Preferred Behaviors Used by Coaches in Female Middle School Athletic Programs

Authors: Raymond Tucker

Corresponding Author:
Raymond Tucker, D.S.M, CSCS, FMSL1, USATFL1, USAWLP-1
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
University of Houston at Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, Texas 77901
Phone: (361)-570-4381
rtbills2001@gmail.com

Raymond Tucker is an assistant professor of Kinesiology at the University of Houston at Victoria. He is a graduate of the United States Sports Academy with a Doctorate in Sports Management, and he is a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a certified coach by the United States Track and Field Association, United States Weightlifting Federation, and Functional Movement Systems. He is certified by the state board of educator certification in Texas in health grades (EC-12) and secondary physical education (6-12).

Preferred Behaviors Used by Coaches in Female Middle School Athletic Programs

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to determine female athlete’s perception of the behavior styles of leadership used by their coaches in female middle school athletic programs. The average of these perceptions can be viewed as the actual behavior style of leadership coaches used in the treatment of their athletes. The study compared behavior styles of leadership used by coaches in female middle school athletic programs at three different middle schools. This study also compares coaches from the three different middle schools to determine if the behavior styles of leadership used are similar amongst coaches.

Data for this study was collected using the Leadership Scale of Sports (LSS) questionnaire with the permission of Dr. Packianthan Chelladurai Ph.D at Ohio State University. The questionnaire measures an athlete’s perception of their coach’s behavior style of leadership and consists of forty items that all begin with “My Coach.” These forty items represent five dimensions of leadership behavior in sports and operationally defined in the Leadership Scale of Sports.

The scoring of the Leadership Scale of Sports questionnaire was based on an ordinal scale, five-category scale that consists of a numerical number: 1. Always; 2. Often (about 75 % of the time); 3. Occasionally (50% of the time); 4. Seldom (about 25% of the time); 5 Never. Each of the forty items on the Leadership Scale of Sports questionnaire represents one of the five latent dimensions of leadership (2). These five dimensions were
1. Autocratic Behavior
2. Democratic Behavior
3. Positive Feedback
4. Social Support Behavior
5. Training and Instruction

The athletic coordinators of each school were each given instructions in person prior to the questionnaire being mailed. The questionnaires were sent back in a self- addressed stamped envelope. Athletic coordinators at the respective middle schools received communication in person, phone, and e-mail. The data was analyzed quantitatively by using the 15.0 version of the SPSS statistical software. Due to the ordinal and theoretically categorical nature of the LSS scale, nonparametric statistical methods (i.e., a test of medians rather than means) was used in all data analyses. Specially, the Mann-Whitney U, Kruskal-Wallis, and multi-way contingency table (log-linear) nonparametric ANOVA tests was used. To what degree was there a difference among the distribution of LSS scores on the five dimensions for eighth grade females in middle school sports? To answer this question, the Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric alternative to the parametric analysis of variance (ANOVA) was employed. If a statistically significant finding was observed, post-hoc analyses was conducted to determine what leadership behaviors were preferred based on median scores.

Results of this study did detect a statistically significant difference in the behavior styles of leadership used by coaches among the middle schools between the following dimensions: (1) democratic behavior and training and instruction, (2) autocratic behavior and training and instruction, (3) social support and training and instruction, (4) positive feedback and democratic behavior, (5) positive feedback and autocratic behavior, (6) positive feedback and social support. Results of this study indicate coaches at the three respective middle school in this study place more emphasis on the social support, democratic and autocratic behavior styles of leadership. This study does not determine which behavior style of leadership is superior for the overall success of a female’s middle school athletic program. What follows is the basis for this study, procedures used to conduct the research, an analysis of the data, conclusions, and finally, recommendations for further research on this topic.

Keywords: Coaches, Coaching Climate, Effective Leadership, Female Athletes, Sports

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A History of Women in Sport Prior to Title IX

Abstract:

Women’s opportunities for competitive physical activity were limited in America until Federal Legislation, commonly referred to as Title IX, became law. It required American society to recognize a woman’s right to participate in sports on a plane equal to that of men. Prior to 1870, activities for women were recreational rather than sport-specific in nature. They were noncompetitive, informal, rule-less; they emphasized physical activity rather than competition. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, women began to form clubs that were athletic in nature. Efforts to limit women’s sport activity continued as they became more involved in competitive sports. This paper will present a history of women’s involvement in sport prior to the federal legislation enacted to eliminate sexual discrimination in education and sport.

Early Women’s Sports

Certainly, women engaged in sport three millennia ago. Homer, c 800 B.C., relates the story of Princess Nausicaa playing ball with her handmaidens next to a riverbank on the island of Scheria. “When she and her handmaids were satisfied with their delightful food, each set aside the veil she wore: the young girls now played ball; and as they tossed the ball…” (Homer, lines 98-102). Odysseus was awakened by the shouts of the girls engaged in their sport. Thousands of years later, the shouts of girls playing ball finally awoke the United States to the need for sport-specific opportunities for women.

Prior to 1870, sports for women existed in the form of play activities that were recreational rather than competitive and, being informal and without rules, emphasized physical activity (Gerber, Felshin, Berlin, & Wyrick, 1974). A dominant belief in the 1800s was that each human had a fixed amount of energy. If this energy were used for physical and intellectual tasks at the same time, it could be hazardous (Park & Hult, 1993). Horseback riding for pleasure, showboating, and swimming became fashionable, but women were not encouraged to exert themselves. Such physical activity for a woman was thought to be especially hazardous because during menstruation she was “periodically weakened” (Clarke, 1874, p. 100). In 1874, as women were beginning to gain access to higher education, Dr. Edward Clarke published Sex in Education; or, A Fair Chance for Girls, which sparked a tenacious and acrimonious debate about the capacity of women for physical activity. He stated that, “both muscular and brain labor must be reduced at the onset of menstruation” ( p. 102). Manipulating science to reinforce established dogma prevailed for many years in spite of repeated examples of women who were perfectly capable of performing physical feats and intellectual tasks. Many early opportunities for women to engage in physical activity were thwarted as a result of this dogma (Park & Hult).

As more women sought to become involved in physical activity, they became more competitive. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, women began to form informal athletic clubs. Tennis, croquet, bowling, and archery were popular in clubs from New York to New Orleans. Many men’s clubs allowed women to become associates and to participate in separate activities, though without according them full status. Parallel clubs in colleges began to appear during this time, but a major difference between the social metropolitan clubs and the college clubs was that the latter frequently sponsored coed competition as occasions for social gatherings (Gerber, et al., 1974).

College Sports for Women Prior to Title IX

Early college sports for women have been largely unrecognized by historians because competition was within college between students (intramural) rather than between the institutions (extramural). Competitions included intramural, club, and sorority matches, in addition to ‘play days’. These were special dates when women competed in sports and activities against students and teams from their schools. By 1936, 70% of colleges surveyed used this as a predominant form of sport participation for women (Hult, 1994).

Women’s physical educators were aware of the problems and criticism surrounding men’s intercollegiate athletics. They were determined to keep athletics in an educational environment for women. In the early 1900s, the Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) and the American Physical Education Association (APEA) endorsed programs of broad participation for women (Park & Hult, 1993). This occurred just as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching produced its 1929 report, American College Athletics, reporting that amateurism was being eliminated or modified from athletics at the college level as colleges turned athletics into big business. The report argued that there should be a way to give “athletics back to the boys” (Thelin, 1994). These views were uppermost in the minds of many women’s physical educators as they met to organize a governing organization for women’s sports. In the 1920s, the Women’s Division-National Amateur Athletic Federation (NAAF) was formed to organize intercollegiate competition among women (Park & Hult).

Women were not active in intercollegiate sport until basketball was introduced at Smith College in 1892 (Gerber, et al., 1974). Basketball quickly spread to other colleges, and students began to clamor for intercollegiate play. Women’s physical educators opposed such competition because they were not ready to lose control over their programs (as they perceived the men had) (Gerber, et al.). The first intercollegiate competition among women was a scheduled tennis tournament between Bryn Mawr and Vassar. It was canceled because the Vassar faculty did not allow their women’s athletes to participate in competition between colleges (Hult, 1994). The honor of being the first teams to compete in women’s intercollegiate athletics belongs to the basketball teams of the University of California, Berkeley vs. Stanford and the University of Washington vs. Ellensburg Normal School; they played in 1896 (Gerber, et al.).

Competitive events for college women increased in the early 1900s. The nature of varsity competition was in conflict with the philosophy of women’s physical educators in the 1920s and 1930s, so these events were still uncommon. This philosophical conflict contributed to a lack of support for women’s varsity athletics. The NAAF provided a forum for women’s physical educators and leaders of women’s sports to formalize their beliefs regarding competition for girls and women by issuing a policy statement of the organizations goals for women. The goals were established to “play for play’s sake,” limit awards and travel, protect the participant from exploitation, discourage “sensational” publicity, and place qualified women in immediate charge of athletics and other physical activities (Gerber, et al., 1974). The motto was “every girl in a sport and a sport for every girl.” This position was interpreted by many as negative to competition and, as a consequence, virtually all forms of competitive sport for college women decreased in the early 1900s (Gerber, et al.).

The women’s suffrage movement in the late nineteenth and twentieth century resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. The right to vote for women renewed emphasis on women’s freedoms. The first feminist movement resulted in modest gains for women in sports and intercollegiate competition, but these gains were negated by the depression in the 1930s. They would remain dormant for almost fifty years (Gelb & Palley, 1987). The depression left millions of Americans out of work, and the resulting campaign to keep women home and out of the work force left the women’s movement for broadened equal rights stagnating. The expectations of society were that a woman’s place was ‘in the home,’ which pushed aside the idea that there were psychological and physiological benefits to be gained from involvement in sport. This view remained largely unchanged until the events of the 1940s (Lucas & Smith, 1982).

The 1940s brought war to the United States and millions of men entered the military. Many women joined the military service or left their positions as homemakers to fill the void left in the work force, earning the moniker, “Rosie the Riveter.” They demonstrated that they were equal to the task. The self-esteem and self-confidence gained by women during these critical times propelled the movement for women’s equal rights. Many women believed that if they could compete successfully in the work force, then they could certainly compete on the athletic fields (Chafe, 1972). World War II also saw the advent of the first woman’s professional athletic team. The All-American Girls Baseball League was started in 1943 as an attempt to replace Major League Baseball, which had been canceled due to the war. When World War II ended, organizations for women in sport began to increase as sport became more competitive and intercollegiate and interscholastic competition spread (Gerber, et al., 1974).

In the 1950s and 1960s, the social conscience of America was changing. The push for Civil Rights, which culminated in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, helped increase the status of women and minorities. A wave of feminist activism was born (Gelb & Palley, 1996). Feminist activism propelled the movement for women’s rights forward. The United States became embroiled in the debate for an Equal Rights Amendment. This debate raised the consciousness of those involved in women’s sport. Collegiate women seeking greater athletic opportunities moved closer to their goals in 1957, when the long-entrenched official position statement of the Division for Girls and Women in Sport (DGWS) was amended to state that intercollegiate programs “may” exist. In 1963, the DGWS view of women in sport evolved further to state that it was “desirable” that intercollegiate programs for women exist (Gerber, et al., 1974).

In 1966, the DGWS appointed a Commission on Intercollegiate Sports for Women (CISW) to assist in conducting intercollegiate competitions. In 1967, it was renamed the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (CIAW). The women’s movement in sport was rapidly moving toward a status more in line with men’s athletics. In 1969, a schedule of national championships for women’s sports was announced that included gymnastics and track and field. Swimming, badminton, and volleyball followed in 1970 and in 1972, basketball was added. Women wanted an institutional membership organization similar to the NCAA. The CIAW was replaced by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in 1971. This set the stage for the struggle to control women’s athletics in the 1970s between the AIAW and the NCAA (Gerber, et al., 1974).

The increasingly positive attitude toward women in sport carried over into the 1970s (Hult, 1994). The AIAW began the 1971-1972 academic year with 278 charter institutions. By 1981, their membership exceeded 800. Their mission was to “lead and conduct” programs at the collegiate level that were competitive for women (Hulstrand, 1993). The AIWA focused on the female student-athlete’s education, not on athletic performance, and thus rejected the ‘win or die’ attitude of the NCAA. Instead, the AIAW emphasized participation in sport as the most important aspect and de-emphasized winning (Sperber, 1990).

The Evolution of Title IX

The new wave of feminism within the larger social reforms sought by the Civil Rights movement moved women closer to legislative action for greater equal treatment in athletics. The concept that federal legislation was to eliminate sexual discrimination was the main focus of women’s groups in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At their first national conference in 1967, the National Organization for Women (NOW) adopted a platform that read in part “…the right of women to be educated to their full potential equally with men be secured by Federal and State legislation” (Boles, 1989, p.643).

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was paid little attention in the early legislative efforts to codify these rights. Court-ordered busing in the other Titles of the Omnibus Education Amendments took the spotlight (Palley & Preston, 1978). It was only after Title IX was passed, when the question surrounding implementation arose, that opposition to Title IX took place (Gelb & Palley, 1987). After the passage of Title IX, Congress built in a six-year period for secondary and post-secondary schools to achieve compliance. The date for compliance by colleges and universities was 1978. Interpretation and enforcement were vested in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (Carpenter, 1993).

The critical element lacking after the passage of Title IX was the implementation legislation that would specify how it was to be applied and to whom. Passage of the implementation legislation was not easy; many self-interest groups sought to erode the legislation. In 1974, approximately sixty women’s and feminist groups formed a coalition called the Education Task Force (which would later becme the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education) (Gelb & Palley). It was largely as a result of their persistent and dedicated efforts through lobbying that Title IX was successful.

The NCAA became concerned by what it perceived to be the potential weakening of its position as the dominant and controlling body of intercollegiate athletics. If Title IX was to apply to intercollegiate sports at all levels and women were to be elevated to a status equal to the men, its financial assets and political power were threatened. The first approach of the NCAA, when faced with the threat of equality in intercollegiate athletics, was to attempt to limit Title IX’s application. The NCAA tried to offer its interpretation of Title IX (Acosta & Carpenter, 1985). It encouraged a narrow interpretation of the law, excluding athletic departments from the scope of Title IX. The NCAA argued that because athletic departments did not receive federal funds, they should be excluded from compliance. Nonetheless, when the NCAA sought to limit the application of Title IX, it began to address the issue of control of women’s athletics in earnest.

The NCAA observed the growth of women’s athletics and looked to the increased financial base and political power to be gained from exerting control over women’s intercollegiate athletics. It set out to force the AIAW out of control (Hult, 1994). The strategy was to absorb the AIAW into its current structure while offering women’s championships outside the AIAW to effectively link schools to the NCAA. Because there was no alternative mechanism for determining college-level champions, this strategy could have been successful (Stern, 1979). The NCAA decided to form its own NCAA Women’s Committee and exclude the AIAW (Carpenter, 1993). The NCAA had never shown an interest in women’s athletics before Title IX because there was nothing that required female participation at a national level. Thus, it chose not to pursue women’s athletics. “The formation of this committee was politically significant because prior to this time the NCAA had demonstrated no interest whatever in taking responsibility for women’s sports” (Carpenter, 1993, p. 83).

In the fall of 1974, the NCAA agreed to a meeting with the AIAW. The NCAA wanted the AIAW to affiliate itself with the NCAA; the AIAW hoped to form a joint committee to draw up rules. The NCAA did not consider the AIAW its equal and it would not agree to a 50-50 joint union and equal representation at all policy-making levels (Festle, 1996).

At its 1973 convention, the NCAA waived the regulation barring women from men’s events, thinking that the compromise of allowing a token female to compete in the NCAA championships would help avoid charges of sex discrimination and help avoid offending the AIAW while avoiding any real commitment to women’s athletics (Festle, 1996). The NCAA continued to be concerned about the loss of power and control over intercollegiate athletics as it began to sense that the idea of equal opportunity for women in intercollegiate athletics was the direct aim of the Federal Government. The NCAA needed to implement an acceptable policy without delay (Festle).

The NCAA was a powerful adversary for the AIAW because of its wealth, political influence, and long history. The NCAA decided to introduce women’s championships for intercollegiate sports by offering the institutions sponsoring women’s sports a proposition that ultimately led to the demise of the AIAW. The NCAA offered to: (a) pay all expenses for teams competing in a national championship, (b) charge no additional membership fees for schools to add women’s programs, (c) create financial aid, recruitment, and eligibility rules that were the same for women as for men, and finally, (d) guarantee women more television coverage. The NCAA had earmarked three million dollars to support women’s championships. The AIAW could not compete with the NCAA inducements and the loss of membership, income, championship sponsorship, and media rights forced the AIAW to cease operations on June 30, 1982 (Festle, 1996). The AIAW sued the NCAA for allegedly violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, but was unsuccessful when the courts ruled that the market for women’s athletics was open for competition, therefore no anti-trust laws had been violated (Schubert, Schubert, & Schubert-Madsen, 1991).

Subsequent to Title IX, women and girls have become much more involved in sports. College women’s athletic participation has increased from 15% in 1972 to 43% in 2001. High school girl’s athletic participation increased from 295,000 in 1971 to 2.8 million in 2002-2003, an increase of over 840%. In 2004, the average number of teams offered for females per college/university was 8.32, up from 2.50 per school in 1972 (Carpenter & Acosta, 2005). In 1981-82, women’s championships became a part of the NCAA program. Today, the NCAA sponsors forty women’s championships, thirty-eight men’s championships, and three combined championships in all three of its divisions (NCAA, 2005).

It can be seen that women’s involvement in sport was slow to develop. Opportunities for participation and recognition were almost non-existent for centuries. It was not until the advent of the equal rights movements and Title IX that women truly found a place as participants in the world of sport and in the public arena.

References

Acosta, R.V. & Carpenter, L.J. (1985). Women in sport. In Donald Chu, Jeffrey O. Segrave & Beverly J. Becker (Eds.), Sport and Higher Education (pp.313-325). Champaign, IL. Human Kinetics.

Boles, J.K. (1989). A policy of our own: Local feminist networks and social services for women and children. Policy Studies Review, 8(3), 638-647.

Carpenter, L.J. (1993). Letters home: My life with Title IX. In G.L. Cohen (Ed). Women in Sport: Issues and Controversies. (pp 133-155), Newberry Park, CA.: Sage Publishing.

Carpenter, L.J. & Acosta, R.V. (2005). Title IX. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Chafe, W.H. (1972). The American woman: Her changing social, economic and political roles, 1920-1970. New York: Oxford University Press.

Clarke, E. H. (1874). Sex in education; or, a fair chance for girls. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company.

Festle, M.J. (1996). Playing nice: Politics and apologies in women’s sports. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gelb, J., & Palley, M.L. (1996). Title IX: The politics of sex discrimination. Women and Public Policies: reassessing gender politics. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.

Gerber, E.W., Felshin, J., Berlin, P., & Wyrick, W. (Eds.). (1974). The American woman in sport. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Homer, The Odyssey of Homer (Allen Mandelbaum, trans.) Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (1990).

Hult, J.S. (1994). The story of women’s athletics: Manipulating a dream 1890-1985. In D.M. Costa & S.R. Guthrie (Eds.), Women and sport: Interdisciplinary perspectives. (pp. 83-107), Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Hultstrand, B.J. (1993). The growth of collegiate women’s sports: The 1960s. The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 64(3), 41-43.

Lucas, J.A., & Smith, R.A. (1982). Women’s sport: A trial of equality. In R. Howell (Ed.), Her Story in Sport: A Historical Anthology of Women in Sports (pp. 239-265). West Point, NY: Leisure Press.

NCAA Championships (2005).http://www.ncaa.org/about/champs.html

Palley, M.L., & Preston, M.B. (1978). Symposium on race, sex and policy studies. Policy Studies Journal, 7, 188.

Park, R.J., & Hult, J.S. (1993). Women as leaders in physical education and school-based sports, 1865 to the 1930s. The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 64(3), 35-40.

Schubert, A.F., Schubert, G.W., & Schubert-Madsen, D.L. (1991). Changes influenced by litigation in women’s intercollegiate athletics. Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law, 1, 237-268.

Sperber, M. (1990). College sports inc.: The athletic department vs. the university. New York, John Hopkins Press.

Stern, R.N. (1979, June). The development of an inter-organizational control network: the case of intercollegiate athletics. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24, 242-266.

Thelin, J. (1994). Games colleges play: Scandal and reform in intercollegiate athletics. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

Non-Economic Societal Impacts of Intercollegiate Athletics

Abstract:

Intercollegiate athletics impact society in numerous positive ways. A number of studies have been done seeking to establish the effects of these sports programs on athletes, their institutions, and society at large. This paper is a synthesis of the literature concerning the non-economic impacts of sports. The findings largely support the notion that athletics are beneficial, not only to athletes, but to society in general. Many important lessons and virtues are derived from athletics. Among the many benefits to higher education institutions are the concepts of attracting more admissions applications and enhancing institutional name recognition and visibility.

Introduction:

Athletics provide entertainment, physical development, social interaction, and business (Cigliano, 2006). They create platforms for individual recognition and institutional visibility. There are many positive externalities associated with athletic activities. Attaching monetary value to these effects is difficult, as the value is based on societal satisfaction measures that are hard to measure.

Athletics Mould Virtues

Athletics help shape the social character of participants (Rudd and Stoll, 2004). A sample of 595 students from several universities was used in a causal-comparative study in which athletes and non athletes were compared concerning social and moral character. There were significant differences between athletes and non athletes. The main conclusion was that sport helps build character in terms of teamwork, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. There is no evidence to support the idea that athletics help build moral character, though neither is it proven that they do not do so.

Yiannakis, Douvis, and Murdy (2003) studied the perceived economic and non-economic impacts of sports. The findings are based on a survey of 702 residents and students of Connecticut attending two universities. They measured the perceived impacts of sports in terms of job creation, infrastructure, image promotion, economic impacts, environmental impacts, crime, and deviancy, among others. The authors conjectured that conflicts, issues, ideologies, pain, success, and tragedy are all blended in sports. People identify with these and are able to better handle the challenges of life as they see teams fighting on the field of play.

Athletes learn the principles of self discipline, teamwork, winning and losing, hard work, and self confidence. They have their self esteem boosted (National Federation of High Schools, 2003). One athletics director at a community college within the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) said, “Athletics fulfill major commitments of our mission statement to educate the whole person, to develop teamwork and leaders, and to contribute to the personal health and well-being of our students” (Cigliano, 2006, p45).

Yiannakis et al. (2003) established that the perceptions of people regarding the positive impacts of sport differed based on whether one was a fan or not. Non fans tend to regard sports as a nuisance that causes traffic jams and pollution. Enthusiasts savor the joy brought by the victories of their teams. A relationship may exist between the degree of interest and the extent to which sports are perceived to be beneficial.

Cigliano’s (2006) qualitative study was done at two community colleges in the TBR to examine the economic, institutional, and human impacts of athletic programs. The participants from each college included the president, the athletics director, two coaches, and four student-athletes. Coaches from the colleges said they viewed athletics as vehicles that help some students stay in school. The discipline and structure in athletic programs help motivate student-athletes to take advantage of educational opportunities. The coaches spoke of employing discipline, monitoring class and study hall attendance, and using encouragement to motivate student-athletes to achieve academic goals and become academically successful. Indirectly, the study addressed the apparent conflict of goals between academic interests and athletics. As long as there is a good relationship between the sports departments and academics, goal conflict exists only as an abstract concept.

Student-athletes participating in Cigliano’s (2006) study stated the following as virtues they received: recognition, patience, becoming better persons, self-discipline, maturity, motivation, teamwork, knowing people better, working hard, perseverance, working together, self-confidence, and leadership. The presidents, athletic directors, and coaches identified leadership development, a sense of civic responsibility, loyalty, punctuality, team work, cooperation, winning and losing with class and dignity, being competitive, developing individual strengths and skills, getting along with people, obedience, discipline, learning to make independent decisions, adjusting to being on their own, and maturity as virtues learned from athletics.

In the words of one athlete:

As much as we have to be physically in shape…we definitely also need an attitude which enhances our performance. This…(is)…an inner attitude of confidence in your ability, determination to see what you can do, and delight in what may be possible. The positive vibes that surround a person with an attitude like this can spread (Depew1 , 1999).

The NFHS (2003) reported that sport promotes citizenship and sportsmanship by instilling a sense of pride in community, teaching lessons of teamwork and self-discipline, and facilitating the physical and emotional development of participants.

Bailey, Moulton, and Moulton (1999) compared athletes and non-athletes concerning levels of self-esteem and approval motivation. A sample of 492 university undergraduates participated in this study; ninety-four were athletes. The study used a multivariate analysis of variance to determine whether there was a significant difference between athletes and non-athletes on the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation. Athletes had significantly higher levels of self-esteem than non-athletes. There was also a statistically significant difference on approval motivation. Thus, athletes are “more likely to view themselves positively…and are less likely to engage in approval seeking behavior than non-athletes” (Bailey, Moulton, & Moulton, 1999).

The ability of physical exercise to eliminate anxiety in university youth was investigated by Akandere and Tekin (2002). The sample was comprised of 311 students from Konya Selcuk University of Turkey who had never been involved in physical exercise. A sub-sample of sixty students who had the highest anxiety scores was split in half, so that thirty became the experimental group (which participated in organized physical activity) and the other thirty became the control group. Participation in physical exercise and physical activities decreased the anxiety level of both sexes.

Basking in Reflected Glory

Athletic activities relax the mind and “function as psychological and spiritual havens where disorder and moral ambiguities are resolved and managed through communal sport ritual practices and traditions” (Yiannakis et al., 2003, p.5). One of the perceived impacts lies in a concept called ‘Basking in Reflected Glory’ (BIRG). In Yiannakis et al.’s study, a majority of the respondents reported feeling ‘really good’ when their teams won and feeling ‘really bad’ when their teams lost. However, the relationship between sport-induced mood states, social identity, empowerment, and pro-social behavior is not fully understood and may require further inquiry.

One of the most popular studies on ‘BIRG’ was done by Cialdini et al. (1976)2. College students were found to be more likely to use the pronoun ‘we’ and to wear clothing that identified with their schools after a successful athletic weekend than during times when they had drawn or lost. Cialdini posited that people had a predisposition to associate with positive outcomes and make them their own. When one is ‘BIRG’, the person on the receiving end would not have done anything to bring the team’s success. Theirs is just to bask in unearned grandeur. When one’s team does well, it results in feelings of happiness, well-being, and collective euphoria. It has also been suggested that ‘BIRG’ improves mood in both individuals and communities.

On the flip side of the concept of ‘BIRG’ is ‘Cutting-Off Reflected Failure’ (CORF). The main ‘CORF’ strategy is to minimize the association between oneself and the losing team via several means, including by refusing to attend the teams’ matches’ and using terms such as ‘they’ rather than ‘we’. ‘CORF’ can be said to have somewhat positive results. The pessimism that precedes crucial matches can have the positive impact of uniting fans in the face of the possibility that it can all go wrong. Such an acceptance of a possible negative outcome can have the effect of protecting fans against disappointment as a result of failure. Having a shared moan can be a way of bonding3.

Reputation and Institutional Image

The reputation of an academic institution is closely tied to its sports programs (Cigliano, 2006; Pulsinelli et al, 1989). Thrilling performances by teams score points for the institution. High ranking sporting colleges are also ranked high in the academic arena.

The majority of respondents from Cigliano’s (2006) study mentioned a variety of values of publicity that athletic programs brought to the colleges, including a sense of excitement, activity, focus, free advertising, media coverage, service area communication, recruitment enhancement, and identity for local support to the institutions. The institutional image generated was said to be very positive. Good coverage amounted to free advertising. One of the presidents commented that:

Whether it is right or wrong, many people out in the community do not see anything in your college other than athletics. I mean, you have a certain constituent group out there that will even evaluate your college on how your athletic program is and people read about athletics in the paper. (Cigliano, p62).

In the study, athletic directors noted that visibility of their colleges was due more to athletics than any other department. They pointed out that institutional recognition is a function of the athletics program.

In a 2004 study, Frank mentioned the effect that spending on big time sports has on a university’s name recognition. Because these institutions are constantly making headlines in the public media, their names become more familiar to prospective students than those which are not publicized. This is likely to influence them in the college decision-making process. In such instances, “a big-time athletic program serves much like a national advertising campaign” (Frank, p15).

While athletes are students, they are also considered role models by their fans. People identify with role models on the sports field (Yiannakis et al., 2003). James Sheridan, a cross country athlete at Kenyon College, said, “athletes represent (their institutions) across the country and the type of attitude (they) project reflects on (the) entire learning institution” (Depew, 1999).

Enrollment

Athletics have a positive effect on enrollment. Pulsinelli, Borland, & Goff (1989) postulated that in order for sporting teams to be self financing, athletic teams would have to ‘attract’ a certain number of non-athletic students to the university. Enrollment data for the years 1960 to 1988 were analyzed with winning percentages for football and basketball. Overall, high sporting performance was associated with increased enrollment. This study alluded to the fact that recruiting high profile athletes might increase enrollment because of the indirect ‘attracting influence’ exerted on non-athlete aspiring students. When choosing among schools that offer athletic programs, non athletes prefer schools that have winning records to those that do not.

An impact study of Nichols State University (NSU) by Coats and Cox (2004), found that athletics have an effect on enrollment apart from the economic impact. Nicholls State’s athletic programs directly supported 239 student athletes. It was estimated that these student athletes drew an additional forty-three friends or relatives to NSU. Furthermore, of the 105 members of the marching band, approximately a third would have enrolled elsewhere were it not for the existence of the athletics program. Thus, the NSU athletics and associated programs were directly responsible for attracting 322 students to NSU. These students, in turn, supported approximately fourteen faculty positions.

Toma and Cross (1996) examined undergraduate admissions applications for institutions that won the NCAA Division I-A national football championship and those that won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the years 1979 through 1992. Increases were recorded in undergraduate admissions applications in years following a championship season. Fourteen out of sixteen schools that won or shared championships in football recorded increases in the number of applications. In basketball, ten out of thirteen schools recorded increases in applications following the NCAA Tournament championship.

Frank (2004) analyzed the effects of successful athletic programs on soliciting additional applications and donations by alumni and others. He postulated that universities continue to expand expenditures when they may fail to cover direct costs because the athletic programs may generate indirect benefits in other domains of sufficient value to make up the shortfall. The study stated that, “If students are indeed more likely to apply to an institution with a successful athletic program…such schools will be more selective than others on…the average SAT scores of entering freshmen.” McCormick and Tinsley (1987) validated this by asserting that freshmen entering a school would have an average SAT score about thirty-three points higher than it would if it did not have a big-time athletic program. They estimated a multiple regression in which the average SAT score was dependent on several variables, including whether the school had a thriving athletics program. Their data came from about 150 schools for the year 1971, sixty-three of which had big time athletic programs.

The opportunity to participate in athletics is a primary consideration for students (Cigliano, 2006). One community college president stated that the athletic program attracted between eighty to one-hundred students who would not be attending college if the athletic program were not available for them. Another said that sports had a significant impact on enrollment because of the influence athletes had in attracting girlfriends, friends, and peers.

Academic Performance

Student athletes in Colorado were shown to have ‘significantly higher’ grade-point averages than their non-sporting counterparts (NHFS, 2003). Those in Jefferson County high schools were also shown to have higher grade-point averages than their non-sporting peers. The latter school district has matched the academic success of its students with success on the playing field (NHFS, 2003).

Schildnecht (2002) quoted studies by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, the Colorado Department of Education, and the American College testing services to show that students who participated in sports performed better academically. Student athletes were also found to be more likely to graduate than their non-athletic counterparts.

In one study, which goes against the idea of athletics having a positive relationship with graduation rates, Mangold, Bean, and Adams (2003) explored the impact that athletic programs have on institutional graduation rates. Data on graduation rates for ninety-seven universities competing in NCAA Division IA basketball and football were regressed on several predictors. The results of the study did not support the hypothesis that colleges with successful sports programs would have higher graduation rates for students in general. On smaller campuses, involvement in a successful sports program was suggested to conflict with academic goals. This study provides an example of the post hoc fallacy. There’s probably some third variable that explains this negative relationship.

Lucas and Lovaglia (2002) found that non athletic scholars anticipated higher benefits from academic success than athletes. Their study, for which the sample was 135 students (of which thirty-three were athletes), sought to measure the perceptions of student athletes and non athletes regarding cost, benefit, and motivation towards academic success. They reported that student athletes had a lower motivation to perform academically than non athletes. This does not, however, necessarily support the notion that athletes struggle academically as compared to non athletes, as the authors suggested.

A study was done by Meier, Robinson, Polinard, and Wrinkle (2000) to see if pursuit of athletic goals had a negative impact on academic interests of universities as reflected by scores on the SAT and ACT. The data for the analysis came from Texas school districts for the years 1997-1998. Athletic budgets were found to have no relationship with school attendance. However, the study concluded that athletic budgets had a significant negative relationship with academic performance, although the statistical significance of the variables is unknown. The study acknowledges that there are positive benefits at the individual level. Whatever these impacts may be, it is tempting to suggest that these individual benefits, across the district, could collectively override the negative results of athletics across academic institutions.

Donations

Having reviewed literature pertaining to alumni donations, Frank (2004) concluded that there is evidence that links athletic success to alumni giving. Rhoads and Gerking (2000) also analyzed the role of success in intercollegiate football and basketball in attracting donations to universities from alumni and other sources. Results from regression analysis of panel data from eighty-seven universities showed that, year to year, changes in athletic success had a positive impact on alumni giving. Other donors were not as responsive. Longstanding athletic traditions were shown to attract charitable donations.

Clotfelter cited participation in extracurricular activities and athletics as one of the factors that affected alumni giving (2001). The study utilized a data set of graduates from fourteen private institutions and sought to establish factors associated with alumni donations. The data covered cohorts of individuals who entered the institutions in the fall of 1951, 1976, and 1989. The findings showed that over half of all donations were given by only 1% of all alumni, most of whom contribute annually.

In a 2000 study of 2,822 Vanderbilt University graduates, Dugan, Mullin, and Siegfried investigated alumni giving behavior during the eight years following their graduation. A probit model and a regression were run on the data of givers and non givers. Participation in athletics was found to generate a stronger sense of attachment to the university through group membership, a factor which would have a positive effect on giving. In addition, former athletes receive solicitations from special clubs of former athletes apart from the usual appeal for alumni contributions. For that reason, they are expected to contribute more than other graduates. Students who were members of athletic teams responded more favorably to requests for donations after graduation.

A Chance to Continue in Sport and Education

The awarding of scholarships to athletes affords the chance to further academic interests (Schildnecht, 2002). Athletic directors in Cigliano’s (2006) study expressed that athletics, “provides education for a group of people who might not be able to have an education.” Dropping athletic programs from state universities and community colleges would have the undesirable effect of removing opportunities for many student-athletes to follow their career goals and obtain an education while pursuing future success in athletics. For most, this will be the peak time of their sporting careers. Few venture into professional sports after college.

Negative Effects

A few issues can be raised concerning the negative effects of participation in college sports. Athletics consume time. Often, the athlete has to cope with the stress of attending to sporting obligations while fulfilling academic requirements. They have to submit assignments at the same time as every other student. For those who are not on scholarship, their families have to bear the increased burden of giving them pocket money, since they cannot manage jobs to supplement their incomes.

Stieber (1991) mentions the presence of a black market for athletes. In this situation, a supply and demand for cheaters exists coordinated by national sports bodies. The student athlete is generally discriminated against. The market for athletes is not a free market. It is, in reality, a monopoly. The buying cartel “exploits by eliminating the bidding process among its membership” (Stieber, 1991, p446). The resulting wage is lower for the athlete than what would be obtained in an uncontrolled market. The authors of this paper believe that Stieber’s argument would only hold for the very top tier of institutions, which have major revenue streams associated with football and basketball. For the other non-football and basketball athletes in those institutions and for the athletes in the rest of higher education, a full or partial scholarship may be more than the free market would generate.

Colleges have difficulty recruiting students who are good athletes and academically talented. Cigliano (2006) mentioned an apparent lack of preparation for college work for some of the student-athletes. However, this applied for the rest of the student body as well. Thus, it is not specific to student athletes.

Yiannakis et al. (2003) stated that sports were perceived to increase pollution by 62% of the respondents. Also, crime, gambling, alcohol abuse, and other illegal activities were viewed as increasing by up to 45%. Vandalism, assaults, and drug abuse were also feared to be increasing. There is a need, however, to establish the extent to which particular sports programs have a negative impact on a particular environmental setting.

Conclusions:

Athletics are beneficial to student athletes, to universities, and to society at large. Research points almost incontrovertibly towards the advantages associated with intercollegiate sports. National bodies responsible for sports are generally pleased with the results that athletics yield and would not support plans to reduce support for sports. However, athletes have to work under stressful conditions because of tight schedules and the demanding nature of their work. In some cases, student athletes are exploited by unscrupulous individuals and sports organizations. Ultimately, though, the benefits of athletics outweigh the disadvantages, albeit they are difficult to quantify.

Footnotes:

1 Gelsey Lynn, a cross country runner, as quoted by Depew, R (1999).

2 As cited by Posten, M. (1998).

3 The Mental Health Foundation: Football and Mental Health (n.d)

References:

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Athletic policy manual of Duke University (2003). Retrieved May 18, 2006 from
http://www.biology.duke.edu/kksmithlab/Athletic%20Policy%20Manual.pdf

Bailey, K., Moulton, M., & Moulton, P. (1999). Athletics as a predictor of
self-esteem and approval motivation: The Sport Journal Volume 2, Number 2.

Chapin (2002). Identifying the real costs and benefits of sports facilities. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Working Paper.

Cigliano, L. M. (2006). A perceptual study of the impact of athletic programs in selected community colleges in the State of Tennessee: PhD Dissertation, East Tennessee State University.

Clotfelter, C. T. (1999). Who are the alumni donors? Giving by two generations of alumni from selective colleges. Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Vol 12(2). Pages 119-138

Coats, R. M., and Cox, K. C., (April 14, 2004). Economic impact of NSU athletics Retrieved May 29, 2006 from http://www.slec.org/uploads/EconomicImpact.pdf

Depew, R. (1999). Kenyon athletes define “Role Models” in their own words. Vol. 1(2). Retrieved June 12, 2006 from http://www2.kenyon.edu/orgs/Ksai/features/features11992.htm#sheridan

Dugan, K. Mullin, C. H. & Siegfried J. J. (2000). Undergraduate financial aid and subsequent giving behavior: Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education. Discussion Paper No. 57. Retrieved June 15, 2006 from
http://opus.zbw-kiel.de/volltexte/2005/3672/pdf/DP-57.pdf

The Mental Health Foundation: Football and mental health (n.d) Retrieved June 23, 2006 from http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/page.cfm?pageurl=football.cfm

Frank, R. H. (2004). Challenging the myth: A review of the links among college athletic success, student quality, and donations: Prepared for the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Gerking, S., & Rhoads, T. A. (2000). Educational contributions, academic quality, and athletic success. Contemporary Economic Policy, 18, 248-254.

Lucas, J. W. and Lovaglia, M. J. (2002). Athletes’ expectations for success in athletics compared to academic competition: The Sport Journal Volume 5, Number 2.

McCormick, R., & Tinsley, M. (1987). Athletics versus academics? Evidence from SAT scores: Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 95: 1103-1116.

Mangold, William D. (2003). The impact of intercollegiate athletics on graduation rates among major NCAA Division I universities: Implications for college persistence theory and practice. The Journal of Higher Education Vol.74( 5), pp. 540-562. The Ohio State University Press.

Meier, K. J., Robinson, S., Polinard, J. L., & Wrinkle R. D. (2000). A question of priorities: Athletic budgets and academic performance. The Texas Educational Excellence Project.

National Federation of High Schools Association (NFHS), (2003). Survey resources: The case for high school activities. Retrieved September 3, 2005 from http://www.nfhs.org/scriptcontent/Va_custom/vimdisplays/contentpagedisplay.cfm?content_ID=163

Posten, M. (1998). Basking in glory and cutting off failure. Retrieved March 14, 2006 from http://www.units.muohio.edu/psybersite/fans/bc.shtml

Pulsinelli, R.W., Borland, M. V., & Goff, B. L., (1989). Western Kentucky University’s athletic program: Financial burden or boon? Department of Economics, Western Kentucky University.

Rudd, A. & Stoll, S. (2004). What type of character do athletes possess? An empirical examination of college athletes versus college non athletes with the RSBH Value Judgment Inventory: The Sport Journal Volume 7, Number 2.

Schildknecht, J. (2002). Benefits of interscholarstic athletics: schooling in American society. Retrieved September 23, 2005, from
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Stieber, J. (1991). The behavior of the NCAA: a question of ethics. Journal of Business Ethics. Retrieved June 13, 2006 from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=5&did=572547&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=6&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1130169395&clientId=28564

Toma, J. D. & Cross, M. (1996). Intercollegiate athletics and student college choice: understanding the impact of championship seasons on the quantity and quality of undergraduate applicants. ASHE Annual Meeting Paper. http://www.edrs.com

University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Institutional plan 2004 – 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2006 from http://www.provost.uncc.edu/planning/lrp/institutional.pdf

Yiannakis, A., Douvis, J., & Murdy, J. (2003). Perceived impacts of sport: measuring the impacts of sport: Methodological and policy considerations V6. 174.

Green Sport: A Game Everyone Wins

Abstract:

Environmental responsibility, increasingly recognized as a central aspect of corporate social responsibility, is important not only for recreational sport firms, but for all sport organizations. Three primary motivations for sport firms to embrace environmental responsibility as a management competency are advanced. First, sound environmental stewardship is necessary to halt environmental degradation, maintain livable environments, and ensure the long-term economic health of the sport industry as a whole. Second, due to their unique relationships to their customers, sport organizations are positioned to become leaders in creating environmental awareness. Third, taking informed steps toward environmental responsibility can result in substantial economic benefits to sport organizations through more efficient resource usage and an enhanced image.

Introduction:

In recent years, the view that corporate social responsibility is an appropriate competency for business organizations has strengthened (e.g., Hopkins, 2003; Maignan & Ralston, 2002; Medhurst & Richards, 2003; Whitehouse, 2006). Despite the increasing concern with corporate social responsibility among both businesses and academicians, relatively little literature has focused specifically on it within the area of sport management. Notable exceptions include Bradish (2006), Chernushenko (2001), and Hums, Barr, and Guillion (1999).

Certainly, business organizations in the sport industry cannot be excepted from conversation about corporate social responsibility. Like all types of enterprise, those with sport as a main focus are open systems. As such, they have relations with numerous stakeholder groups inside and outside the organization, operate within particular localities, and make use of a variety of resources. Hums et al. (1999) recognized this relevance by identifying issues related to social responsibility that confront managers in each of five major areas of the sport industry-professional sport, intercollegiate sport, health and fitness, recreational sport, and facility management.

One of the most important aspects of corporate social responsibility is the idea that business organizations have responsibilities to the natural environment (Werhane and Freeman, 1999; Wood, 1991). Such environmental responsibilities are often discussed under the heading of corporate sustainability. However, as evidenced by presentations at the 2002 Corporate Sustainability Conference in Rotterdam, corporate sustainability is evolving into a broader concept which, like corporate social responsibility, embraces social issues (van Marrewijk, 2003a). For the sake of clarity, in this paper the notion of environmental responsibility will be termed simply that.

The fact that environmental responsibility has become an important consideration for businesses is reflected in findings by Maignan and Ralston (2002), who examined the websites of large companies in four countries: the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The researchers found that 78.8% of the UK firms, 70.8% of the Dutch firms, 62.1% of the French firms, and 47.1% of the U.S. firms mentioned the environment as a concern of the firm. Though the researchers did not investigate how adequately the companies’ actions matched their communications, the findings showed that many large companies, especially in Europe, claim to take environmental responsibility seriously.

Like the broader notion of corporate social responsibility, environmental responsibility is an important issue for organizations in the sport industry. Hums et al. (1999) recognized this by pointing out that environmental issues are proper concerns for managers in the area of recreational sports management. This is especially obvious for organizations in which business revolves around one or another outdoor sport which makes use of the natural environment. Whether the recreational sport enterprise is relatively large, such as a ski resort or a golf course, or small, such as a scuba diving operation, it is in the organizations’ interest to be good stewards of that environment. Recognition of the importance of sound environmental stewardship in recreational sport is reflected in initiatives such as Course Management Best Practices Guidelines (R&A, 2006), the result of a collaboration between the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of the U.K. and the European Golf Association, and Sustainable Slopes (NSAA, 2006) produced by the National Ski Areas Association headquartered in the U.S.

But the importance of environmental issues for the sport industry goes beyond recreational sport. Every organization in every sector of the industry is necessarily embedded within a natural and a human-made environment from which the organization derives inputs and creates outputs. The nature and volume of these inputs, and perhaps especially the outputs, cannot help but have an effect on the natural environment. Moreover, if the organization does not embrace its environmental responsibilities, this effect may be unacceptably detrimental. Thus, environmental responsibility can be seen as a fundamental aspect of social responsibility, relevant not only in recreational sport organizations but throughout the sport industry.

This relevance raises a number of critical questions for owners and managers of sport industry firms. They are the same questions asked by countless other business organizations. ‘What exactly are our environmental responsibilities? Just what measures to lighten our environmental footprint should the organization take? Why? Why should our organization do more in the way of supporting environmental sustainability than is legally mandated? How is fulfilling our environmental responsibilities, whatever they may be, supposed to relate to our primary purpose of creating value for our owners?’

These are questions which can be fully answered only through the leadership of owners and managers who have intimate knowledge of their businesses and are informed by detailed knowledge of the environmental options available to them. However, several considerations can be offered to lay a partial groundwork for developing those answers. In particular, three fundamental replies to the question of why a sport industry firm should take significant measures toward environmental sustainability can be offered:

  • First, as is becoming increasingly evident, it is in everyone’s interest for all businesses, in every industry, to make environmental sustainability a management competency and an aspect of organizational excellence.
  • Second, by taking environmental responsibilities seriously, organizations in the sport industry are uniquely positioned to communicate the value of environmental sustainability to large numbers of people.
  • Third, fulfilling environmental responsibilities can help the firm gain a competitive edge and create greater value for its owners.

The following three sections of the paper will elaborate on these basic answers to the question of why sport industry firms should embrace environmental responsibility as a management competency.

Reason 1: The Ethical Reason

The ethical argument for the claim that sport management firms should become environmental champions stands on two legs. The first leg is this: the mental model which views profit and growth as the only legitimate objectives of business has, as its logical conclusion, environmental disaster. If every business organization were to continue to act according to that model, the disturbingly rapid deterioration of the physical environment that has occurred over the past several decades would continue at a rapid rate. Forest degradation, the near elimination of a number of fisheries, air pollution, ocean and beach pollution, mercury poisoning, and global warming are only among the most well known of a long litany of environmental problems. The result of failing to become good stewards of the environment would be an increasingly polluted, unhealthy, dangerous, and unpredictable environment-for us, our neighbors, our children, and their children. And this, it is widely agreed, is unacceptable. Moreover, the mental model is self-contradictory. If profit and growth at all costs were truly the only legitimate objectives of business, then the mental model would eventually defeat itself. As a number of writers have pointed out recently (e.g., Adolphson, 2004; Hawken, Lovins, & Lovins, 1999; Odum, 1996; Prugh, 1999), to not take nature into account in our business plans and processes is economically disastrous. As these and other writers have clearly recognized, the natural world is the foundation of all economic wealth. Those who do not take care of that foundation will eventually find it unable to support them.

The second leg of the ethical argument is the following. Given that we know that if no business firm takes environmental responsibility seriously, then humankind-now and in the future-will pay a terrible price, for an individual firm not to do its part in the effort is unconscionable. A firm’s directors might surmise that by letting other businesses do all the work of maintaining proper environmental accounts, the firm would gain a competitive advantage. But even if this were true-and an argument will be given later in the paper that it is not-opting out of what other businesses embrace as their environmental responsibility is generally considered to be unjust. Fortunately, the majority of business owners and managers are able to reflect carefully on the manifold justifications for taking environmental responsibility seriously, and they have the foresight and imagination to see what must be done by all together. Not to do what needs to be done is not a failure of ethical reasoning or moral imagination according Al Gini (2006), co-founder of the Journal of Business Ethics, but a failure of will.

Reason 2: Sport Organizations Have a Unique Opportunity to Be Leaders in Environmental Responsibility

The argument just presented for taking environmental responsibility seriously was not formulated especially for organizations in the sport industry. The ethical reasons are sound for any business, large or small, in any industry. But the second reason why sport-centered organizations should embrace environmental responsibility is targeted specifically to them, and it rests on their unique nature.

That unique nature is a common thread that runs through the many varieties of business in the sport industry-the fact that sport firms are distinguished from other business entities by the kind of services they provide and their relationships to their customers. Many businesses, perhaps especially manufacturing firms, have a large customer base but little direct contact with customers. Other businesses may have direct contact, but their customer base is relatively small and unchanging. However, sport enterprises generally have both-direct contact with their customers, and a continuous, often sizeable inflow of customers that purchase the firm’s services. Whether the organization’s business consists of a professional sport team, a health and fitness club, a recreational sport business such as a skating rink or a mountain biking venue, or a large sports facility, in most cases the firm deals directly with a more or less steady stream-and often quite a large one-of customers.

This provides sport organizations with an opportunity that is unavailable to many other kinds of business. By making environmental responsibility a management competency and committing to environmental sustainability, the organization has the opportunity to multiply its environmental efforts by transmitting environmental responsibility as a value to its customers. The firm need not do this in a heavy-handed way. Simply by letting customers know that it is committed to the goal of environmental sustainability and that it is undertaking substantial efforts to attain that objective, the organization will tend to strengthen the ideal of caring for the environment in customers’ minds. This is important because environmental responsibility is not just an issue for organizations; it is also a job for individuals and families. Whatever makes it more likely for those fundamental social units to increase their environmentally responsible behavior is a valuable addition to the ideal of environmental sustainability. By modeling responsible environmental behavior, the organization helps to make that behavior more likely.

It is important to note that a sport organization’s modeling of sound environmental stewardship may not foster a significant difference in most of its customers’ environmental behavior. Indeed, the extent of its effect would be a useful project for future research. However, if even a few customers were impressed by the organization’s commitment to environmental sustainability and thus embraced the ideal more strongly than before, then the organization’s efforts would be multiplied by some factor. Most sport organizations are, by their nature, uniquely positioned to have such a positive effect.

Reason 3: Environmental Sense Makes Economic Sense

The third reason for sport management firms to embrace environmental responsibility as a management competency is that it can increase profitability. This claim is based on two main considerations. First, many of the actions which a firm can take to better fulfill its environmental responsibilities can make resource use more efficient, thereby reducing waste and leading to increased savings. Second, by strongly embracing the notion of environmental responsibility and clearly communicating its stance to actual and potential customers, the firm can increase the value of its image and its brand, while making its services more attractive. Together, the two considerations can provide a distinct competitive advantage for the sport management firm. These advantages will be discussed in order.

Environmental Initiatives Can Be Savings Opportunities

A growing literature promotes and elucidates the view that what makes sense environmentally for companies can also make good economic sense (e.g., Adolphson, 2004; Hawken, Lovins, & Lovins, 1999). A major way in which environmentally friendly measures can add to the company’s bottom line is through decreasing waste. Lovins, Lovins, & Hawken (1999) furnish a number of relevant examples. For instance, over a six-week period, Dow Chemical Europe reduced paper usage by 30% in its Swiss headquarters by discouraging the proliferation of unnecessary information. At the same time, labor productivity increased because employees were reading less unnecessary information. Other cost- and resource-saving examples reported by Lovins et al. include copying only on both sides of a paper, using wood fiber more efficiently, and recycling. Indeed, measures as simple as improving insulation and managing thermostat settings can save significant energy-and thus money.

In the short term, each specific measure may lead only to relatively small savings for the environment and the company; however, a comprehensive program that addresses a variety of environmental issues can, over time, result in substantial savings for the company while significantly lessening the cost to the environment of doing business. Lovins et al. (1999) reported that Johnson & Johnson Company saved $2.8 million during a 30-month campaign of reducing paper and packaging waste, while saving the equivalent of 330 annual acres of trees.

A first step a sport organization can take to determine where energy and other resources can be used more efficiently and waste reduced is to determine inputs and outputs of all business processes. Green & Gold (1999), in an environmental management and monitoring report for large sporting events and facilities which was prepared for Sport Canada, lists areas of environmental concern that are relevant to many kinds of sport organization. Questions that sport managers can ask about these areas include the following. ‘Are there improvements that can be made in the company’s practices insofar as they reduce any adverse effects on nearby air, water, and land? How can current energy and waste management strategies be improved? Are facilities and transportation being managed in the most environmentally responsible ways?’ Each of these areas can be evaluated with an eye toward environmental sustainability to more efficiently use resources and decrease waste.

Not every environmental initiative will lead to immediate savings. Furthermore, economic payoff should not be the sole factor in deciding whether to implement environmental initiatives. However, many environmentally friendly endeavors can also be justified on the basis of economic value to the business in the short or the long term. To determine such win-win initiatives, knowledge is needed. There is a growing wealth of information about the intersection of business and environmental sustainability in books, on the Internet, and in journals such as Organization and Environment, the Journal of Environment and Development, and the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. In light of this information, the traditional notion that it is always too costly to embrace environmental responsibility beyond government mandates is losing ground. In relation to major sport events, Green & Gold (1999) maintained that the managerial view that environmental initiatives for large sporting events are always expensive is false. “Scores of organizations are proving that good environmental management is either revenue neutral or ultimately a source of savings or new opportunities” (p. 15). Much the same can be said for the sport industry overall.

Practicing ER Can Enhance Reputation

A second economic benefit that can accrue to sport organizations by making environmental responsibility a management competency is an improved reputation in the eyes of customers. According to Maignan and Ralston (2002), recent research suggests that embracing corporate social responsibility may be an effective way for firms to enhance their image among stakeholders. Argenti, Druckenmiller, & Novelli (2003) agree, holding that corporate social responsibility can enhance corporate brand image. Since environmental responsibility is one main aspect of social responsibility, it follows that much the same can be said for firms that embrace environmental responsibility. By acting in an environmentally responsible way, the organization can be seen as being, in a sense, a sponsor of the natural environment. Given that practicing corporate social responsibility-and thus environmental responsibility-is a form of cause-related marketing (Irwin, Lachowetz, Cornwell, & Clark, 2003), making environmental responsibility an organizational cause can be a useful marketing tool for sport organizations.

In particular, several of the benefits cited by Brown (2000) as sought by Olympic sponsors can be seen as benefits that can accrue to firms that “sponsor” environmental sustainability. These include:

  • Image enhancement through association with an important cause
  • Enhanced awareness of the firm and its services
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Connecting to a market niche (presumably quite large) concerned with environmental issues
  • Enhancement of the firm’s reputation for being socially responsible

A condition for this tool to be effective is for management to communicate its environmental efforts to customers. It is important that such promotion not be perceived as self-aggrandizing, because there is evidence that information communicated by organizations about their environmental performance and other corporate social responsibility initiatives is sometimes discounted by the public (Dando & Swift, 2002, as reported by van Marrewijk, 2003b). While noting the value of a media strategy for communicating environmental efforts, Green & Gold (1999) emphasized the importance of being open and honest about those efforts. Communicating to the media and customers the specific actions that an organization is taking to fulfill environmental responsibilities, without exaggerating, might be the most effective strategy.

Trust is the key. Siltaoja (2006) found that the most significant factor affecting company reputation is trust. One aspect of this is goodwill trust, which occurs when the company does more than is formally required. By going beyond what is legally mandated, the sport organization can build significant goodwill by publicizing, in a clear and straightforward manner, its efforts and the reasons behind them.

Conclusion:

In sum, environmental responsibility is as important for sport-industry enterprises as it is for all organizations. This paper has highlighted three reasons for sport firms to embrace environmental responsibility. First, and perhaps foremost, protecting a natural environment that faces severe human-caused problems is every individual’s and every organization’s job. In addition, sport firms are in a position to be leaders in promulgating environmental responsibility by modeling the ideal of environmental sustainability for their customers. Finally, by fulfilling their environmental responsibilities, sport organizations can, in many instances, create opportunities for savings while enhancing their image and their brand.

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Acclimatization in High-Altitude Sport: Predictive Modeling of Oxygen Saturation as an Expedition Management Tool

Abstract:

A management perspective is taken in developing a predictive model to forecast blood oxygen saturation levels for trekkers and mountaineers ascending to high altitudes. Blood oxygen saturation is an important indicator of risk of acute mountain sickness and other potentially lethal health risks for high-altitude athletes. This model is based on data collected from a seventeen-person expedition to Mt. Everest. The results of the model are compared to actual saturation levels and the model is found to be a good predictor. The practical implication is that an oximeter and the results it produces are useful tools for expedition managers and base camp managers charged with the safety of a multi-person expedition.

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