Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sport Studies

Major Professor

Adam Love, Steven Waller

Committee Members

Steven Waller, Adam Love, Mitsunori Misawa, Ketra Armstrong


Supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) is responsible for National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and High-Performance Management Organizations (HPMOs) in the United States. NGBs and HPMOs are Olympic-level sport organizations representing individual Olympic sports, consisting of various stakeholders, including staff, members, coaches, athletes, boards of directors, and additional committees. Mandated by the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Act (1978), every four years, the USOPC collects demographic data and produces scorecards for each organization detailing the makeup of their membership, athletes, coaches, board of directors, standing committees, and professional staff (USOPC, 2021). Considering professional staff, scorecard data from 2013-20 reveals a challenge for many Olympic-level sport organizations, fostering a racially diverse staff. In response, the current study explores the hiring practices of an Olympic-level sport organization to learn about the ways in which these hiring practices may (re)produce racial inequity.

To illuminate the problem, Chapter 1 provides background on racial inequity in sport, the Olympic movement and the current study's contribution to the literature. Chapter 2 reviews literature from various disciplines such as human resource management, sociology, and sport management. Additionally, the suitability of Gidden's (1984) Structuration Theory and Ray's (2019a) theory of racialized organizations to theoretically buttress the current study is identified and expounded upon. The study's guiding research questions are 'How does an Olympic-level sport organization conceptualize and describe its hiring practices?', and 'In what ways do organizational members perceive race as being relevant in hiring practices?'

Chapter 3 outlines the study's qualitative case study methodology and the methods employed. Chapter 4 reports the findings including "Moving Target", A Proclivity Toward "Familiar" Professional Networks, Unstructured, Variability & Subjectivity, The Salience and Variability of "Fit", and The Irrelevance of Race in Hiring. Drawing from these findings, Chapter 5 includes a discussion detailing (a) the ways the case operates as a racialized organization fundamental in constructing racial inequity by facilitating a racialized hiring process, and (b) how the organizational members and hiring practices are dually responsible for (re)producing racial inequity over time.

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025

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