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College sports and recreational activities are traditionally dominated by men. Although there have been dramatic increases in women's involvement in sports at the college level, men continue to make up the majority of the participants and spectators of events and activities. The availability of high-quality recreational facilities for athletic training as well as general fitness and maintenance is necessary and integral to sports programs in colleges. It may be assumed that these types of facilities are mostly utilized by men due to their predominant participation in sports and recreation activities.
Even though participation in campus sports and recreational activities still involves men more than women, this doesn't necessarily mean that men value the importance of sports and recreation in college more than women. Milton (1998) was interested in this concept and investigated beliefs among men and women in college as to whether the development of new, high-quality sports and recreation facilities should be a priority for the college campus. The author related the issue back to the early 1970s when the interscholastic and intercollegiate sport first addressed issues regarding gender equity in campus activities. This opened the door for examination of differences between male and female involvement in college sports down to the recreational level. Milton sought to explore this gender issue beyond actual participation and involvement to beliefs regarding the importance of facilities necessary to support sports and recreation in colleges.
The research question investigated by Milton (1998) was "do collegiate males believe the availability of recreational sports facilities and services are a priority for a college more so than female (p.30)?." Milton hypothesized that the results would demonstrated that male student were in fact more likely to place high priority on the availability of recreational facilities and activities than women. This hypothesis was based in the traditional perception that sports and recreation in college were dominated by men. Furthermore, the null hypothesis of the study was that there would be no significant difference between men and women with regard to beliefs on the importance of recreational and sports activity and facilities at the college level. The researcher looked at studying these beliefs and exploring their potential implications for the college as a whole. However, contrary to the hypothesis proposed by Milton (1998), the results of the study indicated that men and women viewed the importance of sports and recreation facilities almost equally. These surprising results led the researcher to inquire as to why a lack of difference in beliefs between men and women was found while differences in involvement and participation in sports and recreation activities between the sexes still exists.
Milton (1998) based his research on the foundational observation that a disparity exists between the way men and women perceive the importance of facilities for sports and recreational facilities in college. In particular, the researcher described how men are still the predominant spectators and participants in sports at all levels in the campus environment. This foundation provided the basis for Milton's hypothesis that there would be significant difference between men's and women's prioritization of recreational facilities on the college campus, with men placing greater importance and priority on such facilities in comparison to women. This hypothesis was supported by Milton's description of recent decisions in the courts involving the equalization of participation in sports activities on campus between men and women. Milton also brought attention to Title IX of the 1972 Education Act, which addressed gender equality issues in intercollegiate and interscholastic sport.
Although assumptions on what men and women believe based on historical behavior seem logical, there are many other factors involved that could influence belief in the importance of recreational facilities which were not addressed by the author. Some of these other factors that were not addressed by the researcher include current trends in health and wellness that encourage women to be physically active, or levels of funding that are directed toward supporting women's sports teams at the college.
The study was conducted at Kent State University, a four-year state-assisted university. The researcher obtained a sample of 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The registrar's office provided the researcher with 2,000 randomly selected phone numbers for students, and the privacy and confidentiality of the students was protected by having not name, address, or any sort of identifying information attached to…[continue]
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