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Sports As a Reflection of Society


Sports As a Reflection of Society Once given equal opportunities, African American males and females began to dominate college basketball. Gender Discrimination in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sports As a Reflection of Society

Sports As a Reflection of Society
Three Goals of this Presentation
  • 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?
A Cheating Culture Pervades Society as It
  • Cheating on tests, income taxes, spouses, and
  • Lying to gain advantage
  • Stealing from employers and others

Why Personal benefit, regardless of who may be
adversely affected.
The Pursuit of Fame and Fortune in Society
  • The aspiration to get into the most prestigious
  • The quest for power and status by politicians
  • The greed of corporate executives, lawyers, and

The emphasis is on me first, self-promotion,
and a winner-take-all approach.
Bernard Madoff
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 Enrons 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

Recent Examples of The Cheating Culture in Sports
  • 2001 George OLeary 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
  • 2008 Helio Castroneves, a two-time winner of
    the Indianapolis 500, indicted for income tax
  • 2009 Florida State University received several
    sanctions for a cheating scandal involving 61
    athletes in 10 sports.

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

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 peoples
    cultural, economic, and moral values?

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

Winning Is Richly Rewarded
  • Sports Illustrateds 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

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

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 boys girls Amateur Athletic Union Amateur Athletic Union Basketball National Championships
8 years and under boys girls 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 boys girls Amateur Athletic Union Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Swimming Meet
9 years and under boys girls US Club Soccer Youth World Series
9 years and under boys girls Youth Basketball of America Youth Basketball of America National Championships
9-12 years boys girls Little League Little League Baseball World Series
9-12 years girls Little League Little League Softball World Series
10 years and under girls Amateur Athletic Union Amateur Athletic Union Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships
10 years and under boys girls Babe Ruth League Cal Ripken Baseball 10-Year-Old World Series
What Is the Likelihood of Becoming an Olympic,
Professional, Intercollegiate, or Interscholastic
  • 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

Estimated Probability of Competing in Athletics
beyond the High School Interscholastic Level
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
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

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
  • Young athletes
  • Have fun
  • Learn sports skills
  • Learn life lessons of character

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

Myths and Truths in Youth Sports (Farrey, 2008)
Myths Truths
MythThe best athletes are those who work the hardest. The truth isThe elite often have innate, natural advantages.
MythEarly, focused skills training makes a Tiger roar. The truth isIn golf, sometimes in most sports, no.
MythAmerica is the worlds athletics superpower. The truth isWere the fattest nationand it all starts in preschool.
MythOrganized competition breeds success. The truth isUnstructured play is often more valuable.
MythChildren want to win. The truth isThey do, but it means far more to adults.
MythAthletic scholarships support amateurism. The truth isThe lure of a payoff turns peewees into mini-pros.
MythThe poor benefit the most from college sports. The truth isRich kids are far likelier to get roster spots.
MythGrade-school travel teams identify future stars. The truth isThey reward early bloomers, leaving the rest behind.
MythNo national body coordinates grassroots sports. The truth isThe U.S. Olympic Committee is supposed to.
MythChildren inevitably find their best sport. The truth isMost are never exposed to sports they might excel at.
MythMoney is pouring into youth sports. The truth isIt is, but not in the communities that need it most.
MythMedia coverage drives up participation. The truth isKids play a game then they become fans.
MythGrassroots hoops has gotten too professional. The truth isThe problem is it lacks a professional approach.
MythPlaying sports builds character. The truth isIt depends on who runs, and who surrounds, the team.
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
  • 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?
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
A mother abandoned her daughter alongside an
interstate highway after the daughter did not
perform to the mothers expectations in a soccer
A father provided steroids and human growth
hormones to his 13-year old son who was a
world-ranked inline speed skater.
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.

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

Tonya Hardings cronies injured Nancy Kerrigan.
Mitch Cozad, backup punter at Northern Colorado,
convicted of assault for stabbing his rivals
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
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
Performance-Enhancing Drugs
  • Baseball players like Barry Bonds
  • Marion Jones stripped of Olympic medals and
    sentenced to prison

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
1881-1883, was the first to play at a Caucasian
Continued Racial Discrimination
  • Historically Black colleges and universities and
    segregated leagues
  • Subjected to withheld from games violence
    exclusion with gentlemans agreements
    stacking and quotas

John McClendon
Oklahoma States Wilbanks Smith viciously hit
Drakes Johnny Bright in the face with his fist.
All-American Paul Robeson
Confronting Racial Discrimination
  • Succeeding against unbelievable odds
  • The watershed event of the 1966 NCAA mens
    basketball championship game
  • Athletes fighting for their rights, such as
    through boycotts and demanding equitable

Jesse Owens
Alice Coachman
Bill Garrett
Academic Exploitation of African Americans in
  • 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
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
  • During the 1970s through 1990s, the best college
    football player was most likely an African

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

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
  • Males
  • 1966Associated Press
  • 1969Naismith
  • 1977Wooden
  • Females
  • 1981Wade
  • 1983Naismith
  • 2004Wooden

  • Once given equal opportunities, African American
    males and females began to dominate college

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 1899-1938
  • Half-court games until 1970 in colleges

The last sanctioned high school half-court game
was played in 1995 in Oklahoma.
Alternative Sports for Females
  • Play days and sports days prevented the
    commercialized abuses of mens athletics.
  • In 1923, the Womens 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.

Expanded Opportunities in Sports
  • The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for
    Women beginning in 1971, and the organizations
    it replaced, set standards and policies for
    womens athletics and offered national
    championships until 1982 when the NCAA took over
    womens championships.

1976 NJCAA began national championships for
females. 1980 NAIA began national championships
for females.
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)
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Females in Intercollegiate Athletics in NCAA
Institutions (Acosta Carpenter, 2008)
Year Average Number of Sports for Females Female Head Coaches of Womens Teams Female Head Administrators of Womens Programs
1972 not available Over 90 Over 90
1978 5.61 58.2 not available
1982 6.59 52.4 not available
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 18.5
2006 8.45 42.4 18.6
2008 8.65 42.8 21.3
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Threats to Academic Integrity
  • Some athletes masquerade as students while
    chasing the elusive dream of playing at the next
  • Lies, dishonesty, and deceit have been used to
    keep athletes academically eligible.
  • University of Georgia (1981)
  • University of Minnesota (1999)
  • University of Tennessee (2000)

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.

The Paradox of the Arms Race
  • Entice recruits with the biggest and best
  • Pay winning coaches millions

Bob Stoops Oklahoma football coach
Zero Sum Game
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.

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