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Richard Doty

Lynn Jamieson

Last modified: Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Violence in sports reflects society, says IU professor

The public should be concerned, but not surprised, by the violence in sports today because those involved are mirroring the actions of our society.

This is one of the messages conveyed by Associate Professor Lynn Jamieson in the pursuit of her research interest in sport, terrorism and violence. Jamieson, who chairs the Indiana University Department of Recreation and Park Administration in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, has been studying the field of sports and violence for several years. She added the terrorism element after the events of Sept. 11.

"Sport tends to reflect society, and we live in a violent era," she said. "We have a violent society where people use violence to solve problems instead of using other means."

Jamieson recently taught an IU Mini University class on the topic, and she has taught a seminar for freshmen on sport and violence for the past three years. Much of the material from the seminar was incorporated into the Mini University class.

"My goal in this research and teaching is to increase knowledge on the nature of violence in our society," she explained. "This information can help students become more aware of the issues that cause violence and what can be done about it."

Among the issues she covers are the history of sport and violence; the deviance in sport participation; aggression and intimidation; the media's involvement; and the role of politics. She said those involved are not just the athletes, but also coaches, parents, referees and spectators. The three sports most involved are football, hockey and soccer.

"The violence issue is not limited to professional sports. It filters down to the high schools and even to recreational activities such as IU intramurals. This is because if it occurs at the professional level, it is likely to be imitated at the lower levels like Little League and city recreational programs," Jamieson said.

She noted that since Sept. 11, the issue of terrorism in sports has taken on increased importance. "The security at major sporting events has increased considerably because officials recognize that events like the World Series and Super Bowl would give terrorists a worldwide stage for their violent acts," she said.

For more information, contact Jamieson at 812-855-8676 or