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ADA Compliance, Inclusion, Athletics, and Human Resource Management Essay

Updated August 9, 2022

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ADA Compliance, Inclusion, Athletics, and Human Resource Management Essay essay

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Human Resource Management deals with a gamete of law, policy, benefits, compliance, and other issues associated with education, medicine, sport and athletics, business, and industry. Thus, the purpose of this discussion is to present the relevant issues and corresponding research in an attempt to provide Hillside College and the Department of Athletics with the foundation for creating a more inclusive environment for students and individuals with disabilities. Human Resource departments are designed and created so that organizations, businesses, industry, institutions and sport and athletic programs, ensure prevention of the following:

  • “To have your employees not doing their best”.
  • “To hire the wrong person for the job. To experience high turnover”.
  • “To have your company in court due to your discriminatory actions”.
  • “To have your company cited for unsafe practices”.
  • “To let a lack of training undermine your department’s effectiveness”.
  • “To commit any unfair labor practices’ (Dessler, 2016).

College Mission Statement, Goals and Vision

The Department of Athletics at Hillside College dedicates itself to excellence in the practice of promoting students and student athletes, faculty, staff, and administration success. We prepare students and student athletes using entry level (BA-SAA) sport administration competencies and athletic management core areas. The overarching goal being to address the quality of ethics and behavior through sport and athletic management participation, being mindful of the holistic, dynamic, and multifaceted nature of human interaction with and within the College, sport and athletic competition, and the community. Educational and professional choices carry important ethical assumptions regarding the purpose of sport, sport administration and athletic management, the educator, and the student athlete. As Athletic Director (AD) and leader of the department, I aspire to the highest standards of conduct and encourage ethical behavior of all with whom we work, educate, develop professionally, mentor, and coach (Mazerolle & Eason, 2018).

The Effect of Title IX

Title IX continues to be a relevant issue within business, education, medicine, and sport and athletics across all levels (e.g., grade school, college, professional). Historically, women have considerably lagged behind men as it relates to leadership and management opportunities. This includes executive positions across each spectrum of employment, as well as sport and athletic management, and participation. For instance, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited the discrimination of race and gender for hiring purposes in intercollegiate sport and athletics. Additionally, it took more than 15 years for Title IX to have an effect on intercollegiate athletics (Brown, 2010). The 1980s and early 1990s saw massive changes in women’s athletics, both in practice and in public attitudes toward the sport and athletic programs.

Today, arguments are rarely based on whether or not sport is safe for women, or whether women have a right to equal competition. Instead, many factors sport and athletic programs are concerned with are associated with the cost of women’s sports (Ambrosius, 2012). Beginning in the 1960s, women’s sport and athletics experienced drastic changes and paradigm shifts. Women’s sport and athletic programs were relatively unpopular with administration across all educational sectors (e.g., secondary school, post-secondary) and had minimal academic support and resources (Ambrosius, 2012; Wulf, 2012). However, once Title IX surfaced during the 1970s, it led to a decade of upheaval within the American school of athletics.

According to Brown (2010), on the immediate level, Title IX means the difference between providing opportunities for women or not; the difference between enjoying equivalent athletic programs or not. Actions taken by schools, the media, as well as the courts resulted in a massive growth of women’s teams at the high school (from 300,000 to 1.5 million girls on teams within 2 years) and college levels, a growth that began to level out only in the mid-1980s because of inflation and declining school revenues (Ambrosius, 2012; Wulf, 2012). This discrepancy in the level of interest has led schools to comply with Title IX by contracting and eliminating men’s sports teams (Brown, 2010).

Furthermore, Title IX has not been favorable to some male sport athletics teams due to the law’s redirected implementation; this has caused programs to meet their demise. Compliance by contraction has become a more common practice for athletic departments in recent years due to the courts’ interpreting contraction as a valid form of Title IX compliance (Ambrosius, 2012; Brown, 2010). Nevertheless, the intent and role of college intercollegiate sport and athletics is for student-athletes to learn various elements of discipline, teamwork, and capacity to meet challenges which frequently produce success later in public and private life (Ambrosius, 2012; Lambert, 2001). Women who participate in collegiate sport and athletics are disadvantaged because female collegiate student-athletes are seen as incapable of cultivating talents that are construed or viewed as non-entertaining, and less competitive as their male counterparts. (Lambert, 2001).

Employment Processes and Myths

In educational, political, legal, and economic systems, minority groups have often resisted discrimination. The sports world is no exception. Prior to the 1950s, African Americans were excluded from professional sports, and as a result, African Americans formed their own all-black teams and leagues (Searcy, 2018). Nonetheless, despite education, training, and experience, and professional practice, African-Americans continually experience discrimination and the lack of upward opportunities in human resource management, business and industry, and executive level positions within business, and sport and athletics (Pichler, Simpson, and Stroh, 2008; Fitzgerald, 2017).

In a study of African American athletic female directors, McDowell and Carter-Francique (2017) reported that a female applicant was discounted in spite of having the qualifications by asserting the hiring decision based on irrelevant considerations and not the applicant’s qualifications for the position. The authors suggested that an intersectional theory (e.g., race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion)—a perspective desired in order to fully understand the experiences of African American women (McDowell & Carter-Francique, 2017).

According to Kane and LaVoi (2018) the tragic, disheartening, and inadvertent penalties of Title IX has experienced a tremendous decline in the number of qualified females occupying head coaching and executive positions in women’s sports. There are employment laws that have been written and implemented, which advocate, recommend, and suggest equal hiring practices are adhered to and followed. However, specifically when analyzing data in intercollegiate sport and athletics, African Americans and women represent a small percentage of head coaches, commissioners, athletic directors, and executives (Brown, 2010).

Hiring Practices

In a study by Pichler, Simpson, and Stroh (2008), data demonstrated that women are generally overrepresented in human resources (HR) and within the managerial ranks of HR, yet they experience the glass ceiling when it comes to reaching top management, despite their being as equally qualified as men. In addition, the authors note that men dominate top management positions and make considerably more than their female counterparts who occupy similar positions. This outlook can be both discouraging and disheartening to women and non-white males who aspire to being head coaches, athletic directors, and conference commissioners. Moreover, despite the hiring efforts prophesized by the NCAA, women and non-white males demonstrate minimal gains in obtaining positions as head coaches or athletic directors. It can be surmised by saying that in-spite of Title IX and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the hiring practices of women and non-white males in athletics and sport will continue to experience growth at a snail’s pace if more efficient hiring practices and/or interventions are not introduced and implemented.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Influence

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, section 504 and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 established legislation related to individuals with disabilities. The ADA provides individuals with disabilities basic protection against discrimination and is intended to eliminate all discriminatory practices, while ADA is a federal mandate which provides equal access to recreational activities to all individuals. According to ADA, an individual with a disability is one who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more activities, who has a record of such impairment, or who is regarded as having such impairment (Bullock & Mahon, 2017; Dattilo, 2018; Kasser & Lytle, 2013; Porretta & Winnick, 2016).

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) broadened the protections for individuals with disabilities, because numerous court findings led to a substantial narrowing of the definition of disability over time (Deckoff-Jones, & Duell, 2018). The ADAAA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that significantly hinders at least one major life activity, such as walking, seeing, learning, or working (Deckoff-Jones & Duell, 2018). This definition was expanded to include individuals with visual or hearing impairments, spinal cord injuries, amputation, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, autism, and/or diabetes.

The lack of awareness and training in therapeutic recreation, adapted physical education or adapted physical activity by physical activity practitioners has led to many post-secondary institutions and communities not developing inclusive health promotion and physical activity programs. A change toward inclusive physical activity requires understanding the philosophical and conceptual foundations underlying inclusive exercise, physical activity, and active sports participation programming (Kasser & Lytle, 2013).

Various Learning Disabilities

The federal definition of term “specific learning disability” is defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) as a “disorder in 1 or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken, or written, which disorder may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations”. The term includes various conditions such as (a) perceptual disabilities, (b) brain injury, (c) minimal brain dysfunction, (d) dyslexia, and (e) developmental aphasia” (Bullock & Mahon, 2017; Porretta & Winnick, 2016).

Mental illness, emotional illness, mental retardation, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and chemical dependency are covered by the ADA (Johnston & Stokes, 2018; Porretta & Winnick, 2016). According to Bullock and Mahon (2017), mental illness is one of the leading public health problems in North America, and is postulated as one of the least understood conditions when compared to other disabling conditions. The authors added that an estimated 43.6 million adults in the United States, age 18 or older were diagnosed as having a mental illness. McLoughlin et al., (2017) believed the ruling and implementation of legislative policies such as the introduction of the ADA might assist in diminishing the negative effect of physical barriers to active sport participation experienced by students with physical disabilities. Furthermore, the ADA states that organizations providing sporting and leisure activities may want to consider making sport and athletic facilities more accessible to students with a physical disability (McLoughlin et al., 2017).

Studies on Students with Disabilities in Post-secondary Education

Research is paramount in the process of providing recommendations and suggestions for professional practice. Maduas et al. (2018), Bialka, Brown, Morro, and Hannah (2017) Bialka, Moro, Brown, and Hannah (2017) concluded that the current body of literature lacks empirical work focused on college and university students with physical disabilities and the lack of interaction in social support systems. Dattilo (2018) noted that professionals facilitate social engagement by working toward enhancing the attitudes of leisure service providers, improve the attitudes and perceptions of community members, use sensitive terms which demonstrate respect and instill a sense of self-worth, nurture positive contact among students with disabilities, and act as allies and advocates for this population.

Benefits Associated with Physical Activity

Various studies have focused on the extent to which participating in physical activity reduces the risk of onset of coronary heart disease. Chronic disease continues to increase rampantly among students/individuals with disabilities (Dishman, Health, & Lee, 2013; USDHHS, 2015. The amount of physical activity needed or required to decrease the risk associated with coronary heart disease is important for public health, since this information is necessary to making recommendations for participating in physical activity (Dishman et al., 2013; Keats et al., 2017; Montez, Zajacova, & Hayward, 2017). Walking is the most prevalent form of exercise among students in post-secondary education. For instance, physical activity such as walking, cross country skiing, or swimming might be considered exercise by an unfit person, while considered physical activity by an individual who is exceptionally fit. The idea is that a physical activity-exercise continuum exists (Klavora, 2015).

Barriers and Challenges to Accessibility

Students with disabilities often face challenges that impede a person’s ability to complete tasks, such as walking, cleaning, bathing, rolling a wheelchair, and (i.e., wheel chair bound) other physical activities which require the utilization of cognition, fine and gross motor skills (Kasser & Lyte, 2013; McLoughlin et al., 2017; Porretta &Winnick, 2016). Although post-secondary education is required to comply with the ADA, issues related to ease of physical accessibility, both within the classroom and across college and university campuses thrive. For example, Daittlo (2018) and Ma and Martin Ginis (2018) recommended creating strategies that foster physical access which included implementing principles of universal design and assembling adaptations that create opportunities for exercise, physical activity, active sports participation, and leisure . Direct contact alone with students with disabilities does not positively change perceptions and acceptance of student who has a disability. Therefore, a social climate in which value and respect for individual similarities and differences exist is compulsory (Bullock & Mahon, 2017; Kasser & Lytly, 2013)

Strategies for Advocating Inclusive Attitudes

Bullock and Mahon (2017) and Kasser and Lytle (2013) documented that attitudes are essential in determining who will and will not have the opportunity to participate in specific exercise, physical activity programs and active sports participation, efforts aimed at promoting positive perceptions and attitudes taking priority over considerations of access and accommodation. Daittlo (2018) established that negative attitudes represent a major obstacle to involvement in an individual’s community (Bullock & Mahon, 2017; Shenkman, Ifrah, & Shmotkin, 2017). Moreover, attitudes toward students with disabilities are highly influenced by social, physical, and experiential factors. Such attitudes can be persuaded by significant others, including parents, educators, professors, friends, and family members (Bullock & Mahon, 2017; Dysterheft, Chaparro, Rice, & Rice, 2018; Jackson et al., 2018; Kasser & Lytle, 2013. Some people with disabilities have been forced into an attitude of complacency.

Discriminatory Infrastructure

The most commonly understood type of accessibility, physical accessibility, commonly refers to the physical environment within which an activity or program is offered. Bathroom facilities, stairs, and elevators can all be physical barriers which complicate or preclude the participation of individuals with certain physical disabilities (Bialka, Morro, et al., 2017; Bialka, Brown et al., 2017; Deckoff-Jones & Duell, 2018). Students with disabilities face barriers such as segregation and discrimination. According to Bullock and Mahon (2017), intrinsic barriers result from an individual’s own physical, psychological, or cognitive limitations. Extrinsic or environmental barriers result in situations or events external to people with disabilities that impose such barriers (Bullock & Mahon, 2017; Dysterheft et al., 2018). Intrinsic barriers do not miraculously disappear.

For example, a cognitive deficit, a consequence of intellectual disability, and the inability to walk because of a spinal cord injury are permanent conditions. Through education and rehabilitation, students with various disabilities, especially individuals with physical disabilities; often improve physical, psychological, or cognitive functioning and thus reduce the effects of intrinsic barriers (Bullock & Mahon, 2017; Kasser & Lytle, 2013). For students with disabilities, intrinsic barriers will more than likely exist.

According to Allan, Côté, Martin Ginis, & Latimer-Cheung (2017) major resources have been dedicated to understanding the barriers and facilitators linked to exercise, physical activity, and active sports participation, highlighting factors at the intrapersonal (e.g., self-perceptions, body functions), interpersonal (e.g., social support, societal attitudes), institutional (e.g., rehabilitation, building design), community (e.g., products and technology for education, sport, etc.), and policy (e.g., health, transportation) levels (Ma & Martin Ginis, 2018; Martin Ginis, Ma, Latimer-Cheung, & Rimmer, 2016).

While the field of adapted sport has grown, McLoughlin et al. (2017) noted that there is a scarcity of research on motivations, facilitators, and barriers for active sport participation among students with physical disabilities participating at a highly competitive level. Research by McLoughlin et al. (2017) theorized that in-depth qualitative inquiry might elucidate connections between motivations to participate in elite adapted sport competition with the facilitators and barriers experienced by students with disabilities in post-secondary education (Chao, 2018; McLoughlin et al., 2017). In an investigation conducted in Canada, Stewart and Schwartz (2018) confirmed that students with a permanent disability faced more barriers to finishing secondary school.

Thus, students with disabilities who overcome substantial barriers may have more resolve and dedication than those without disabilities (Deuchert, Kauer, Liebert, & Wuppermann, 2017; Stewart & Schwartz, 2018). The literature notes that students with a permanent disability face more barriers to finishing high school. The results of the study by Stewart and Schwartz (2018) concluded that students/individuals with disabilities who overcome substantial barriers may demonstrate more favorable determination and commitment than students/individuals without disabilities (Dysterheft, Chaparro, Rice, & Rice, 2018).

Data shows that students with disabilities, more specifically physical disabilities are at a greater risk of acquiring some form of chronic disease and physical inactivity (Dishman et al., 2013; Houston et al., 2018; Stapleton et al., 2018). However, the number of students with disabilities in post-secondary education has increased noticeably since the passing of the ADA and Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Bullock and Mahon (2017) recommend that recreation services adapted physical education and adapted physical activity services must be centered on the student with the disability being served.

This practice should be emphasized whether treatment-oriented recreation therapy, goal oriented special recreation, or activity-oriented inclusive recreation. It is the individual and not the practitioner, clinician, expert or even the activity that is at the center of service delivery (Bullock & Mahon, 2017). Thus, athletic directors, human resource departments, athletic conference commissioners, practitioners, kinesiologists, exercise physiologists/scientists, therapeutic recreationists, adapted physical education and activity specialists, and health and health promotion professionals may consider developing a population-based approach, which prioritizes inclusive physical activity and health promotion opportunities.

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