports experiences rather than focusing on a single sport at an early age. Fraser-Thomas et al. (6) also emphasized the importance of social relationships in promoting positive outcomes for youth athletes- participants experienced more enjoyment and benefits from participation when parents were supportive but did not pressure the youths. As for the relationships between athlete and coach, there were better developmental outcomes when the coaches focused on improving the athletes’ technique using reinforcement rather than punishment (8). Ultimately the transformative power of sports can attract people from all walks of life and affect human life and relationships at virtually every level.

CONCLUSIONS
Based upon the surveys collected and the data analyzed, the following conclusions were made regarding the research questions posed in this study: There are forty- four African Methodist Episcopal Churches in Alabama that are utilizing a Sports’ Ministry Program, and that meet more than two Sundays a month. There were several programs that were currently being utilized, however the ones that are most favorably being utilized are: basketball, boxing, and baseball / softball, golf, football, soccer, Frisbee golf, cheerleading, aerobics, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and track. Amazing, though these number of sports were being utilized according to table 6 the questions directly dealing with social areas such as fellowship, character development, evangelism, leadership, etc. more agreed or strongly agreed. On the other hand, the two questions that dealt with the growth and impact didn’t lean so much towards agreed and strongly agreed.

Many either agreed or strongly agreed that a Sports’ Ministry would significantly impact the A.M.E. Church. Some commented that many youths have come to know Christ through their sports’ ministry that may have never attended a regular church service. Others stated that a sports’ ministry has allowed physical activities with religious teachings and principles. Sports’ Ministry has helped in leadership, teamwork and character development. Sports’ Ministry has helped with bridging the gap with the church and the community. Sports’ Ministry gives the youth that didn’t make the team at school a chance to compete. Sports’ Ministry has improved the cohesiveness of the youth and the church. Finally, one church leader mentioned the importance that Sports’ Ministry has played in gaining the interest of the youth in their community. In addition to having the ability to demonstrate playing well in competition, but the ability to have that same perseverance and discipline in Christ can be shown. Through this venue the church is fulfilling the Great Commission. Winning a youth to Christ creates opportunities to impact the whole family.

APPLICATION IN SPORT
Christ like character development is taught as part of becoming an excellent athlete.

Can the utilization of a Sports’ significantly be a useful tool for Church discipleship? Many had discovered that people who would normally not come to church would come to a sporting event. Sports’ can model the character of Christ, just like the disciples strived to do, in a setting that people are accustomed to in everyday life. The Church leaders in addition perceived that utilizing a Sport can significantly be an avenue for servant hood and a training strategy for future Church leaders. All the leaders either agreed or strongly agreed that Sports’ in the local church is a great tool for developing leaders. It provides people the opportunity to serve the body of Christ with a new avenue for service. In serving the body of Christ, members can tap into their gifts of leadership that would ultimately impact the church. Sports’ can be a specialized tool for the local church, and something that can be found among the urban or rural, Christian or Muslims, rich or poor. Since Sports is so embedded in our society today, it is something that can be an ally rather than an enemy. There remains a need to explore some of these oppositions and to teach the relationship between Sports and Religion. This relationship can possibly impact the growth of the Church and change lives. Sports can give the church an available opportunity to fulfill the great commission “go into the entire world and preach the gospel.”

Many churches consist of an older generation, and major lines of racial divisions and other biased attributes. It will behoove the church to become more creative in reaching all people for the Kingdom, “for God gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes” (John 3:16). What better way to begin to tear down these divided walls than through Sports? Because this is not happening, churches are dying both physically and spiritually. The apostle Paul describes it like this, “I am willing to be a Greek for the Greeks, a Jew for the Jews, that I might win some for Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:22, KJV)

The researcher sees Sports as the vehicle to ignite a major impact on the spiritual, physical and financial growth of the Churches of Alabama. The researcher says the State of Alabama because of a very important observation. Alabama, out of all other States the researcher has ever visited shares a very strong passion and loyalty to Sports. People will literally fight you over Auburn vs. Alabama football game. Many younger athletes all dream of one day making it big in the professional leagues, not just them their parents do as well. We see it whenever we turn our television on or, if we go to any college game throughout Alabama. The researcher truly believes that if the AME Churches in Alabama will ever have a chance to resurrect themselves, it must be now. The researcher purposes to you that Sports is that gateway to that resurrection.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This article could have not have been accomplished without the encouragement and support from all my children; specifically, the researcher wants to thank my wife Shelia for the support and dedication. She never complained but was very supportive in my pursuit of writing this article. The researcher is truly grateful for her and wanted to tell her thanks. The researcher truly considered this project as a team effort. Finally, if it was not for the cooperation and encouragement of all the church leaders who answered the survey in a timely manner, the research could have not been completed.

REFERENCES
(1) Boyle, R. H. (1970, November 30). Oral Roberts: Small but oh, my. Sports Illustrated, 33, 22.

(2) Carpenter, P. (2001). The importance of a church youth club’s sport provision to continued church involvement. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 25(3), 283-300.

(3) Clark, C. E. & Beecher, H. W. (1978). Spokesman for a middle-class america. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

(4) Coakley, J.J (1998). Sport in society: issues and controversies. St. Louis, MO: Mosbey-Year Book, p.3.

(5) Eitzen, D.S., & Sage, G.H. (1997). Sociology of north America sport. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill., p.3.

(6) Fraser-Thomas, J. L., Cote, J., & Deakin, J. (2005). Youth sport programs: an avenue to foster positive youth development. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 10(1), 19-40.

(7) Garner, J. (1973). Recreation and sports ministry. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman.

(8) Grubb, N. & Studd, C. T. (1982). Grubb commentary. Ft. Washington, PA: Christian Liberty Press. University Press.

(9) Hopkins, H. (1951). History of the y.m.c.a in north america. New York, NY: Association Press.

(10) King James Version, (2002) Holy bible, Thomas Nelson Bibles.

(11) Ladd, T., &, Mathisen, J.A. (1999). Muscular christianity, evangelical protestants and the development of american sport. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, pp. 215-241.

(12) Ledgerman, D. (1989). Liberty university seeks success in football to spread fundamental message. Chronicle of Higher Education, 15, A29, 32.

(13) Lee, J.W. (2004). An overview of the reciprocating relationship between sport and religion. Smart Online Journey, 1(1), 26-28.

(14) Long, K. T. (1998). The revival of 1857-58: interpreting an american religious awakening. New York, NY: Oxford University.

(15) Morse, R. C. (1918). My life with young men: fifty years in young men christian association. New York, NY: Association Press.

(16) Naismith, Dr. J. (2002). Kansas sports hall of fame. Retrieved January 21, 2009, from www.kshof.org/inductees/naismith.html.

(17) Ober, C. (1891). First international convention of the student volunteer movement for foreign missions. Boston, MA: T.O. Metcalf.

(18) Ober, C.H. & Wishard, L.D. (1927). Projector of world movements. New York, NY: Association Press

(19) Wielhouwer, P. W. (2004). The impact of church activities and socialization on african-american religious commitment. Social Science Quarterly (Wiley-Blackwell), 85(3), 767-792.

2018-08-27T15:37:16+00:00September 20th, 2018|Research, Sports Management|Comments Off on Church & Sport in Alabama

Sports Marketing & Publicity Efforts in Division II Intercollegiate Athletics

Authors: Robert Zullo

Corresponding Author:
Robert Zullo, PhD
Westminster College
319 South Market Street
New Wilmington, PA 16172
zullorh@westminster.edu
724-946-6835

Dr. Robert Zullo is an Associate Professor of Business and Sports Management at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, located between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. He is also Program Coordinator for the Sports Management program within the School of Business and previously worked in intercollegiate athletics at the Division I level.

Sports Marketing & Publicity Efforts in Division II Intercollegiate Athletics

ABSTRACT
While much research has been conducted on sports marketing efforts within Division I intercollegiate athletics and outsourcing sports marketing within Division I intercollegiate athletics, there are limited studies examining sports marketing within Division II athletics beyond factors impacting Division II football attendance or basketball attendance. Previous Division II scholarship has also focused on burnout, compliance, gambling, risk management, sports information work-family conflict and student-athlete development. This research examined what resources were allocated towards marketing within Division II athletic departments to foster publicity efforts, revenue generation and community relations. It also examined which sports are prioritized as well as the preferred inventory for sponsors given that the Division II athletic programs are traditionally not afforded the same media opportunities as their Division I counterparts. Collected data was analyzed along with qualitative responses. The findings and recommendations are valuable to Division II athletic directors, administrators, presidents and conference commissioners to help discern best practices as well as those in academia to afford them a focused Division II perspective given the emphasis continuously placed on Division I sports marketing operations.
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2018-08-27T11:58:46+00:00September 13th, 2018|Research, Sports Management|Comments Off on Sports Marketing & Publicity Efforts in Division II Intercollegiate Athletics

Athletic Training in Popular Sports Films: More than khakis, a polo, and a roll of tape?

Authors: Dr. Lindsey H. Schroeder, Dr. Alana N. Seaman

Corresponding Author:
Lindsey H. Schroeder Ed.D., LAT, ATC, CES
601 S. College Rd.
Wilmington NC, 28403-5956
schroederl@uncw.edu
910-962-7188

Dr. Lindsey Schroeder is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Athletic Training Program. She is a licensed and certified athletic trainer and is also an alumnus of the United States Sports Academy. Dr. Alana Seaman, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Recreation, Sport Leadership & Tourism Management Program.

Athletic Training in Popular Sports Films: More than khakis, a polo, and a roll of tape?

ABSTRACT
Athletic trainers are vital to sport in the United States. These licensed, highly qualified, multi-skilled healthcare professionals provide essential medical care, emergency response, and advocacy for athletes in a myriad of sport settings. Their services are crucial to athlete health. However, all bachelor level athletic training programs in the United States will be replaced with a master’s curriculum by 2022, and in turn, the field will be forced to compete for students with other health care professions requiring the same prerequisites and level of training. Evidence suggests that a majority of athletic training students are drawn to the field because of its links to sports, yet public misconceptions about and a lack of respect for the field have been identified as factors keeping potential students from pursuing the profession. Given that film and television are widely recognized as powerful influencers of popular conceptions about professions, and as a result, career choice, particularly within other healthcare fields, a thorough understanding of how athletic trainers and the field of athletic training are depicted across these popular mediums is essential in working towards correcting misconceptions about the field and revealing how future professionals may be recruited into newly developed master’s degree programs. In order to provide a clear picture of how the profession is portrayed in on screen, a content analysis approach was employed in the examination of 20 of the most popular sport-themed films of the last 60 years. While a number of themes emerged, overall findings suggest that athletic trainers and the profession of athletic training were narrowly depicted on screen in turn perpetuating misconceptions, and inaccurate and outdated stereotypes about the profession, and minimizing the importance of athletic trainers in a sport setting.
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2018-08-27T11:18:58+00:00September 6th, 2018|Research, Sports Management|Comments Off on Athletic Training in Popular Sports Films: More than khakis, a polo, and a roll of tape?

Competitive Balance in NCAA “Power Conferences:” The Case of Men’s and Women’s Basketball

Authors: Martin M. Perline, Jeffrey S. Noble, G. Clayton Stoldt; Wichita State University

Corresponding Author:
Jeff Noble, Ed.D
Department of Sport Management
Wichita State University
1845 Fairmount
Wichita, KS 67260-0127
jeffrey.noble@wichita.edu
(316)978-5442

Competitive Balance in the NCAA “Power Conferences:” The Case of Men’s and Women’s Basketball

ABSTRACT
The uncertainty of outcome hypothesis as well as past research has suggested that unless there is competitive balance among teams fans lose interest and revenue declines. It follows that the greater the sources of revenue the more likely one would find competitive balance. Using the standard deviation, as well as the range of winning percentages, the authors of this study compared over a seven year period the competitive balance of the NCAA “Power 5” conferences’ men’s basketball teams, a high revenue sport, to the competitive balance of the NCAA “Power 5” conferences’ women’s basketball teams, a lower revenue sport. The results of this study indicated considerably more competitive balance among the men’s teams than among the women’s teams, thus supporting the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis, as well as past research on the topic. The fact that women’s basketball is a lower source of athletic revenue when compared to men’s basketball suggests competitive balance in that sport has historically been a lower priority than in the highest level sports. This becomes an important issue as efforts are continually being made to enhance intercollegiate women’s sports.
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2018-07-12T16:13:54+00:00August 16th, 2018|Sports Management|Comments Off on Competitive Balance in NCAA “Power Conferences:” The Case of Men’s and Women’s Basketball

NBA Players’ Pay and Performance: What Counts?

Authors: Kevin Sigler and William Compton

Corresponding Author:
Kevin Sigler, PhD
601 College Road
Department of Economics and Finance
Cameron School of Business
UNC Wilmington
Wilmingtomn, NC 28403
siglerk@uncw.edu
910-200-2076

Kevin Sigler is Professor of Finance in the Cameron School of Business, UNC Wilmington

William Compton is Professor of Finance in the Cameron School of Business, UNC Wilmington

NBA Players’ Pay and Performance: What Counts?

ABSTRACT
The stars in the National Basketball Association (NBA) are paid handsomely. In the 2017-18 season Stephen Curry received over $34.7 million and LeBron James made over $33.3 million on the court. Prior studies show that players are paid for points scored, rebounds, experience, assists, blocks, field goal percentage and fouls. But the NBA is evolving. Teams over the years have gone from seldom shooting the 3-point shot to making it the focus of their offense. Analytics that first received much attention in baseball with the money ball phenomenon are now in all sports as well. This study accounts for the change in the game by not only including significant variables from prior studies but by also incorporating the 3-point shot and the Hollinger player efficiency rating (PER) in analyzing what counts in determining NBA players’ pay. The researchers find that points, player experience (years in the league), assists, rebounds and fouls are statistically significant factors when it comes to paying NBA players but we also discover that 3-point shots made and Hollinger’s PER are insignificant. In addition, the researchers perform a backward stepwise regression eliminating insignificant independent variables one at a time (least significant each time) until the model includes only significant variables. Again, the same variables are statistically significant although the statistics for the stepwise model improve over the original model.
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2018-06-19T13:57:59+00:00August 2nd, 2018|Commentary, Sports Management|Comments Off on NBA Players’ Pay and Performance: What Counts?