Application of the Motivation Scale for Disability Sport Consumption: An Examination of Intended Future Consumption Behavior of Collegiate Wheelchair Basketball Spectators

Article excerpt

Miles Thompson, head coach of the University of Alabama wheelchair basketball team, stated that "the biggest reason we don't have enough [collegiate wheelchair basketball] teams are budgetary constraints" (personal communication, April 2, 2011). While wheelchair basketball has grown in popularity, the formation of teams is hindered by a lack of funding. The 'enough' that Thompson refers to is number of teams required for NCAA recognition. A number of coaches and administrators of other collegiate wheelchair basketball teams believe that this status would bring the sport more credibility and institutional support.

Only two of the seven men's collegiate wheelchair basketball teams and one of the four women's wheelchair basketball teams are housed in university athletic departments, which help support travel budgets, funding for coaching staff, equipment management, and academic tutoring. The remaining teams are housed in disability services centers on campus, adaptive athletic departments, and sports club departments, which do not offer the same level of financial backing. These teams rely primarily on funds received from annual fundraising activities, which requires substantial efforts by staff, volunteers, and students to procure resources in hopes of offsetting the expenses incurred by the team. For these programs to survive, and for other universities to develop new teams, revenue must be increased. This is the only way that the wheelchair basketball will continue to grow in order to meet the threshold necessary for NCAA status.

Social Justice and Funding

Oliver (1990) noted that a medical model of disability--the contemporary perspective that disability was a physical or psychological limitation within an individual--was flawed in that it did not address society's responsibility in influencing for better or worse the impact of that disability. This relationship of a privileged group oppressing a disadvantaged group either actively or passively warrants an offset by justification of social justice (Danermark & Gellerstedt, 2004; Fay, 2011).

Perspectives such as Oliver's led to professionals' application for social justice in fields related to disability. Sylvester (1992) stated that those with disabilities have a right to leisure; Sylvester (2011) also gave a presentation of the benefits and limitations of resource allocation by way of disability classification related to social justice. The arguments for allocation of resources to disability sport have been championed by researchers such as Anderson, Bedini and Moreland (2005) and Stoll (2011) who claim that athletic access should be universally applied, regardless of disability. These arguments have been well received by practitioners, evidenced by the fact that Great Britain, the United States, and Canada, among many other nations, have integrated the Paralympics within their respective Olympic national governing bodies, both organizationally and financially (Scruton, 1998). While this has been an effective means to increase revenue for some disability sport organizations, by the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) own admission, additional revenue must be generated by way of ticket sales and sponsorship spurred by increased viewership (IPC, 2008).

Wheelchair Basketball

Much of the research on wheelchair basketball has focused on the participants of the sport. Examples include efficiency of wheelchair basketball movement (Coutts, 1992; Vanlandewijck, Spaepen, & Lysens, 1994), physiological performance of wheelchair basketball players (De Lira et. al., 2010; Molik, Laskin, Kosmol, Skucas, & Bida, 2010) and psychological performance of wheelchair basketball players (Ferreira & Fox, 2008; Robbins, Houston, & Dummer, 2010).

While these studies benefit both researchers and practitioners looking to advance the performance of wheelchair basketball, they have not addressed the financial concern of the IPC and program directors of collegiate wheelchair basketball teams who need to increase revenue. …