THE IMPACT OF MEDIA COVERAGE ON SPORT DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA ; A STUDY OF SPORT JOURNALISM

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Background 

It is an irrefutable truth that sports are a reliable instrument for a nation’s growth, health, and peace (Venkateswarlu, 2006a). The Federal Government of Nigeria recognizes sports’ ability to contribute to national development when it emphasizes the importance of sports promotion in all areas. The government directed in its – strategic plan for the development of the education sector – (2011 – 2015) that sport participation be encouraged at all levels of education through the provision of facilities, equipment, and personnel for the promotion of health, skill development, and socio-emotional well-being of all age groups in our educational institutions (Federal Ministry of Education, 2012). Indeed, the United Nations General Assembly voted resolution 58/5 on sports as a vehicle for promoting education, health, development, and peace. Additionally, it declared 2005 the International Year of Sports and Physical Education and encouraged all governments to take decisive efforts toward integrating sport into their developmental programs as a cure for development (United Nations (UN), 2003; 2006).

 

In recognition of the established benefits of sports, Educational Institutions in Nigeria have been encouraging students’ participation in various sporting activities through the provision of facilities, equipment, training personnel, and opportunities to compete in intramural and extramural school sports, as well as local, national, and international competitions. The primary goals of such engagement are to improve students’ health, fitness, and performance (Ladani 2008; Venkateswarlu, 2006a). This is particularly visible at Nigeria’s academic institutions, which host a variety of intramural and extramural tournaments.

 

To comprehend and appreciate such programs, one must first grasp the notion of sport. Sport is a broad and flexible term that encompasses a wide variety of athletic activities that have benefited from the backing of a diverse range of organizations interested in sports development. Additionally, sports include non-formal, involuntary, and recreational engagement. Thus, this researcher believes that it is far simpler to maintain a more flexible and non-dogmatic understanding of what constitutes or does not constitute sports, particularly given the ever-changing landscape of sports and leisure. participants’ social growth. This category include recreational, leisure, and recreational activities, as well as casual and competitive sports, as well as indigenous sports and games.

 

Sport as a development tool According to Venkateswarlu (2006), the above concept is consistent with the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force’s (2003) view that sports encompass all forms of physical activity that contribute to psychological, physical, and social development, as well as the use of sport’s power to promote development values such as equity, inclusion, and sustainability, as well as the promotion of children’s development, social inclusion, cohesion, and contribution to health, education, and recreation. It may be used to generate fresh enthusiasm for partnership formation, which is critical for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (UN Inter-Agency Task Force Report, 2003; Venkateswarlu, 2006).

 

Rodger (2002) suggested that sports are comprised of four fundamental components. Physical exercise is conducted for recreational (non-competitive) purposes and occurs within the context of organized competition that is controlled in an institutional environment. Regardless of the actual situation, the distinctions between activities remain hazy. For instance, many sports are conducted professionally, implying that they are not recreational. Other than team sports, activities such as swimming and cycling may occur in a competitive and non-institutional context. In this sense, they may be considered recreational sports, since no formal rules of competition are observed. Finally, leisure activities may include reading, watching television, visiting, or even attending professional sports matches as a spectator. They are not competitive, are not governed by rules, and are not physical activities. Both walking and gardening are physical activities that are often performed for pleasure reasons. Walking, as indicated below, is often included in government and other agency surveys of sports participation, although gardening is not a sport. For instance, Sport England (a sport organization) recently declared darts to be a sport and chess to be not. The International Olympic Committee, on the other hand, recognizes chess as a sport. In this sense, its governing body must guarantee that the Olympic Charter’s statutes, practices, and activities are adhered to. It is obvious that sports do not have a set meaning in practice. It necessitates perpetual awareness of the context in which the terms sports, recreation, leisure, and physical exercise are employed. However, for the purposes of this research, Paul (2009) and his colleagues’ definition of sport will be used, which defines sport as “all forms of physical activity that, through causal or organic participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships, or achieving competitive results.” This definition, more than a technically precise definition, will facilitate and encourage widespread athletic participation.

 

Missionaries aided in the expansion and development of Western sports in Nigeria. When the missionaries arrived, they founded schools across the nation, notably in the south. British sports were also introduced to these institutions when they were created. Competitive track and field activities were introduced into elementary schools in Nigeria as part of the annual Empire Day celebrations on May 24th to mark Queen Victoria’s birth. Ladani also emphasized the need of expanding secondary schools and Teachers’ Training Colleges in advancing the dissemination and development of contemporary sports in Nigeria. Nigerians came to appreciate the merits and delight of sports engagement as a result of these educational institutions’ activities, and their increased involvement garnered more support from both the colonial authorities and Nigerian people. The history of contemporary sports would be incomplete without acknowledging the critical contribution of educational institutions, especially at the higher level (Ladani, 2008).

 

Kabido (2001) stated that colleges have historically been centers of intellectual inquiry and study, and university administrators have been adamant in opposing anything that would interfere from this mission. This unwavering academic legacy has continued unbroken to the current day in the majority of the world’s countries. Students, on the other hand, have not always shared the faculty’s commitment to this restricted academic concept. Even in medieval times, university students sometimes defied regulations and faced penalty by participating in games and athletics. Around 1800, university students in England and the United States started to pursue sports and games with more zeal, although in an informal way. During this era, fans of a sport would join clubs or associations, and it was this growth that laid the groundwork for the more structured inter-university rivalry that started with an Oxford-Cambridge cricket match in 1827. American colleges saw a similar evolution. In 1852, the Harvard and Yale rowing clubs competed in the inaugural intercollegiate contest in the United States. Until the 1880s, all of these events were fully run by students, who gathered funds, arranged games, and coached themselves, as was the situation in England (Kabido, 2001).

 

There is no question that Nigeria has made enormous strides in the sphere of sports, particularly when compared to other African nations. Through the efforts, actions, and devotion of Nigerian sports journalists, sports have infiltrated Nigerian society.

 

Thus, the purpose of this research was to ascertain the perceived influence of mass media on the growth and promotion of Nigerian university sports in Nigeria.

Problem Statement

Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the persistent attitude of students toward sports participation in Europe and the United States resulted in the development and promotion of Nigeria University games, which resulted in the proper organization and participation in games and sports among institutions of higher learning in Europe and the United States. This attitude toward sports by European and American students has had a significant impact on the general public’s engagement in sports in the United States and Europe (Bitrus, 2005). It’s interesting that university administrators, who violently opposed student engagement in sports in the early centuries, are today leading the charge to encourage university and college students to be active participants in sports. Today, students at tertiary institutions in Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world are recognized for their significant contributions to the development and promotion of Nigeria University games in their respective countries, particularly in terms of sports participation and elite sport. This growth was a tribute to the students’ efforts in establishing sports groups that benefited not only the students, but also the general public. Additionally, students in the United Kingdom raised awareness for sports involvement, as shown by the fact that wherever a British graduate went, he took his sports with him (Ahmed 1992; Bitrus, 2005). This is accurate, since students who graduated from British colleges were said to have brought sports to their communities via the founding of sports clubs. Western sports were also introduced to Nigeria by certain British graduates who were sent to work for the colonial government or missionaries (Ladani, 2008).

 

Additionally, in the United States, students organized and actively engaged in sports events, which increased Americans’ knowledge and passion for sport involvement. With the colonialism of the majority of African nations, schools were created across. Western sports quickly spread to these institutions and have persisted to the present day.

 

Participation of Nigerian institutions in athletic events dates all the way back to the nineteenth century. According to Ladani (2008), it originated with an Empire Day celebration to honour Queen Victoria’s birth in England and evolved into school sports, with athletic, football, and netball tournaments organized for elementary, secondary, and teacher training colleges. With the construction of a University College in Ibadan in 1948 and the development of additional tertiary institutions, sports developed into a very serious social activity that dominated students’ spare time in these higher institutions (Fafunwa, 1975; Bitrus, 2005).

 

According to Omoruan (1996; Bitrus 2005), in the late 1950s, the erstwhile National Union of Nigeria Students, which included Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and Advanced Teachers’ Colleges, sparked their cooperative athletic activities. However, as the number of these schools and students increased in the subsequent years, combined with budgetary and administrative restrictions, it became imperative for each to go its own way. As a consequence, the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), the Nigerian Polytechnic Games Association (NIPOGA), and the Nigerian Colleges of Education Games Association were established (NATCEGA). Through these Sports Associations and comparable groups at the continental and global level, the sports prowess of Nigerian students in tertiary institutions has undoubtedly extended beyond the confines of Nigeria. As was the case with Australia, this situation is believed to have increased awareness and enthusiasm for sports participation among Nigerians. Apart from providing an opportunity for interaction, love, and idea exchange among Nigerian students enrolled in tertiary institutions, these tertiary institutional sports also served as a platform for the development of elite sports men and women who aspired to achieve excellence in athletic performance. Additionally, it functions as a recruiting pool for national and international athletes and administrators. According to Gouws (1997), institutional sports played a significant part in the establishment and promotion of Nigerian university games in Nigeria, and that athletes for national and international tournaments were identified via these institutional sports. On the other hand, students in tertiary institutions have been instrumental in the development and promotion of Nigerian University games in Nigeria through their organizations of sports programs among the various campuses; for example, NUGA, NIPOGA, and NATCEGA are all products of the Association of Nigeria Students.

 

Despite these gains by Nigeria’s educational institutions in sports, it seems that general public involvement in sports is not encouraging, and top athlete development is also not progressing as predicted. This is because athletes who have previously been found are being employed again. This seems to demonstrate that educational institutions in Nigeria are no longer as influential on sports participation and development of top athletes as they should be. This circumstance encouraged the researcher to do research on the effect of Nigerian tertiary institutions on the growth and promotion of Nigerian university games participation and elitism in the country’s sports culture.

Objectives

The purpose of this project is to examine the role of Nigeria’s mass media in the development and promotion of university sports in the country.

The research will look at the issues confronting the country’s mass media and at the connection between the media and the country’s sports agencies.

Research questions

The study sought to answer the following questions:

1. To what extent does sports journalism raise public awareness of NUGA?

2. To what extent will increased awareness of sport contribute to the development and promotion of Nigerian university games?

3. How much do sports journalists’ activities contribute to the development and promotion of Nigerian university games?

4. How important is the mass media in the growth and promotion of Nigerian university sports in Nigeria?

Scope

The purpose of this study is to examine the development of news reporting in Nigeria, focusing on The Sun newspaper as a case study.

However, the project’s findings may be relevant to the whole media and sports industries.

Significance

The purpose of this research was to ascertain the perceived influence of mass media on the growth and promotion of Nigerian university sports, utilizing The Sun Newspaper as a case study.

It will educate sport stakeholders about the role newspapers may play in the growth of the sport business, pique their interest in collaborating with the mass media.

Additionally, it teaches sports enthusiasts, students, workers, and the general public about the critical role of mass media in the successful growth and marketing of Nigerian university games.

Limitations

The limitations of this work include the research’s broad scope and time constraints, which necessitated confining the case study to The Sun Newspaper.

 

The following are the limitations of this research work’s study:

 

1. Financial Restraints: There are insufficient finances to support this research endeavor. The researcher has relatively limited funding sources.

2. Time Constraints: Due to the researcher’s limited time available to do this study, it is not feasible to conduct the investigation thoroughly as planned.

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