Sport Management faculty, alumnus publish research in Recreational Sports Journal
Associate Professor Tony Weaver, Assistant Professor Cara McFadden and Elon graduate Drew Forte ’15 explored the perceptions of higher education administrators regarding the role club sports play in recruiting and retaining male students.
As an undergraduate studying the sport and recreation industries, Elon University alumnus Drew Forte ’15 focused his honors thesis on how universities use club sports to help recruit and retain male students, combating the declining trend of men attending college.
With assistance from Associate Professor Tony Weaver and Assistant Professor Cara McFadden, Forte expanded on the topic and their collaborative research was recently published in the spring 2017 edition of the Recreational Sports Journal. The trio’s manuscript is titled “Perceptions of Higher Education Administrators Regarding the Role of Club Sports in the Recruitment and Retention of Male Students.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of men comprising undergraduate enrollment has been a decreasing trend for decades – and reports suggest it will continue. In 1970, male students represented 58% of undergraduate enrollment; by 2012 that number dropped to 43%.
Using a case study approach, the co-authors interviewed administrators at four North Carolina institutions to investigate how club sports can attract and keep male students on campus. In addition to interviews, the authors observed campus tours and club sports facilities, and conducted document analysis on marketing and promotional materials for admissions, campus recreation and club sports purposes.
The results indicated that club sports are being used as a potential strategy to help recruit and retain male students. And administrators acknowledged the possibility for success with a specific male market interested in club sport activities. However, the findings also indicated the institutions struggled with providing consistent messaging to educate prospective and current male students on the opportunities in club sports.
Forte currently works as an associate communications planner at Empowering Media in New York City. Weaver serves as the chair of the university's Department of Sport Management.
The Recreational Sports Journal is the scholarly, peer-reviewed publication of the NIRSA Foundation, a nonprofit organization established to support the goals of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association. The publication collects and promotes empirical, theoretical and applied research in the field of collegiate recreation.