Media releases

  • Brock prof says CFL will struggle to tackle potential strike

    MEDIA RELEASE: 25 May 2022 – R0057

    As the Canadian Football League (CFL) grapples with ongoing unrest amongst its players, a Brock University Professor says all sides could lose in a potential strike.

    In response to the action of CFL players to reject a labour agreement between the league and the Canadian Football League Players Association (CFLPA), which could jeopardize the start of the season, Assistant Professor of Sport Management Michael Naraine says resolving the various concerns that have brought the league to this point remains an uphill battle.

    “There seems to be some disagreement internally on the players’ side,” he says. “That might stem from years of being glanced over by the owners and league when it comes to bargaining, and now wanting a bigger cut of the financial pie.”

    While the league’s traditional revenue streams remain the same, Naraine says the current action from the players is likely in response to new sources of income that have not yet materialized.

    “The CFL’s financial situation is locked up mostly in broadcast rights from Bell, advertising from corporate partners and then gate revenues,” he says. “But there is greater potential with sports betting and data analytics, specifically the new relationships with Genius Sports, as well as the potential to collaborate with the XFL. The players are seeing those moves and thinking there’s more revenue out there that should be shared. But many of those revenues haven’t come to bear quite yet.”

    Should a strike drag on, Naraine says the financial stability of individual teams will vary based on how dependent they are on gate revenues. It would also have a trickle-down effect on team personnel.

    “The Winnipeg Blue Bombers laid off several staff members and cut salaries of retained employees, including the president, general manager and head coach during the COVID-19 affected seasons,” he says. “A lockout could see something similar where employees, not just players, also receive a pro-rated salary for the next few months.”

    With the strike looming and much still to be resolved, Naraine says all sides will seek to gain approval for their case from the public, which might actually benefit the league.

    “Taking negotiations public is par for the course, but the challenge for the CFL is that in major Canadian media markets like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the league isn’t the biggest draw in town,” he says. “Getting big cities to care about this is a problem for the CFL, so public negotiations would actually help to get more attention to the issues and make the story more prominent.”

    Brock University Assistant Professor of Sport Management Michael Naraine is available for media interviews on the topic.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University or 905-941-6209

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    Categories: Media releases

  • New research shows virtual canine comfort can benefit stressed students

    MEDIA RELEASE: 25 May 2022 – R0056

    Perhaps you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but new research shows that a novel take on in-person canine visits for stress reduction can provide wellness benefits to students.

    Associate Professor Christine Tardif-Williams in Brock University’s Department of Child and Youth Studies, along with Associate Professor John-Tyler Binfet of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan, recently completed a study to determine whether virtual time spent with animals might be as effective at bolstering well-being, reducing negative affect and increasing positive affect as in-person animal visits.

    “We know from a number of studies now that animal- or canine-assisted interventions work really well in alleviating student stress, reducing homesickness and loneliness and increasing positive affect and social connectedness on campus for undergraduate students,” says Tardif-Williams.

    After the pandemic hit, Tardif-Williams and Binfet, who is also the Director of UBC Okanagan’s Building Academic Retention through K9s (B.A.R.K.) program, started to have conversations about supporting student wellness in an online context. They were awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant entitled “Undergraduate student stress reduction through virtual canine comfort” to find out if virtual visits might help.

    Their findings are shared in a new paper, “Virtual Canine Comfort: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of a Canine-Assisted Intervention Supporting Undergraduate Wellbeing,” which appeared in Anthrozoös at the end of April.

    The paper describes a study in which more than 460 students participated in either live and synchronous or recorded and asynchronous virtual sessions with a dog and a trainer.

    While students visited virtually with the dog, the trainer followed a script asking about stress in the participant’s life. After the session, the researchers measured stress, loneliness and other well-being measures, along with positive and negative affect.

    Though the sessions lasted only five to seven minutes, the results showed they were effective in reducing stress and improving well-being, regardless of whether they were synchronous or asynchronous.

    “I think in some ways this is really attractive for young people, from remote or distance learners to those who do not seek mental health services for various reasons,” says Tardif-Williams, who has done extensive research on the close relationships between young people and animals and has taught a course on companion animals in the lives of children and youth for the past decade. “The dog and the handler can bring people together to start to have a conversation about well-being, and I think that it has the potential to reach a large number of diverse students.”

    Tardif-Williams emphasizes that the modules are meant to be used as a first step toward the full mental health services provided on campus, rather than a substitute.

    However, because the videos are low-cost, low-barrier and available online whenever students need them, she believes there is a lot of promise in the research, which is ongoing.

    “Now we have really finely tuned the asynchronous videos, with the help of a videographer and other people on the research team, and we’ve produced a series of six videos,” says Tardif-Williams. “Almost 250 participants across 41 different countries have now watched these clips.”

    Those interested in taking part in the next phase of the study are encouraged to visit @barkubc on Instagram. Participation takes only a few minutes to complete and will support ongoing research into the stress-reducing impact of virtual canine sessions.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University or 905-941-6209

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    Categories: Media releases