Diversity Issues In The Athlet Essay, Research Paper
Diversity Issues In The Athletic Department
In this world, people interact with one another. People develop and exchange a
diverse set of identities. Their identities are informed by gender, race ethnicity, culture,
sexual orientation, religion, their varying physical and mental abilities, class, age,
education, profession, and regional identity. Each person carries social values and brings
multiple identities to the organizations and communities of which they are a part of.
Throughout history, people have always used each identity to hurt another group of
people whom they may have felt were a threat to them, or to simply hurt a minority group
to feel superior.
In the article, Opportunity for Change , Melissa Y. Rock states that
the concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each
individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the
dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical
abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies (Rock, p.2).
Positive diversity is about the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and
nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple
tolerance to embracing the diversity contained within each individual. Sadly, in many
universities, diversity issues run rampant in some form. I want to show that diversity can
be a postive form in a athletic department.
As an athletic director of a university, I want to create some guidelines and
inform my staff about these issues because I believe in promoting a fair opportunity for
all players, coaches, spectators, all levels of participation to sports, and staff. Also I want
to create a good image for the university. Having problems with diversity promotes a
negative atmosphere, hurts people, and hurts the university s image.
Another reason to make diversity issues a priority is because we need to prepare
for the future. In the next 10 years and beyond, there will be an increase in minority
students. Teachers, faculty, coaches, and staff need to know that times are changing and
they must act appropriately. In the article by McCauley, Wright, and Harris (2000), it
states that in 1995, 67 percent of U.S. children aged 5-17 were white, 15 percent were
black, 13 percent were Hispanic, and 5 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, American
Indians, and Alaskan native. Between 2000 and 2020, it is projected that there will be 61
percent more Hispanic children aged 14-17 and 47 percent more Hispanic children aged
5-13. The numbers of Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Alaskan Native
children aged 14-17 is projected to increase by 73 percent, while the number of those
children aged 5-13 is projected to grow by 67 percent. The number of white children
aged 5-13 is projected to decrease by 11 percent, and the number of white children aged
14-17 is projected to decrease by 10 percent. Yet these numbers only cover the racial
diversity issue. The numbers of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered peoples in the
United States are also increasing. And, of course, women comprise more than half of the
population (Rock, p.3). The statistics indicate that times are changing and we are
becoming a very diverse society in a short span of time. As an example, if a professional
NBA team currently only allowed white players on the team, then they would most likely
be runned over by teams that have diversed and have the best players in all identities.
Just like how companies are trying to scramble to get their products on the internet
because they know that if they don t start changing now, they will be too far behind from
their competitors in a short span of time.
Diversity training can be used to bolster employee morale, retain productive
workers and promote harmony and understanding within the organization. I want
players, staff, and anyone else dealing with the athletic department to feel that they are
being treated properly. In the article, Changes In Attitude After Diversity Training , he
says that an effective diversity training program seeks to debunk the myths of diversity,
explores the realities of diversity and identifies means by which employees can meet the
challenges of multiculturalism in the workplace (Tan, Morris, Romero, 1996, p.54).
Changing demographics of the United States are having a significant impact on
communities, organizations, society, and the nation. In the athletic department, morale,
productivity, and success will depend on the ways organizations manage the changing
demographics of their current and future workers.
I also have other purposes for doing a diversity training workshop. I obtained
some of my reasons for diversity training in the article, Why Diversity Matters . If the
department gets sued for racial or sexual discrimination, at least I ll be able to point to
the diversity training workshop I offered. In a sense, I believe this has to do with risk
management. A company s return on investment can be negatively affected by low
employee morale and satisfaction, by conflicts and misunderstandings, and by costly
legal battles (Gardenswartz, Rowe, p.S1). I also want the people in my department to get
along, to understand and appreciate one another. I want inclusion. The underrepresented
staff and coaches should achieve success in this department. I also want the majority
employees to work successfully with diverse colleagues. Another purpose for this
workshop is justice. In the department, I want everybody to be able to acknowledge if
there are any inequalities. My last purpose is that I want transformation. I want to make
certain that all of us in the workshop have thought long and hard about the benefits of
new and diverse staff, coaches, players, and spectators mean to the department. This
may even change our standards and values of the department.
As an athletic director, I would have to face the issues of diversity within the
athletic department. I would need to research and put together a workshop to plan a
course of action to deal with diversity issues. This workshop would be directed to the
coaches and the staff within the athletic department. I will also set up a taskforce that
will include myself, a coach, and a staff member. The staff member and coach are to be
elected to the diversity taskforce and it s job is to oversee that everyone complies with
proper attitudes. In this paper, I will discuss what this workshop will cover. I
acknowledge that I need to do some research by contacting the many diversity training
consultants and that I must read the most current information and even watch some
videos on diversity issues.
I believe that many people do not realize that they are hurting others. This is why
I must provide comprehensive training and development activities for my department.
One of these activities will be to do a workshop where I will address diversity issues and
make my guidelines clear.
I will put together a 2-hour diversity training workshop on a Wednesday morning
when it would be mandatory to attend. I will do the workshop in the morning because I
want the workshop to be the first thing on my employees minds during the day and I
believe that Wednesday will be a good day because my employees can use the
information during the workshop and start implementing it with upcoming games. I will
facilitate the workshop and it will be a lecture format.
I want the people who come out of the workshop to understand the knowledge of
diversity issues, knowledge of barriers to change, knowledge of the effect of stereotypes
and prejudices in the workplace, readiness to value diversity, knowledge on identifying
and preventing stereotypes and prejudices in the workplace (Tan, Morris, Romero, 1996,
p.3). I believe that if the coaches and the staff can grasp the understanding of the
knowledge above then there can be a significant difference in the participants attitudes,
perceptions, and knowledge. I admit that the hardest concept for people is to change
their habits. I will need to be patient and help my employees break out of their old habits
if they have them. As a facilitator, I need to encourage participants to speak for
themselves, to refrain from personal attacks on others, to be open to new or different
ideas, and to express themselves freely in all discussions and activities (Barry, Bateman,
1996, p.757). I must also assure that their expressed opinions will be held confidential
and not recorded or repeated.
My objectives throughout the workshop are to explore the primary dimensions of
diversity, analyze the effect of assimilation on the ability of others to succeed, explore
participants personal values, stereotypes, and prejudices, examine the effect of
destructive isms , assess employees readiness to value diversity, identify current
barriers that could impede cultural change, and analyze ways to prevent sexual
harassment in the workplace (Tan, Morris, Romero, 1996, p.55). I will be talking to the
coaches and staff so I may have to give examples that relate to each area. For example, I
may explain to the coach that they must make sure that they are aware of how they treat
their players and other assistants. Hopefully, after the workshop, he/she may implement
some changes or at least they will be able to notice if they are doing any isms and if,
they must let their players and assistants know that they must change. I must point out to
my staff to be aware of how they treat each other, students, parents, etc.
I will have to do a great deal of research and confer with some diversity issues
experts. I will also invite one of them to come and talk for about 15 minutes, so the
people present at the workshop can get a different approach and may also be more
attentive. I want to create an atmosphere where everyone in the workshop can contribute
and also express their thoughts and experiences. This way, we can have a more
informative and productive workshop. I know that some personalization is needed, but
not at the expense of making my coaches and staff uncomfortable expressing their
viewpoints for fear of guilt or rejection.
I need to understand that the participants in the workshop may not know what to
expect. To be effective, I must be able to point out experiences that touch the
participants and support them as they learn about and reflect on others and themselves.
In addition to thinking a new about others, effective diversity programming presses
people to examine themselves (Rossett, Bickham,1994, p.43). I can do a diversity quiz
that asks factual, multiple-choice questions about different diversity issues in the
workplace. The article, Diversity Training: Hope, Faith, and Cynicism , argues that a
good self-assessment method is to ask the group for a list of stereotypes for an ethnic or
cultural group and then discuss these stereotypes. This article also states some other
good methods of self-assessment such as using role playing and group activities that give
people a chance to witness and experience several different perspectives. I could act out
a scene with a coach where I pretend to be a coach and he/she pretends to be a player. I
can treat the coach negatively with using different racial, religious, etc. and see how the
coach would act in the situation. In this way, the coach can experience a glimpse of how
he/she may be treating the player. I can also ask participants to come up with personal
action plans that move them toward some goal, either their own or to the department s.
My goal of the workshop is to inform my staff and coaches about the issues of
diversity and then to see if they can carry out what they have learned. I believe that
practicing change is very important. In Rossett and Bickham s article, they say that
successful attitude change often involves practicing and reflecting on one s own
real-world performance in light of the standards to which one is expected to perform .
As a facilitator, I must be able to draw experiences and concerns from participants,
pressing them to consider how others might perceive their actions, and asking them to
compare their performance to organizational standards (Allison, 1999, p.78). I
understand that no diversity program can specify what to do in every situation, but I can
at least hope that the training will empower the people in the department to at least have
proper guidelines. During the workshop, I will be talking to the coaches and staff. In
this case, everything that I talk about will apply to both sides. A player is no different as
a person than the coach and vice versa. Of course there are situations which may be
different, the issue is still the same and calls for similar approaches.
Building awareness first is important because my staff must be aware of their
activities before they can change them. I remember when one of my friends didn t know
that making threats to harm people was a crime, although he didn t mean it. When I
informed him of this, he stopped making these types of remarks. In the article, Raising
Awareness Precedes Changing Attitudes by Kenneth Haseley, it says that before you can
change your attitudes or behavior, you need to deal with awareness. I liked the example
which said, Consider hard liquor and tobacco consumption in this country. In general,
we have seen a reduction in the use of these products. It s no coincidence that this trend
has followed years of aggressive communication campaigns (Haseley, 1994, p36).
Before I have the workshop, I can at least meet with staff and coaches and just briefly
remind them of some of the issues going on and then when they come to the workshop,
they are aware and then I have a chance to change attitudes. I know that people s
attitudes don t change overnight, but if I can at least get them to think about how they are
doing things, then this will lead to change.
I understand that diversity training is a sensitive topic to introduce. The article
Diversity Training: A Competitive Weapon , gives a good criteria of the implications
of diversity training. It states that the difficulty with diversity training involves walking a
fine line between creating a climate of honesty and at the same time, trying to add humor.
For any diversity program to succeed, there must be an appropriate balance between
these two needs. I don t want my staff to feel uncomfortable, create a climate of
mistrust, or have anyone feel that their jobs are threatened. I want them to reflect and
contribute in making our department a better place.
One of my goals for the department is to create a reputation that doesn t
discriminate against a person s identity. By doing this I will increase the quality of
workers and players. Any business that chooses to ignore the advantages that a diverse
work force provides, does so at its own risk. The risk of limiting the pool of talented
people, of losing the dynamic synergy that a diverse workforce provides, and of
alienating customers (Walters, 1995, p.497). I want to hire the best staff and attract the
best players to come to this university. Institutions known for successfully promoting
cultural diversity will attract the best and brightest minority and women candidates in the
future. They will get the pick of the best, much the way that the Ivy League colleges
continually attract the best students, and because they get the best students, they remain
the best colleges (Walters, 1995, p.497). Diversity programs would increase the quality
of the athletic programs at my school and create a positive environment that results in
winning more games and most likely, creates more revenue. In just a business sense, it
makes complete sense to implement a diversity training program.
During the workshop, I will cover the many issues I described above. Yet now, I
will explain the format of my workshop. The article, Making The Right Training
Moves , states that developing a model for training in diversity is a challenge because
every institution has a different mission. Thus, I need to look at the school s mission and
incorporate it within my own workshop. I will start off by doing some skits where people
can role play. Throughout the workshop I will ask for experiences they have had and any
suggestions or comments. I want my workshop to be interactive. I will not use a
powerpoint presentation because I want to keep the event at a personal level. I want
ideas and information to flow. I will tell my staff why they are at the workshop and