Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Robin L. Hardin

Committee Members

Erin Whiteside, Jennifer Morrow, Jim Bemiller, Steven Waller


Sexual harassment and sexual assault have gained a great deal of media attention throughout the past several years. Over 200 colleges and universities across the US have been under federal investigation for Title IX violations. Between 20% and 25% of women attending higher education institutions will be the victim of completed or attempted sexual assault during their college careers (Fisher et al., 2000). Sport has been described as space possessing a permissive rape culture due to its overtly masculine culture (Kidd, 1990). Further demonstrating this belief, research has shown that male athletes were overrepresented in reports of perpetrators of sexual assault, abuse, and intimidation (Fritner & Rubinson, 1993). Both sport organizations and sport management programs in higher education have been found to be male-dominated students (Acosta & Carpenter, 2014; Jones et al., 2008; Lapchick, 2014a; Lapchick 2015). Industries that are male-dominated in nature have higher levels of sexual harassment, incivility, and passive aggressive behaviors compared to gender even or female-dominated organizations (Willness et al., 2007).

The current research project examined the extent to which undergraduate and graduate sport management students were exposed to education and training on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the classroom and internship setting. Results indicated that less than 50% of students are exposed to education on sexual harassment (46.1%) or sexual assault (35.9%) in the classroom, and less than 40% are exposed to training on sexual harassment (39.6%) or sexual assault (28.4%) in the internship setting. Students indicated discussing these topics in most classes offered in sport management departments including: gender in sport, introduction to sport management, sport marketing, sport ethics, sport law, HR management, organizational behavior, and intercollegiate athletics. However, percentages were relatively low for most courses. Students also indicated discussing and being trained on these issues in the following ways: definitions of sexual harassment, legal consequences, prevalence in the work place and on college campuses, ways to decrease sexual harassment, Title IX, the Civil Rights Act, risk management, and human resource management. However, many student only learned about definitions, legal consequences, and statistics on prevalence.

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