Go team - fight team - win team ... win the fight?!
Hoffman, Wendy Elizabeth
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The purpose of this study is to review situations of physical fighting by teams in NAIA intercollegiate athletics and evaluate the response by administrators. Administrative reaction to unsportsmanlike conduct in a public arena seeks to satisfy a variety of stakeholders. A case study is investigated; stakeholders are identified; response by personnel of the institutions involved is documented, and my opinion regarding the success or shortcomings of the response is discussed. The review of literature establishes that there is a sub-culture of athletics within higher education and that this subculture permits a different set of behaviors by student-athletes and staff to occur. Moreover, in the literature, the behavior is accepted and condoned – if not always explicitly – by the members of higher education institutions. The literature review did not produce much research relating to physical conduct in intercollegiate contests. The contribution to literature of this study may start a basis for its discussion. The need for this study is supported by the heightened interest of the NCAA and NAIA in maintaining high levels of sportsmanlike conduct and minimizing brutality in athletic competitions, and the overall focus throughout the U.S. educational system on eliminating bullying in schools. Finally, the need for this study is important in its ability to provide some prescription for administrative reaction to the incidence of fighting with regard to stakeholders – including, but not limited to, alumni and donor reactions, exploitation by media, student-athletes, and parents. The situation of team brawls occurs as a crisis; generally it comes as a combustible moment, taking staff and administrators by surprise. Having a procedure to anticipate and respond to unexpected combat will assist higher education administrators in dealing with its aftermath.