By Ken Reed
The latest episode of HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” has a segment on abusive coaching practices in the NCAA.
In the segment, Dr. Ben Tepper, from Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, is interviewed. Tepper has made the study of abusive leadership in the workplace his specialty. He is the creator of the Tepper Scale, an abusive supervisor questionnaire used by numerous companies and industries.
Tepper has studied industries such as the military, health care, financial institutions, education and manufacturing. The levels of abuse in those industries are all pretty similar. However, when he studied NCAA college athletics, he found leadership abuse in college sports was significantly higher than any other industry.
Tepper was shocked when he first saw the data on college athletics.
“My first reaction was I’m not reading the data right. It had to be a mistake. We’re talking two to three times higher than any other industry. … It’s just off the charts.”
The reason for the high level of leadership abuse in college sports appears to be the extreme amount of control that college coaches have over their athletes, along with the stress that comes with the pressure to win, and vulnerable athletes with nowhere to turn and no union to support them.
“Abusive behavior only happens when you have the combination of a person in a power position working with someone who is very weak and vulnerable, who can’t really protect themselves,” explains Tepper.
You can find more information on this “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” episode.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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