What changes are needed for your sports team or organization? How effective are your policies and procedures at ensuring performance on and off the field? What questions need to be answered to provide a clear direction and ensure resources are being invested in the best manner possible?
SCI has significant expertise research and evaluation in sports and sports business. Our engagements begin with an assessment of your organization or team’s specific goals and needs and then you are presented with a research plan with a timeline and specific outputs.
Validity and Reliability
SCI Team Members have deep background in research design to ensure validity and reliability in data collection and analysis.
Methods and Scope
Research may include:
- Descriptive and prescriptive evaluations
- Data collection, including interviews, surveys, focus groups, bench-marking, expert reviews, document reviews, process observations, and more
- Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
Designed to Preserve Relationship and Ensure Information Flow
SCI is especially adept at designing research methods that ensure information flow without leaving individuals vulnerable to retaliation. Typically, we design our efforts to ensure that data is collected in an aggregate, non-attributable manner so that organizational decision can be made while protecting individuals who might otherwise be reluctant to share key information.
Our team is capable of expertly handling research and evaluation challenges large and small and pride ourselves in carefully customizing and tailoring all data collection instruments to ensure they effectively answer the question, clearly report findings, and prescribe actionable next steps.
Bullying and Hazing
Do you have concerns about possible bullying or hazing behavior on your sports team or organization? Are you concerned about whether certain “traditions” cross a line of health and safety?
Bullying and hazing are major issues and require expertise in working to understand whether a situation has crossed a line into a potential health and safety issue. Historically, many have seen hazing as part of a set of rituals to help build team cohesiveness. There is a greater awareness today that these activities do not serve teams well in establishing positive team dynamics.
Bullying are a set of activities designed to exclude an individual from a team. The inappropriate behavior can be perpetrated by an individual or by a group but the target of the aggression is most often singled out. The aggression can be any combination of physical or verbal acts of intimidation, threats, rumors, teasing, taunting, name-calling, or ridicule.
Hazing is any action by a team with the intent to produce mental, emotional, or physical discomfort, embarrassment, or ridicule among for prospective or newer team members. Hazing often involves the entire time, unlike bullying that tends to involve a portion of the team.
Some of the forms that hazing can take include:
- making victims act in embarrassing or humiliating ways
- deprive individuals of sleep or restrict personal hygiene
- force victims to eat disgusting things
- swear and yell insults at victims
- physically hit team members
- forced excessive drinking
- sexually inappropriate behavior or assault
Is student-athlete experience in your athletic department consistent with the mission of the university? Are best practices identified and shared across teams? Do you have clear insights from student-athletes about expectations and where those expectations are met, exceeded, or need to be addressed? Do you understand why student-athletes transfer out of your program?
Now more than ever, the importance of engaging students athletes in confidential and impartial experience assessments is critical. Administrators need to better understand if the student athlete experience adequately reflects the mission of the institution as a whole.
With the complexity of intercollegiate athletics, it is challenging for administrators and coaches to know, with confidence, that student-athlete experience across all teams is what it should be. Mission statements, goals, and objectives provide a starting framework but the true test is neutral assessment of teams and the athletic department to safely identify necessary information for athletic department and university administrators to have confidence in staying the course or to successfully adapt, where needed.
A primary challenge for all major athletic departments is appropriately gauging student-athlete engagement in the university and academic community and their perception of their respective athletic experiences. The vast majority of institutions do not conduct appropriate reviews of their student-athlete bodies.
Student-Athlete Experience & Engagement Review (EER)
The benefits of effectively executing a student-athlete experience and engagement protocol include:
- Data around athlete’s perceptions of the athletic department
- Data related to how coaches and administrators are interacting with their athletes
- Data related to how athletes are interacting with the rest of the university community
Moreover, a properly executed student athlete experience and engagement protocol can provide university leadership with:
- Early warning data related to potential student athlete/program/coach issues
- Data designed to help identify those athletes most likely to acclimatize to their universities culture
The power of an Experience and Engagement Review lies in allowing universities to proactively manage their athletes and coaching staffs. It also promotes the alignment of academic and athletic principles based on real data.
Carefully designed assessment is a necessity to:
- Identify best practices
- Identify problem areas
- Align resources to areas of greatest need and impact
The Key is Quality Data
The quality of the data collected by an Experience and Engagement Review is directly related to the following data collection principles:
- Confidential (athlete’s cannot be identified based on their comment/feedback)
- Impartial (not related to the Athletic Department)
- Independent (not related to the University)
- Multi-modal data collection (e.g. qualitative, quantitative)
Assessment is cost effective and an important step in preventing the types of issues that keep administrators and coaches up at night. Universities are renowned for only responding to issues instigated by a crisis. Crisis can be valuable. However, they are extremely expensive both in terms of actual dollars but also in staff morale and brand impact. Moreover, athletic department administration acting on real data, can typically proactively preempt many issues before they explode.
Alignment is Critical
Once an assessment is done, SCI works closely with you to identify an effective path for ensuring best practices are protected and areas of concern are addressed. SCI partners with internal resources to ensure that all policies, practices, and procedures align and are consistent in supporting a superior student-athlete experience.
Assessment vs. Investigation?
Where there are Title IX or other similar concerns, SCI works closely with any investigation teams, counsel, or other involved resources. SCI’s focus is about creating a deep understanding and a clear path forward whereas an investigation may be seeking culpability and liability. Both are important but different perspectives depending on the depth of the concerns involved. Often, the temptation is to focus on stopping the impermissible behavior (rightly) but it is also important to help re-establish a new set of traditions and team culture that replaces the impermissible bullying and hazing behavior.
Begin With A Question
All good research and assessment begins with a good question. SCI has deep experience in dealing with challenging, sensitive issues. Typically, we begin with an assessment to understand what behavior may be of concern and then prescribe a clear path for addressing any issues discovered that get at the route of the problem and not just the symptoms that may have first drawn your concern.