Forms of University Elite Sport in South Africa

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Kiran ODHAV , SASA, Mahikeng, North West Province, South Africa
Abstract for ISA conference, Yokohama, Japan, 2014.


Forms of university elite sport in South Africa

The paper looks at the phenomenon of elite sport at a university in South Africa, for possible comparisons with other types and institutions, and how this has unfolded at such a university. It seeks to distinguish such sport in the context of three categories of institutional complexes that foreshadows particular institutions. There is the enlightened context of sports practices, and there is the resistant context’s that sees forms of resistance against such ‘elitism’ of sports, and there are the benign forms of elite sport practices or contexts.

While all three types are not strictly of the mode that they occupy, they do have the main characteristics of such types. Due to the fact that even if S.A. sport is competitive, it’s organizational base is low, universities see a growth spurt in sport through private-public understandings (e.g. ‘Varsity Sport’), and thus the changing the nature of the public university from a position outside of its traditional core or academic work, even though there are taught courses and modules in sports related fields (Sport Science, Human Movement Science and the like). Most of these are predominantly natural science and functionalist oriented, though there are exceptions.

The paper will examine the trajectory of one or more of these sports types at (a) particular institution(s) in South Africa, in the three dominant sports of the country, i.e. soccer, cricket and rugby from which a comparative perspective can be gained. While sport remains non-core to most universities globally, it has shifted somewhat on the ground, particularly with elite sportspersons emerging from that level. Various forms of elite sport thus need to be studied in terms of the forms they assume in different university contexts.