Fouls, Flags, Fans, and Fights: Teaching Conflict Management Through Sports
The ADR Center’s Competition Not Conflict program (CNC) is offering increasing numbers of Oregon students the opportunity to train and gain hands-on experience in sports conflict resolution.
The CNC Sports Conflict Management Certificate is the nation’s only program of its kind and, according to CNC Director Joshua Gordon, it is long overdue. “Sports conflict is everywhere, and it has largely been ignored. The professional leagues are probably about 20 years behind most industries in embracing conflict management theory.”
Undergraduate students pursuing the certificate complete an introductory course on sports conflict that explores nine conflict resolution models using sports-specific case studies. Student must also successfully complete one theory-based course, such as History and Culture of American Sports Conflict or Sports, Race, Ethnicity, & Culture in Sports; and one skills-based course, such as Sports Mediation or Sports Negotiation. Upon completion of these three courses, CNC faculty work with students to develop projects related to their specific areas of interest.
“On-field sports conflict is different than conflict in just about any other industry,” says Gordon. “We need to build a feeder system of people who have competencies in this area.” CNC is well on its way to doing just that. While the certificate program was only launched this past fall, Gordon estimates that approximately 50 students are currently on route to completion.
“People who would normally have very little interest in conflict resolution are signing up for sports conflict classes. They think, ‘Hey, sports sound like fun,’ and then they end up learning a whole lot about conflict resolution,” says Gordon. Due to high demand, CNC is also in the process of developing an area of concentration for graduate-level study.
CNC currently offers thirteen unique classes on sports conflict for law, graduate, and undergraduate students. To learn more about CNC or the sports conflict management certificate program, please visit adr.uoregon.edu/cnc.