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Perceived fairness in college athletics

This is an excerpt from Human Resource Management in Sport and Recreation-4th Edition by Packianathan Chelladurai & Amy Chan Hyung Kim.

Title IX and Distributive Justice in Sport

Previous studies have adopted the concept of distributive justice (i.e., principles of equality, equity, and need) to investigate the impact of Title IX on college athletics (Rubin and Lough 2015). For example, Mahony and Pastore (1998) found that despite the increased revenue from women’s sports over the two decades after the passage of Title IX, athletics departments did not market women’s sports well or develop them to generate revenue. The authors also recognized that even though the number of female athletes participating in sports increased after the passage of Title IX, the percentage of opportunities for female athletes still remained lower than that of male athletes (Mahony and Pastore 1998). It was highlighted that the reduced chance for women to generate revenue or establish a large fan base resulted from athletics departments not giving them the proper promotion, which in turn affects the opportunity for resource distribution based on the equity principle of distributive justice (Mahony and Pastore 1998).

In another study, Patrick, Mahony, and Petrosko (2008) investigated the perceived fairness of distributions based on the subprinciples of need (i.e., need because of lack of resources, need because of high operating expenses, need to be competitively successful), equality of treatment, and revenue production, along with the different perceptions based on gender, NCAA division, and scenario. Based on the results of different perceived fairness across the scenarios, and different perceptions based on gender and NCAA division, the authors highlighted the importance of the ways of justifying the allocation decisions as fair. Also, the authors recognized that administrators at upper NCAA divisions tended to rate revenue production and need to be competitively successful as fair, while administrators at lower divisions did not favor those distribution methods.

Kim and colleagues (2008) found that revenue generating sport athletes perceived fairness based on equality and need principles compared to athletes with nonrevenue sports. The authors concluded that differences in perceived fairness of resource distribution were based more on sport status and type than on gender (Kim, Andrew, Mahony, and Hums 2008).

More Excerpts From Human Resource Management in Sport and Recreation 4th Edition