We cultivated a list of adaptations from a review of documents prepared by states, governing bodies, trade associations, and media reports. An initial survey was pilot tested using professional and academic experts, converging on the 12 most important adaptations. The final survey was distributed to 40 organizations that were prompted to distribute the survey to their members and stakeholders via email and social media, as shown in Table 3. Approval for the study was obtained through the Institutional Review Board at Indiana University.
|Name||Type of Organization|
|Hamilton County Tourism||Destination Marketing|
|Indiana Soccer Association||Governing Body|
|Indiana Fire Juniors||Youth Soccer Club|
|Max Lacrosse||Youth and Adult Lacrosse|
|SBD Tournaments||Event Rights Owner|
|WYSA Youth Rec Soccer||WYSI Youth Rec Sports|
|Bullpen Tournaments||Event Rights Owner|
|Empire Lacrosse||Lacrosse Club|
|Alley Cats||Semi-pro Ultimate Team|
|NXT Sports||Event Rights Owner|
|Pacers Athletic Center||Indoor Facility|
|Westside United||Youth Soccer Club|
|Top Tier Sports Ventures||Event Rights Owner|
|HSE Sports||Youth Rec Sports|
|Lax USA||Youth Lacrosse Club|
|USA Football||Governing Body|
|Hoosier FC||Youth Soccer Club|
|Indy Select Academy||Youth Football|
|Music Travels||Marching Band Agency|
|CrossFit Thrive||CrossFit Gym|
|Westfield Washington Schools||School District|
|Kohls Kicking Camp||Event Rights Owner|
|US Lax Events||Event Rights Owner|
|True Lacrosse||Youth Lacrosse Club|
|Bearpaw Lacrosse||Youth Lacrosse Club|
|Chicago Fire||Youth Soccer Club|
|Cheer Max||Youth Cheerleading|
|USA Gymnastics||Governing Body|
|US Youth Soccer||Governing Body|
|Carmel Dads Club||Youth Rec Sports|
|Mudsock Youth Athletics||Youth Rec Sports|
|The Collective||Consulting Group|
|Indiana Sports Corp/Sports Indiana||Sports Commission|
|Visit Fort Wayne-Sports Marketing||Destination Marketing|
|Maryland Soccer Foundation||Foundation|
|SportsETA Board||Professional Organization|
The 12 adaptations addressed in the survey include:
- Arrival and Departure: Changing arrival and departure routines to limit time at the venue (i.e. waiting in the car for game/practice to begin, coming to the facility fully dressed, leaving immediately once the game is over)
- No Spectators: Limiting youth sports competitions to players, coaches, and game officials
- Spectators under 65 with No CDC-Indicated Underlying Medical Conditions: Limiting spectators at youth sports competitions to immediate family or maximum of two people who are under 65 and have no pre-existing CDC-identified conditions
- Health Screening: Answering a questionnaire that asks for contact information, travel itinerary, lodging, and health (fevers, COVID-19 symptoms) to gain venue admission
- Social Distancing: Sitting or standing at least six feet apart from others in spectating areas (i.e. blocking access to bleachers, sitting every third seat or row, standing on designated locations)
- Social Distancing with Respect: Treating event staff with respect if they approach you to strictly enforce social distance guidelines
- Facemasks: Being required to wear a facemask while spectating
- Increased Sanitization: Facilities increasing efforts before, during, and after events (i.e. frequent and visible cleaning, hand sanitizer available throughout the venue especially at high touch areas)
- Playing Areas and Equipment: Playing areas and equipment being sanitized after each competition
- Amenities: Amenities being closed at sports venues (i.e. concessions, drinking fountains, lobbies, playgrounds, entertainment centers)
- Bench and Dugouts: Minimizing the capacity of bench and dugout areas for athletes
- Personal Contact: Limiting personal contact between players (i.e. handshakes, high fives, hugs)
The Kano Model
The survey questions were designed using the Kano Model, which was selected because of its ability to provide an interpretive framework by pairing satisfaction measures for the presence and absence of COVID-19-related adaptations. The outcome of the Kano Model is the ability to determine how people feel about proposed adaptations to the youth sports experience to promote safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each adaptation contained three questions:
- Functional Question: How they feel with the adaptation present
- Dysfunctional Question: How they feel without the adaptation present
- Importance Question: How important it is to have the adaptation
Every functional and dysfunctional answer pair resulted in a categorical assignment as shown below.
The importance question was asked on a traditional 1-5 Likert-type scale ranging from extremely important (5) to not-at-all important (1). Answers to the functional and dysfunctional pairs were scored on the following scale:
|I like it||4||-2|
|I expect it that way||2||-1|
|I don't care||0||0|
|I can tolerate it||-1||2|
|I dislike it||-2||4|
The functional question asked about their feelings if the adaptation was present. For example, for "Benches and Dugouts," the functional question asked: During the pandemic, how do you feel about minimizing the capacity of bench and dugout areas for athletes?
The dysfunctional question was similar but asked their feelings if the adaptation did not exist. For example, for “Benches and Dugouts,” the dysfunctional question asked: How do you feel about athletes being allowed to sit in traditional bench and dugout areas at full capacity?
In sum, a total of 36 questions (12 adaptations with 3 questions each) formed the basis of the survey design. Because of the lengthy survey, each respondent randomly received half of the Kano-related questions to facilitate survey completion.
After removing respondents classified into the Questionable category, the mean functional and dysfunctional scores for each adaptation were placed onto a scatterplot, divided into five areas for interpretative purposes as shown below. The size of the dot placed on the graph represents the respondent’s self-stated importance rating; the more important the adaptation, the larger the dot.
The quadrants can be interpreted as follows:
- Performance: Users like having these adaptations, and dislike not having them. The more of the adaptation that is provided, the more satisfied users become.
- Must-be: Adaptations that are expected by users. If the experience does not have them, it will result in significant dissatisfaction.
- Reverse: Adaptations that users do not want.
- Indifferent: The presence or absence does not make a real difference in the user’s experience. These occur for “I don’t care” or “I can tolerate it” answers for functional and dysfunctional answers.
- Attractive: Occurs when users like having an adaptation they were not expecting. Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was hypothesized that no adaptations would land in this category.
In sum, the answers of the functional, dysfunctional, and importance questions provide a framework for understanding how parents, athletes, coaches, officials, and administrators feel about each COVID-19-related adaptation at youth sports events. In turn, the results, discussed in the next section, can be used by venues and event operators to deliver a safe and user-friendly experience when families, athletes, and officials return to the field.