The Internationalization of NCAA Men's Division I "Mid-Major" Basketball Teams International Student-Athletes have long been associated with NCAA Division I athletics, particularly in sports like tennis and women's golf. In the past decade a considerable growth has occurred on one of the NCAA's most prominent stages in Men's Division I Basketball. With top US recruits primarily landing at BCS Conference schools ("high majors"), non-BCS conference schools ("mid majors") have attempted to level the playing field through recruitment of foreign players. The purpose of the study was to examine the successes of mid major basketball teams in relation to the number of international players on its basketball roster. Data collection method included a compilation of a database of each international player's country of origin and player position from the conference champion and runner up from the 26 "mid-major" NCAA Division I conferences for the 2000-2012 seasons. The findings of the study are centered on the following themes: 1) "Stacking" of players from English native vs. non-native speaking countries 2) "Stacking" based off native country 3) Geographic location of the recipient universities. The possible implications of the study include changes in recruiting patterns for international student athletes in collegiate athletics and the role of the NCAA in the global basketball complex. P3: Jepkorir Rose Chepyator-Thomson, University of Georgia
Speed Gene, Genetic Testing, and the Question of Fairness in Sport Competition The general public and perhaps some scholars are of the opinion that there is a sport gene to explain human sport performance, with specific groups, primarily blacks such as the Kalenjin runners of Kenya, being considered the prime suspects. If there is a sport gene, can it be categorized according to each sport, as for example swimming or figure-skating gene? How can genetic testing categorically indicate who has and who doesn't have the sports gene? The activities galore on the quest for a sport gene, begs the question: who is involved in these activities, and in whose interest is this crusade on sport specific gene? The purpose of this presentation is to explore the literature on the question of sports gene, testing athletes for genetic pre-disposition, and delineating on whether fairness in sport is a possibility in future decades.
Session Title: The National Football League and Cultural Neoliberalism
Session Type:Paper presentation session
Organizers: Thomas P. Oates, University of Iowa and Jeffery Montez de Oca, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Presider: Thomas P. Oates, University of Iowa
Note: FULL/4 Session Abstract:
This panel considers the National Football League (NFL) as an engine of neoliberal culture in the US, and increasingly, globally. Papers in the panel consider the how neoliberal economic imperatives help us better understand the presentation of the NFL, how does NFL entertainment contribute to the creation of neoliberal subjectivities, generate new understandings of race/gender/sexuality, and contribute to the "financialization of everyday life"? Participants: P1: Thomas P. Oates, University of Iowa
Taking Charge: NFL Coaches and Self Help Literature A key strategy of neoliberal governance has been to place a special emphasis on personal self-improvement in ways that connect to broader programs for population management (Rimke, 2010). This paper explores how these strategies work through sport, focusing attention on self-help works authored by National Football League coaches. These texts, targeted at a male audience, seek to extend football's "life lessons" to the spheres of business, the family, and spiritual leadership, reasserting the value of patriarchal leadership for each. In this paper, I examine works written or co-written by current or former NFL coaches Tony Dungy, Rex Ryan, Bill Walsh, and Pete Carroll to illustrate how these texts connect ideas about race, gender and hierarchy to neoliberal regimes of governance. P2: Jeffery Montez de Oca, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Reaching the Kids: NFL Youth Marketing Strategies This paper looks at how the National Football League (NFL) markets its products to youth in the United States (and around the world). At a time when youth have far more leisure activities to choose from (soccer, skateboarding, video games, social media, etc.) and there are increasing concerns about American football's health risks, we see the NFL engaging in increasingly sophisticated marketing campaigns directed at youth and their parents. The NFL has expanded its messaging in a variety of ways: youth oriented social media, such as NFL Rush Zone; online video games, such as Rush Zone Megacore; and funding for public schools, such as PLAY 60 Super School Contest. Additionally, the NFL has developed channels to disseminate health and safety oriented messaging through web sites such as NFL Evolution. This paper views the NFL's marketing as technologies of governance that simultaneously work to construct NFL fan subjectivities and construct the NFL as a responsible manager of youth health. P3: Kimberly S. Schimmel, Kent State University
The Long Arm of the Law: Extending the Reach of US Security Policy through the NFL's Super Bowl The "grim alignment" (Giroux, 2004, p. 45) of the state with corporate power, transnational corporations, and military force is one of the hallmarks of neoliberalism. In the US, the inclusion of sports stadiums into national security policy has created a unique and unprecedented institutional relationship between the US Department of Homeland Security, sports league owners, facility managers, and individual citizens. US security strategies now extend through sport in ways not seen, and not possible, in a pre-9/11 context. The extra security demands of hosting a Super Bowl, for example, have been leveraged by all levels of US government and police to forge linkages across various agencies and expand capabilities of tracking and surveillance. In addition, legal structures now appear to equate sport spectators with soldiers at war. These security strategies connect sport entrepreneurs (in this case, the NFL) and the US government in mutually beneficial ways that help secure sport events profits and help implement and secure consensus for the US's counter-terrorism policies. In this panel discussion, I extend my own work (Schimmel, 2012, 2012) and Jon Coaffee's (2009, p. 9) recent work on urban resilience that contends that in the present historical moment, "security is becoming more civic, urban, domestic, and personal." P4: Adam Rugg, University of Iowa
America's Game: The NFL's "Salute to Service" Campaign and Corporate Citizenship This paper examines the National Football League's (NFL) construction of itself as an American public institution through the "Salute to Service" campaign that was launched in 2012 to celebrate the United States military. During the campaign, each NFL team picks one game in the month of November to honor a branch (or branches) of the military. These games then become extravagant spectacles of patriotic display, filled with special opening and halftime ceremonies, massive card stunts performed by the crowd, and the adorning of NFL-branded camouflaged ribbons on everything from the game football to the end zone pylons. While military imagery and nationalistic symbolism are common in American sports, the "Salute to Service" campaign operates within a larger sphere of goodwill activities performed by the NFL, such as the "Crucial Catch" campaign against breast cancer, the "Play 60" campaign against childhood obesity, and the variety of charitable giving and game day gestures in the wake of tragedies such as the Sandy Hook shooting and Hurricane Sandy. These campaigns all work together to construct the league as not just a compassionate corporate citizen passively embodying "American values," but as an ideologically active and authoritative American public institution.
Session Title: On Endurance and Socio-Cultural Aspects of Running
Session Type:Paper presentation session
Organizers and Presiders: William Bridel, Miami University (OH), Jim Denison, University of Alberta, and Pirkko Markula, University of Alberta
Note: FULL/4 Session Abstract:
The bombings at the 2013 edition of the Boston Marathon brought distance-running events into public discourse in ways similar to the cancellation of the 2012 New York City Marathon -- the narratives that emerged from the aftermath of both events raised interesting questions about the place of running and endurance challenges in the broader socio-cultural context, especially when placing those narratives in relation and in stark contrast to other types of human endurance demonstrated by those affected. In this session we want to examine many different kinds of running and running events to think critically about the idea of "endurance" from a socio-cultural perspective. Beyond scientific explanations, how do people think about, conceptualize, or experience endurance? What can critical interrogations of representations of endurance reveal about the relationship between running and the broader socio-cultural context both historically and in contemporary times? Is the ability to "endure" an innate human characteristic or a socially constructed concept that has different meanings over time and space and if the latter, what's at stake? Why do people run and with what outcomes, beyond the reasons popularly promoted? Participants: P1: P. David Howe, Loughborough University
Hitting a Purple Patch: Building High Performance Runners at Runtleborough University This paper uses phenomenological ethnographic methods to elucidate the embodied habitus that surrounds the middle distance squad at Runtleborough University. Having worked as a member of the cross country and middle distance coaching team the author has amassed detailed field notes of the culture surround this successful team that illuminates how, year in- year out, the student athletes at Runtleborough Students Athletics Club (RSAC) successfully develop into elite runners. Some come to RSAC as junior 'stars' but what is distinctive about this club is that many who hardly understand the sport, upon joining the club, also excel and often exceed the performances of talented juniors. The pull of the culture is such that many club members stay in Runtleborough, long after their student days, in pursuit of the fastest times their mortal engines can muster. The relationship between the physical and social environment fostered over several generations by the charismatic head coach is a distinctive balance of tried and tested science of running with the flair of humanism, which emphasizes the value and agency is key to the success of RSAC runners. P2: Maylon Hanold, Seattle University
How Do You Know if You're an Ultrarunner?: Negotiating Meanings, Practices and Risk With the dramatic growth in ultrarunning over the past five years, multiple avenues of "being" an ultrarunner are increasingly apparent. Grounded in Giddens' (1990, 1991) structuration theory, I explore the various ways in which ultrarunners position themselves within this lifestyle sport. Accordingly, I engage the areas of "difference" to illustrate the tensions between the "institution" of ultrarunning and individual agency within that context. Specifically, I examine discourses and practices regarding the role of pacers, "rules" in races, and emergent forms such as non-traditional distances, fastest known times (FKTs) and non-traditional formats such as "Fat Ass" races. Such an examination reveals the subtleties of meaning that ultrarunning takes on for participants. Additionally, I show how ultrarunning embodies micro-level managing of risk, a key concern in the post-modern world (Giddens, 1999). Employing a critical view, I look at how access to this type of risk is limited to those who adhere to the "rules" and have access to the resources of ultrarunning. P3: Fred Mason, University of New Brunswick
Career Stages, Comrades, Karnazes, and Acquaintances: Entry Paths into Ultrarunning Based on ethnographic research and qualitative interviews, this paper considers "entry paths" of runners into ultrarunning distances. Ultrarunning has experienced phenomenal recent growth, with Ultrarunning magazine (2011) reporting that the number of finishers of ultra-length trail races in the US increased from 15,500 in 1998 to 52,000 in 2011. With and part of this growth is increased media coverage and commercialization. Prior to the mid-2000s boom in ultrarunning, most runners got into the sport as a form of "career stage" (Stebbins, 2003), generally moving into ultrarunning after several years of competing at shorter distances, and completing a number of marathons. More recent ultrarunners have often followed different, much quicker paths, with some getting into ultras soon after starting running. Some hear of iconic races such as Comrades, the Western States 100, or the Canadian Death Race. Others encounter ultrarunning through media exposure of star ultrarunners like Dean Karnazes and Scott Jurek, or through reading the burgeoning number of ultrarunning memoirs and guides. More are brought into the "ultrarunning community" through people they know who participate and proselytize. The different entry paths and the rapid growth in ultrarunning has brought sub-cultural changes, and vigorous debates around them. P4: Theresa Walton, Kent State University
Lopez Lomong: Enduring Life The Republic of the Sudan, with more than 600 tribal groups divided by skin color, language, religion and geography, has endured civil war almost continuously since becoming a nation, independent of Egypt and Great Britain in 1956. One chapter of this traumatic history created a group of refugees who have gained global media attention starting from the late 1980s into the early 2000s, daubed the 'Lost Boys of Sudan.' Of the Buya people, Lopepe Lomong, born in 1985 to Awei Lomong and Rita Namana, in the small village of Kimotong, became one of those 'Lost Boys.' At 16 years old, through the Catholic Charities, Lomong, now known by his nickname, Lopez, became one of about 4,000 boys and men who were allowed to relocate to the United States where he became a highly successful high school and collegiate runner. In 2007 Lomong became an US citizen, then making the 2008 and 2012 US Olympic teams. He was the US flag-bearer Beijing Games. In this paper I explicate Lomong's story and experiences using Judith Butler's (1993, 1999) performativity theory. Most especially I am interested in understanding identities as embodied processes by examining the central role of the body in Lomong's subjectivity.
Session Title: Pedagogy, Pinkwashing, Revolution: De/Militarizing Masculinity and
The papers in this session examine sport, militarism and colonialism in different contexts: United States, Palestine/Israel and Egypt. Our hope is to bring together sport researchers who are interested in thinking how to 'demilitarize' sport. The first paper discusses U.S. empire, race, sexuality and masculinity in ultimate fighting through examples of an openly gay female fighter and how youth are becoming militarized. This raises questions about how masculinity and sexuality are produced through consumption, violence and pain. The second paper looks at the politics of a gay marathon in Israel. This raises issues about how gay sport was used to 'rebrand' Western public opinion about Israel as a democratic state and deflect attention away from the military occupation of Palestinian land and people. The third paper documents the revolutionary masculinities and gender relations of Ultras soccer fans who have played a significant role in the Egyptian revolution. The Ultras' have been targeted, injured and killed by militarized ruling regimes. This leads to questions about how the Ultras are locked into a struggle with patriarchal military regimes; how they deal with brutal state violence and their grief; and their gender relations with women in public spaces of the revolution. Participants: P1: Satako Itani, OISE, University of Toronto
Who is Afraid of Octagon? The UFC and the Militarized Pedagogy of Queer Citizenship Scholars have argued that sports as a popular culture has been used to spread and reaffirm neoliberal ideology and militarization within the US and around the world (Andrew & Silk, 2012; Giroux, 2004). However, the question of how neoliberalism and militarism permeate the society despite its violence and damages requires detailed investigation of the local site in which the multiple ways in which neoliberal ideologies and militarism are lived and affirmed. In this study, I conceptualize the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as a powerful pedagogical site that instills and embodies the value of neoliberalism and militarism, and investigate how the UFC helps producing a subject expedient for the US Empire. I argue that the UFC's expansion and success is constituted by three interrelated ideologies of neoliberalism, nationalism, and orientalism and materialized through militarization and commodification of body and diversity that are embodied not only by male fighters but also by the openly lesbian fighters in the Octagon. Thus, the UFC is a site of militarized pedagogy of neoliberal citizenship emerged at the nexus of life-style industry and "military-entertainment" complex that assemblages a kind of subject secured by the disciplined body, consumption, desire for and acceptance of violence and pain. P2: Tyler Carson, University of Toronto Heather Sykes, OISE, University of Toronto
The Pride Run at the Tel Aviv Marathon: Settler Colonialism, Pinkwashing, and Sporting Activisms in Palestine/Israel In 2013, a Pride Run was hosted as part of the Tel Aviv Marathon in Palestine/Israel. The paper discusses a) how the Tel Aviv Pride run produced new homonational sporting subjects in the context of Israeli settler colonialism; b) the links between the Tel Aviv Pride run and the 'Brand Israel' campaign; and c) the ethics of 'pinkwatching' by western researchers/activists. The Pride run was designed to attract athletes to 'gay-friendly' and cosmopolitan Tel-Aviv in Israel. This is an example of 'homonational' gay politics in sport aligning with neoliberalism and settler colonialism. We then critically examine how Tel-Aviv Pride Run illustrates the use sport to 'pinkwash' the military occupation of Palestinian land and people by the Israeli state. The gay pride marathon was part of the 'Brand Israel' campaign which aims to portray Israel as an advanced Western democracy. 'Brand Israel' aims to 'pinkwash', or deflect public attention away from, the military occupation and racist apartheid system that the Israeli state is premised on. We close by critically reflecting on the risks of 'pinkwatching' which requires athletes, activists and scholars to confront their own positions toward setter colonialism in their local contexts (in our case, Canada). P3: Manal Hamzeh, University of New Mexico Heather Sykes, OISE, University of Toronto
‘My Address is Tahrir': ‘Egyptian Ultras’ Revolutionary Masculinities and Gender Relations This paper examines the masculinities and gender relations of Ultras soccer fans during the January 25th Egyptian revolution. Ultras' resistance masculinities were constituted in relation to three regimes’ “Mubarak, SCAF and Mursi/Muslim Brotherhood” which relied upon corporatism, neoliberalism, militarism and Islamism. The Ultras forged anti-corporate and anti-police masculinities through protests against satellite TV and the Egyptian Football Association. Ultras then protested the neoliberal-military nexus of the business elite, SCAF, Central Security Forces and US military-financial 'aid'. During SCAF's regime, the Ultras' were traumatized by the massacre at Port Said and took on martyrdom masculinity leading to demands for retribution which continued during the one-year Islamist regime of Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Ultras resistance masculinities were mostly formed in relation to patriarchal forms of power; however, there were moments when their collective masculinity was produced in relation to women – mothers of Ultras martyrs, and young feminists who challenged the Ultras' exclusion of women from a sit-in protest. The Ultras seem to be locked into melancholic, resistance masculinities traps them within the patriarchal logic of the corporate, militarist and Islamist regimes, even as they oppose the brutal violence of those regimes.
P4: Yeomi Choi, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Korean Sporting Masculinities: Park, Ji-Sung and the Mass Mediated Body in Television Advertising Analyses of gender within post-modern feminist perspectives, including the notion that "gender is relational" have enhanced question-setting about men and masculinities (Messner & Sabo, 1990; Taga, 2005). Still, non-western/East Asian masculinities have been trivialized and largely unknown in Western-centered academia which exercises a sort of imperial power in producing and dispersing normalized culture in the contemporary media age (Taga, 2005). Given that television advertising (re)produces and solidifies dominant ideologies in society, it may also be observed as a crucial sphere from which to understand preferred masculinities as representative cultural texts in any particular historical moment (Park, 2006). This study examines the cultural production of Korean masculinities by reviewing television advertising of Park, Ji-Sung, one of the popular commercial icons in South Korea as a successful transnational soccer player. Informed by feminist cultural lenses, this analysis aims to deconstruct falsely simplified "Asian" masculinities and offers one more sporting cultural space from which to ponder "plural" masculinities.
Session Title: Play and the Politics of Life
Session Type:Paper presentation session
Organizer and Presider: Caroline Fusco, University of Toronto
Note: Added 2 abstracts to session that was submitted