Luke Silovich's Research problem and question

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For my action research project it is easiest for me to tell about the research problem by breaking down the area into smaller sections. Thus I will describe the overlying issue, the smaller problems involved with it, and some initial thoughts on how these problems might be solved. In the field of Sport Management, more particularly the management of collegiate sports, a large portion of the directing body's time is spent on dealing with conduct issues of the group they are in charge of managing, Student-Athletes. In order to let Student-Athletes know what is expected of them by the university in which they attend, a Student-Athlete Code of Conduct is available for revue through a number of different medians. The problem is that this document is used for more of an insurance policy for the athletic department than as an actual expectation for its Student-Athletes. More often than not the administration will reference the code of conduct after an issue and state that the Student-Athlete broke the agreement and will thus be punished. My action research project will look at the code of conduct on many levels. Initially, I will take a deep look into the actual language of the code of conduct and compare it to others around the country. If an athletic department is expecting a document to convey a message, it needs to be sure that message is clear. For the end of this phase I will write a series of suggestions on how the code of conduct could either be more complete, concise, or clear, depending on what its weaknesses are. Next, I will look at how the code of conduct itself is distributed to Student-Athletes. Even if the Code itself is perfectly written and flawlessly conveys the message to the Student-Athletes, it is doing the department no go if all it is doing is sitting on a shelf. For this section I will research the different ways a document or information can be presented and once the most popular and effective methods are summarized, I will suggest which method would be best for the given population. This will most likely result in multiple medians being available with the idea that repetition will help the population understand the information. Finally, I will research the effectiveness of a code of conduct in general. This portion will contain the largest amount of qualitative research. Here I am interested in knowing the decision making process of a Student-Athlete and whether or not the Code of Conduct comes into mind while they are making potentially dangerous decisions. This portion is important because if the Student-Athlete chooses to disregard the Code of Conduct while they are interacting with society it may be necessary to create a more effective mode. However I am hoping my research will conclude that if a Student-Athlete is fully aware of the consequences of their actions they will choose to make the correct, more responsible decisions. So after all of that my general research question is, "How effective is the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct in effecting the decisions Student-Athletes make?"

3 Comments

Very interesting topic. As a former AD (high school) we, as you can imagine, had a student code of conduct for our athletes. You talked about the code of conduct "sitting on a shelf" which for but a few of the policies is where our code of conduct was as well. There were a few of the policies that were very well known and given to the athletes and parents numerous times throughout the year. These were the policies in regards to tobacco, alcohol/drug and hazing. It seems that the rest of the policies were only brought out when, like you said, punishment was needed. We used the "student code of conduct" in a few cases every year to give out punishment for a behavior. It sounds like it is a similar situation in college by what you have stated. I am also interested in your research question because it is in the same area as mine. If your result is that it positively affects the decisions that student athletes make then that would affect the number of athletes who get arrested which would affect my study!

I also like this topic very much. Being a former athlete, i completely agree that most people listen to the initial meeting talking about the code and where you can find it, and some specifics in it. However, I also feel like that most of my decisions that I have made were because of how I was raised, not necessarily because of a book of rules. I will be very interested to see how your study turns out in terms of whether decisions are made because of a persons set of morals and values, or because they actually realize the consequences set forth in the code of conduct. I think a good way to conduct this would be through extensive interviewing at schools where there is a high rate of violence. I also think that you should choose schools as well as maybe single out a certain sport, such as football. I think that focusing on a high profile sport would be the best route to go for the initial research. Im really interested to see how the results would be implemented if changes in how the code of conduct need to be presented as well. Good luck!

I came across this journal article that may be of interest to you. Here is the abstract:

Most NCAA Division I-A athletic departments produce athlete handbooks designed to provide departmental policies and procedures for the university's athletes and express the department's organizational values. This paper reports the results of a multiple-perspective content analysis of athletic department athlete handbooks from a sample of 35 NCAA Division I-A athletic departments. An analysis of the results provided insight into two questions of interest to the researchers. (1) "What organizational culture values are present in NCAA athletic department athlete handbooks?" (2) "To what extent do handbooks reflect the values expressed in athletic department mission statements?" A discussion of the study findings outlines the implications of this investigation for future research efforts.

Here is the cite:

International Journal of Sport Management June 2003: Vol. 4 Issue 3. p. 179-191 13p

I found it in the sport discus database. Hope it helps.

Matt Vollum