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Sports As a Reflection of Society

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1 Sports As a Reflection of Society
Angela Lumpkin University of Kansas

2 Three Goals of this Session
To analyze the importance of and possibly challenge perceptions about the status of sport in American society To explore whether sports develop or reflect character and other societal values To examine the impact of commercialized sports on values using several sociological factors, including race and gender To answer this question: Do sports lead or reflect societal values?

3 A Cheating Culture Pervades Society as It Condones
Cheating on tests, income taxes, spouses, and bosses Lying to gain advantage Stealing from employers and others Why: Personal benefit, regardless of who may be adversely affected.

4 The Pursuit of Fame and Fortune in Society
The aspiration to get into the most prestigious universities The quest for power and status by politicians The greed of corporate executives, lawyers, and accountants The emphasis is on “me first,” self-promotion, and a “winner-take-all” approach. Bernard Madoff

5 Recent Examples of The Cheating Culture
2004 — Martha Stewart convicted of insider trading and sent to prison 2005 — Bernie Ebbers, CEO of WorldCom, convicted of accounting and securities fraud 2006 — Enron’s Kenneth Lay convicted of securities fraud, conspiracy, insider trading, and making false statements to auditors 2008 — Bernard Madoff arrested for financial fraud in the largest Ponzi scheme ever 2009 — Rod Blagojevich, governor of Illinois, ousted for his arrogant abuse of power 2009 — Former Senator Tom Daschle failed to pay more than $128,000 in income taxes

6 Recent Examples of The Cheating Culture in Sports
2001 — George O’Leary resigned as the head football coach at Notre Dame after it was found he had lied on his resume. 2005 — Several baseball players lied to Congress about their use of performance-enhancing drugs. 2007 — During their game, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick directed his staff to videotape the defensive signals of the New York Jets 2008 — Helio Castroneves, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, indicted for income tax evasion. 2009 — Florida State University received several sanctions for a cheating scandal involving 61 athletes in 10 sports.

7 Is there a pattern of behavior that shows that sports reflect societal values?

8 Why Are Sports So Important in the United States?
Enjoyable use of leisure time Entertainment Social bonding Winning is rewarded An enriching part of education Incessant promotion and telecasting by the media Praised for teaching character and moral values

9 Sports as Entertainment
Can sports be defined as athletic competitions promoted through extravagant presentations for the purpose of entertaining audiences in person and electronically? Do sport journalists describe sports as entertainment in ways that reflect people’s cultural, economic, and moral values?

10 Social Bonding while Cheering for our Favorite Teams
Families schedule their lives and budgets around sports. Friends and families socialize in and around sporting events Tailgating at football games Sports bars Fantasy leagues

11 Winning Is Richly Rewarded
Sports Illustrated’s Richest Athletes in 2008 #1 Tiger Woods earned $127,902,706 #3 LeBron James earned $40,455,000 #6 Alex Rodriguez earned $35,000,000 #9 Peyton Manning earned $30,500,000 #11 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. earned $27,221,970

12 Winning in Sports Brings Status and Monetary Rewards
Millions are seeking after the elusive dream of “making it” as an athlete.

13 National Championships for Young Athletes
Age Group Gender Sponsoring Organization National Championship 6 years and under boys; girls Callaway Golf (a golf equipment company) Callaway Junior World Golf Championship 8 years and under Amateur Athletic Union Amateur Athletic Union Basketball National Championships United States Tennis Association U.S. Open Junior Tennis Championships 8-11 years with weight limits boys Pop Warner Football Junior Pee Wee Pop Warner Super Bowl 8-11 years girls Pop Warner Cheer and Dance Junior Pee Wee Cheer and Dance Championships 9 years and under Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Swimming Meet US Club Soccer Youth World Series Youth Basketball of America Youth Basketball of America National Championships 9-12 years Little League Little League Baseball World Series Little League Softball World Series 10 years and under Amateur Athletic Union Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships Babe Ruth League Cal Ripken Baseball 10-Year-Old World Series

14 What Is the Likelihood of Becoming an Olympic, Professional, Intercollegiate, or Interscholastic Athlete? US population — over 306 million Just over 7 million high school athletes Less than 500,000 college athletes Approximately 10,000 professional athletes Less than 800 Olympic athletes

15 Estimated Probability of Competing in Athletics beyond the High School Interscholastic Level (NCAA, 2007) Student-Athletes Men's Basketball Women's Basketball Football Baseball Men's Ice Hockey Men's Soccer High School Student Athletes 546,335 452,929 1,071,775 470,671 36,263 358,935 High School Senior Student Athletes 156,096 129,408 306,221 134,477 10,361 102,553 NCAA Student Athletes 16,571 15,096 61,252 28,767 3,973 19,793 NCAA Freshman Roster Positions 4,735 4,313 17,501 8,219 1,135 5,655 NCAA Senior Student Athletes 3,682 3,355 13,612 6,393 883 4,398 NCAA Student Athletes Drafted 44 32 250 600 33 76 Percent High School to NCAA 3.0% 3.3% 5.7% 6.1% 11.0% 5.5% Percent NCAA to Professional 1.2% 1.0% 1.8% 9.4% 3.7% 1.7% Percent High School to Professional 0.03% 0.02% 0.08% 0.45% 0.32% 0.07%

16 Do Sports Build Character?
Athletes potentially can learn Respect for opponents, teammates, and officials Self-confidence Self-discipline Sportsmanship Teamwork Mental toughness How to win and lose with class Life skills and life lessons

17 Goals of Sports High school athletes: Develop sports skills
Broaden educational experiences Develop character College athletes: Achieve their potential in sports Enrich educational experiences “Going professional in something other than sports” Young athletes: Have fun Learn sports skills Learn life lessons of character

18 Coaches and other Adults Can
Teach, model, shape, and reinforce values like honesty, respect, and responsibility Help athletes learn to play by the letter and spirit of the rules — the epitome of sportsmanship

19 Myths and Truths in Youth Sports (Farrey, 2008)
Myth…The best athletes are those who work the hardest. The truth is…The elite often have innate, natural advantages. Myth…Early, focused skills training makes a Tiger roar. The truth is…In golf, sometimes; in most sports, no. Myth…America is the world’s athletics superpower. The truth is…We’re the fattest nation—and it all starts in preschool. Myth…Organized competition breeds success. The truth is…Unstructured play is often more valuable. Myth…Children want to win. The truth is…They do, but it means far more to adults. Myth…Athletic scholarships support amateurism. The truth is…The lure of a payoff turns peewees into mini-pros. Myth…The poor benefit the most from college sports. The truth is…Rich kids are far likelier to get roster spots. Myth…Grade-school travel teams identify future stars. The truth is…They reward early bloomers, leaving the rest behind. Myth…No national body coordinates grassroots sports. The truth is…The U.S. Olympic Committee is supposed to. Myth…Children inevitably find their best sport. The truth is…Most are never exposed to sports they might excel at. Myth…Money is pouring into youth sports. The truth is…It is, but not in the communities that need it most. Myth…Media coverage drives up participation. The truth is…Kids play a game — then they become fans. Myth…Grassroots hoops has gotten too professional. The truth is…The problem is it lacks a professional approach. Myth…Playing sports builds character. The truth is…It depends on who runs, and who surrounds, the team.

20 Athletes Learn at an Early Age
The importance of doing whatever it takes to help win, as they Cheat to gain competitive advantages Taunt their opponents and use other gamesmanship ploys Engage in harmful behaviors personally and against opponents Display poor sportsmanship Are athletes who engage in such actions simply displaying the values that characterize families, peers, businesses, and society in general?

21 Did These Really Happen?
A T-ball coach offered a player $25 if he would hit an autistic teammate in the face so that child would not have to be played in a play-off game. A mother abandoned her daughter alongside an interstate highway after the daughter did not perform to the mother’s expectations in a soccer game. A father provided steroids and human growth hormones to his 13-year old son who was a world-ranked inline speed skater.

22 Justify Actions by Saying
Everyone else does it. This is the way the game is played. Do anything you can get by with until the official calls it. If you are not cheating, then you are not trying hard enough to win.

23 Commercialized Sports Are often Characterized by
Violence Gambling Drug abuse Racial discrimination Gender discrimination Academic abuses Recruiting abuses Arms race

24 V I O L E N C Tonya Harding’s cronies injured Nancy Kerrigan.
Mitch Cozad, backup punter at Northern Colorado, convicted of assault for stabbing his rival’s kicking leg. A Massachusetts judge sentenced Thomas Junta to 6-10 years in state prison for the beating death of Michael Costin, in a fight after a youth hockey practice in which the sons of both men participated.

25 Gambling Former MLB player Pete Rose Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy
College basketball has been plagued with point-shaving scandals beginning in 1951 with 33 players from 7 colleges, in 1961 with 37 players from 22 colleges, Boston College in the 1970s, Tulane University in the 1980s, and Arizona State University and Northwestern University in the 1990s.

26 Performance-Enhancing Drugs
Baseball players like Barry Bonds Marion Jones stripped of Olympic medals and sentenced to prison

27 Racial Discrimination against African Americans in Sports
Were subjected to racial taunts, discriminatory treatment, exclusion, and bigotry Exceptional athletically and academically, a few males were the first to integrate sports. William Lewis, who played center-rush for Harvard University, was the first named an All-American in 1892 and 1893. Moses Walker, who played catcher for Oberlin College and the University of Michigan in , was the first to play at a Caucasian institution.

28 Continued Racial Discrimination
Historically Black colleges and universities and segregated leagues Subjected to: withheld from games; violence; exclusion with “gentleman’s agreements;” stacking; and quotas John McClendon Oklahoma State’s Wilbanks Smith viciously hit Drake’s Johnny Bright in the face with his fist. All-American Paul Robeson

29 Confronting Racial Discrimination
Succeeding against unbelievable odds The watershed event of the 1966 NCAA men’s basketball championship game Athletes fighting for their rights, such as through boycotts and demanding equitable treatment Jesse Owens Alice Coachman Bill Garrett

30 Academic Exploitation of African Americans in Sports
Post-World War II, they were recruited mostly for their athletic skills. Segregated schools, non-college-preparatory curricula, and socio-economic factors led to poor academic preparation for college. Many majored in eligibility rather than obtained college degrees. Dexter Manley

31 Heisman Trophy Of the 74 recipients since 1935, 27 have been African Americans (Archie Griffin counted twice); Ernie Davis (Syracuse) was first (1961). By decades, there were 3 African Americans in the 1960s, 7 in the 1970s, 8 in the 1980s, 7 in the 1990s, and 2 since 2000. Twenty-one (or 78%) of the African American winners were running backs. Out of the 47 Caucasians, 24 were quarterbacks; 3 of the African Americans played this position. An analysis of the recipients of the Heisman Trophy suggests these conclusions: African American football players were denied opportunities to compete at the highest competitive level between 1935 and 1960 or were deemed undeserving of this recognition. An African American who played running back had a much greater chance of being selected for this honor. During the 1970s through 1990s, the best college football player was most likely an African American.

32 Relative to the Heisman Trophy, was football leading or reflecting society?

33 College Basketball Players of the Year
African American males have been selected for one or more of these awards over 81% of the 43 years. African American females have received at least one of these awards in all but five years since 1981. Males 1966—Associated Press 1969—Naismith 1977—Wooden Females 1981—Wade 1983—Naismith 2004—Wooden

34 Once given equal opportunities, African American males and females began to dominate college basketball.

35 Gender Discrimination in Sports
Historically, since sports have been the domain of male, females were largely excluded. Basketball — thought to be too vigorous for the “weaker sex” Courts divided into thirds from Half-court games until 1970 in colleges The last sanctioned high school half-court game was played in 1995 in Oklahoma.

36 Alternative Sports for Females
Play days and sports days prevented the commercialized abuses of men’s athletics. In 1923, the Women’s Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation opposed international competition, favored play days for girls and women, and advocated for “a sport for every girl, and every girl in a sport.”

37 Expanded Opportunities in Sports
The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women beginning in 1971, and the organizations it replaced, set standards and policies for women’s athletics and offered national championships until 1982 when the NCAA took over women’s championships. 1976 — NJCAA began national championships for females. 1980 — NAIA began national championships for females.

38 Title IX and Beyond Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
“…many Americans seemed to believe that new times required new laws, and most were unwilling to admit that the hundred-year-old equal protection clause afforded far greater protection that Title IX, perhaps because such an admission would indicate that the country and the courts had been violating the Constitution for more than a century. In the final analysis, however, Title IX gave women no new rights, but it inspired them to take advantage of those they already had.”* (*Fields, p. 161)



41 Females in Intercollegiate Athletics in NCAA Institutions (Acosta & Carpenter, 2008)
Year Average Number of Sports for Females Female Head Coaches of Women’s Teams Female Head Administrators of Women’s Programs 1972 not available Over 90% 1978 5.61 58.2% 1982 6.59 52.4% 1986 7.15 50.6% 15.2% 1990 7.24 47.3% 15.9% 1992 7.09 48.3% 16.8% 1996 7.53 47.7% 18.5% 2000 8.14 45.6% 17.8% 2004 8.32 44.1% 2006 8.45 42.4% 18.6% 2008 8.65 42.8% 21.3%


43 Threats to Academic Integrity
Some athletes masquerade as students while chasing the elusive dream of playing at the next level. Lies, dishonesty, and deceit have been used to keep athletes academically eligible. University of Georgia (1981) University of Minnesota (1999) University of Tennessee (2000)

44 In Recruiting, Some Coaches
Creatively violate recruiting rules to gain competitive advantages. Engage in cheating and lying to get the “blue chip” recruits. Choose to cheat because of the pressures to win.

45 The Paradox of the Arms Race
Entice recruits with the biggest and best facilities Pay winning coaches millions Bob Stoops Oklahoma football coach Zero Sum Game

46 Moral Justifications Used to Defend Unethical Actions in Sport and Society
Try to make it seem that the unethical action is really ethical, such as by claiming there is no rule against it, no one will ever know, or everyone else does it. State that the action is not really unethical since no one was really harmed or no foul was called or penalty assessed. Argue that while a rule was violated, the situation along with the amount of good accomplished overshadowed the small amount of harm; that is, the end justifies the means.

47 Sports Reflecting Societal Values
Unethical behaviors Influence of money Winning at all costs

48 Sports Are a Reflection of Societal Values
While sports have been praised for leading positive societal changes, such as reducing discriminatory treatment of African Americans, today sports reflect society’s cheating culture. Commercialized sports, especially as popularized by the media, entertain Americans, many of whom are obsessed by winning and cheer for athletes and coaches who do whatever it takes to win.

49 Questions or Comments?

50 Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences
Angela Lumpkin Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Telephone: Thank-you for attending!

51 References Acosta, V. R., & Carpenter, L. J. (2008). Women in intercollegiate sport. A longitudinal, national study thirty one year update. Retrieved November 15, 2008, from Farrey, T. (2008). Game on: The all-American race to make champions of our children. New York: ESPN Books. Fields, S. K. (2005). Female gladiators: Gender, law, and contact sport in America. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

52 References Frank, R. (2004). Challenging the myth: A review of the links among college athletic success, student quality, and donations (pp. 1-36). Miami, FL: Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from Lumpkin, A. (in press). Critical events: Historical overview of minorities (men and women) in college sports. In D. Brooks & R. Althouse (Eds.). Racism in college athletics (3rd ed). Morgantown, WVA: Fitness Information Technology, Inc.

53 References Lumpkin, A. (in press). Modern sport ethics: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2007). Estimated probability of competing in athletics beyond the high school interscholastic level. Retrieved January 5, 2009, from

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