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Possibilities for the Future of Sports and Society?

Joplin McAuley vs West Plains Zizzers by Ole Olson (CC BY-NC 2.0)

What roles do sports play in our society? What roles do we want them to play?

Who should have access to sports opportunities?

Why might we think of sports as a matter of public concern?

What are different ways to shape our sports policy to meet our public goals for sports?

These are just some of the questions that have shaped the IF discussion project on The Future of Sports and Society.

Now the Future of Sports and Society discussion guide is almost ready to launch into preliminary test public discussions. The project participants worked as two separate teams. One team was made up of citizen participants who simply had a strong interest in the discussion topic. The other team was made up of individuals who each represented a more specialized focus on some aspect of sports and society. Together they brought forward seven different policy ideas for public discussion. These ideas are:

Possibilities that focus on different societal goals for sports:

1. Embrace an Inclusive Future for Sports: affirm an inclusive approach to sports by rethinking how we sort out sports participation, by allowing athletes to self-determine their gender identity for competition, or allowing the open use of performance enhancements.

2. Sports for Healthy Communities: focus on using sports to promote health and wellbeing across all sectors of the general population by publicly funding community-based sports for all.

3. Protect and Empower the Athlete: focus on empowering athletes by setting policies to protect athletes’ health and safety, to promote athletes’ ability to be fully engaged citizens, and to protect athletes from economic exploitation.

4. Focus on Creating Champions: focus on developing elite athletes by channeling public efforts on evidence-based approaches for athletic development.

5. Sports for Education: focus on revitalizing the connection of sports with the project of cognitive, moral, and social development by reintegrating sports and education.

Possibilities that focus on ways to manage sports

6. Run a Business as a Business: manage revenue-generating sports as normal businesses, adhering to conventional free-market principles, such as following normal anti-trust and labor policies.

7. Centralize Sports Policy: create a centralized policy making body for sports within a federal context to improve the efficacy and coherence of sports policy from the national to the local level.

You can connect with The Future of Sports and Society project as it goes public by taking part in our public Facebook group and by following me on Twitter @PrudhommeJeff. We’d love to hear your thoughts about the future of sports and society.

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