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The Journal of SPORT

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Although it has been over 45 years since the passage of U.S. Title IX legislation, many gender equity issues are still being addressed within both the general and sport cultures. Initially (during the 1970’s) many female intercollegiate athletic programs utilized Gender Specific Athletic Mascots (GSAM’s) to focus attention onto the uniqueness of their emerging programs. Since that time there has been a mass exodus of U.S. colleges and universities away from the usage of GSAM’s, usually in response to internal and/or external pressure, or simply to avoid any degree of controversy related to their institutional presentation of female student groups or organizations. However, the author of this study has not uncovered any evidence of a comprehensive effort to determine the attitudes of intercollegiate athletes regarding the usage of GSAM’s. This study served as an initial effort to uncover athlete attitudes related to Title IX, promoting gender equity through sport, and the usage of GSAM’s. Data was collected from 284 student-athletes attending four Midwestern, small (total enrollment < 1,500) NCAA DIII colleges or universities. Analysis of the data uncovered many interesting perspectives on these issues and supported the need for a more comprehensive effort to explore the attitudes of female intercollegiate athletes before making decisions regarding how they are to be represented to the general public.

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