Stereotypes+race+and+coaching-1

Stereotypes+race+and+coaching-1 - Sartore and Cunningham 69...

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Melanie L. Sartore and George B. Cunningham teach in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A & M University. Journal of African American Studies , Fall 2006, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 69-83. Stereotypes, Race, and Coaching Melanie L. Sartore and George B. Cunningham The purpose of the current investigation was to examine the influence of socially held stereotypes with the presence of discrimination in intercollegiate athletics by investigating whether sport-related racial stereotypes influenced promotability rat- ings of applicants differing by race and qualification levels. This was achieved by way of an experiment with undergraduate students. Results demonstrated that White raters relied on sport-related and racial stereotypes when evaluating and selecting the most promotable applicant for a head coaching position. Findings have important implications for practices within sport organizations as a disproportionate number of decision-makers are White and therefore may also make personnel decisions based on such beliefs. Despite the presence of numerous social and governmental forces in place to diversify organizational workforces, there still remains a disproportionate repre- sentation of Whites within the upper echelons of organizational hierarchies. This occurrence is perhaps nowhere more prevalent than within sport organizations where it has been well-documented that Whites have historically dominated both the ad- ministrative and head coaching positions; a trend that exists at both the professional and intercollegiate levels of organized sport (Lapchick, 2004). On the basis of such domination and in response to their subsequent investigation of diversity within intercollegiate athletics, Fink, Pastore & Reimer (2001) put forth that the “typical” intercollegiate athletic employee, at any rank, was a White, Protestant, able-bodied, and heterosexual male. Further, and in support of Fink and Pastore’s (1999) state- ment that “perhaps nowhere is discrimination and oppression more evident than in Division IA intercollegiate athletics” (p. 311), Fink et al. (2001) demonstrated that persons with characteristics different than those of the majority oftentimes faced difficult working environments. Fink and her colleagues (Fink & Pastore, 1999; Fink, Pastore, & Reimer, 2001) statements are indicative of the need for a firm understanding of why White domi- nance within intercollegiate athletics not only exists, but also continues to persist. Research suggests that perhaps the answer lies within the characteristics of those who manage these sport organizations (i.e., university presidents, athletic directors,
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70 Journal of African American Studies / Fall 2006 and head coaches). For instance, Sagas and Cunningham (2005) demonstrated that the lack of career mobility of African American Division I intercollegiate football coaches was not a function of human and social capital differences between Afri- can Americans and their White counterparts but, rather a result of discriminatory practices. Indeed, the presence of these discriminatory practices may be explainable
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