Research and Relevant Literature

Division II Women’s Teams –  Head Coaches Breakdown of Male and Female

By Lilah Drafts-Johnson, former Center for the Study of Sport in Society intern

InfographicFinalThe purpose of this report is to document the percentage of female head coaches in each NCAA Division III Collegiate women’s team, and identify which of these sports are predominantly coached by men. This research was inspired by the annual study released by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, which documents the numbers of female coaches in the Division I athletics realm.

Although Division I athletics reflect the top coaching positions as a result of the prestige, funding, and public perception that comes with their programs, Division III athletic departments typically represent a larger portion of available coaching positions. Division III ranks as the largest NCAA Division and holds great influence over student athletes with over 180,000 participants and close to 450 competing institutions.

Male Athletes and Violence: Is there a Correlation?

By Craig Stevens, formerCenter for the Study of Sport in Society  intern

Are professional and college male athletes more violent? Do they perpetrate more sexual assault? Does athletic participation and association cause athletes to act in a more aggressive manner outside athletics in their everyday lives?  This review identifies, summarizes, and discusses scholarly research that examines the tendency of adult-male athletes to express aggressive behaviors and attitudes away from a competitive sport context.  Evidence linking athletic participation to aggressive behavior in adult males is inconclusive. Future scholarly efforts examining the phenomena should consider using a longitudinal design.

“These data suggest that male athletes probably come to college with attitudes and behaviors supportive of rape, so prevention programs should focus on high school-age boys or younger” (Murnen & Kohlman, 2007)

Lawrence Community Change Project: An Assessment of Youth Skill Development and Community Involvement though an Evaluation of the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club Basketball Program

By Jaye McLaren The Center for the Study of Sport in Society

This research study assessed the impact that organized sports systems had on influencing community change, resulting in an organization and a program that was more involved in the everyday life of their own community. Sport in Society believes that when adults are collectively focused on creating structured opportunities for youth development through sports, there is an opportunity for systemic community change that results in healthier, safer more inclusive environments for young people, leading to an overall improvement in community heath and wellness. This action-based project’s outcome goal was to develop a measurement tool used to assess what key features enable community change in order that Sport in Society can better assist communities in addressing community and youth wellness via the youth sports systems.

Fraternal Bonding in the Locker Room: A Profeminist Analysis of Talk About Competition and Women

By Prof. Timothy Curry

A profeminist perspective was employed to study male bonding in the locker rooms of two “big time” college sport teams. Locker room talk fragments were collected over the course of several months by a participant observer, a senior varsity athlete, and by a nonparticipant observer, a sport sociologist. Additional data were collected by means of field observations, intensive interviews, and life stories and were combined to interpret locker room interaction. The analysis indicated that fraternal bonding was strongly affected by competition. While competition provided an activity bond to other men that was rewarding and status enhancing, it also generated anxiety and other strong emotions that the athletes sought to control or channel. Moreover peer group dynamics encouraged antisocial talk and behavior, much of which was directed at the athletes themselves. To avoid being targeted for jibes and put-downs, the men engaged in conversations that affirmed a traditional masculinity. As a result their locker room talk generally treated women as objects, encourage sexist attitudes toward women and, in its extreme, promoted rape culture.

Gender Ideologies, Youth Sports and the Production of Soft Essentialism

By Prof. Michael Messner

By the mid-Twentieth Century in the U.S., a dominant ideology of natural, categorical differences between women and men was an organic part of the unequal distribution of women and men into domestic and public realms, especially in middle class families. Sport was a key site for the naturalization of this ideology, which I call “hard essentialism.” Since the 1970s, an explosion of female athletic participation mirrored the movement of women into the professions, leading scholars to examine sport as a terrain of contested gender relations. This paper extends that discussion by positing a four-part periodization of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic gender ideologies, stretching from the mid-Twentieth Century to the present. Touching down empirically on contemporary professional class youth sport coaches’ views of children and gender, I identify an ascendant gender ideology I call “soft essentialism.” I argue that youth sports has become a key site for the construction of soft essentialist narratives that appropriate the liberal feminist language of “choice for girls, but not for boys, thus serving to recreate and naturalize class-based gender asymmetries and inequalities. I end by outlining emergent strategies that spring from the contradictions of soft essentialism.

These articles are published with the permission of Human Kinetics from the Sociology of Sport Journal

The State of General Operating Support

by Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski, National Communities for Responsive Philanthropy

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