ERIC Number: ED449757
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
How Much Difference Is Too Much Difference: Perceptions of Homosexuality in Intercollegiate Athletics. ASHE Annual Meeting Paper.
Wolf-Wendel, Lisa E.; Toma, J. Douglas; Morphew, Christopher C.
This study explored why college athletes and coaches accept some forms of diversity but are less willing to accept homosexuality. To explore how athletic teams respond to diversity, researchers visited five college campuses, interviewing athletes in higher profile sports with racial and ethnic diversity. Twelve to fifteen formal interviews or focus groups were conducted on each campus, for fifty to one hundred individuals per campus. Because team members were likely to assert heterosexist and homophobic comments around their teammates, homosexuality was explored in single interviews rather than group sessions. In general, there was a remarkably strong sense of community between and among participants on the sports teams even though the teams were marked by diversity. However, there was hostility to gays and lesbians on nearly all teams, and coaches, administrators, and athletes were all unwilling to confront and accept homosexuality. The paper discusses why this situation exists, focusing on athletics as a microcosm of society. It is also probable that athletes have more exposure to racial differences than homosexuality and that collegiate athletics as a field embodies hegemonic masculinity. It is also suggested that athletics may inhibit individual identity in efforts to achieve conformity. (Contains 64 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) (25th, Sacramento, CA, November 16-19, 2000).