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Jonathan Casper

Assoc Professor

Biltmore Hall (Robertson Wing) 3028J

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Jonathan Casper is an Associate Professor and Sport Management Program Coordinator in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management in the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Casper is an internationally recognized researcher on sport and the natural environment. His research seeks to help sport organizations integrate sustainability efforts into organizational operations, marketing, and fan engagement. His expertise lies in leveraging sport events as informal educational settings (or platforms) and influencing sustainable behavior change. He has worked extensively with collegiate athletic departments, professional sport teams, and corporate sponsors on implementation and evaluation strategic sustainability efforts. He is also a founding member of the Sport Ecology Group.

Dr. Casper has an additional research line related to sport participation and health. His work focuses on the psychological factors associated with sport participation and how these factors relate to recruitment and retention of sport participants. His work informs marketing and administrators in the sport industry and ultimately contributes to improved human health through continued sport participation. Through his research and consultation, he has worked with local (e.g. Public Schools, Raleigh Park and Recreation) to international stakeholders (International Tennis Federation).

Dr. Casper has published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals specific to sport and sustainability and participation and presented his findings at international conferences. Most recently he published an edited text titled “Sport Management and the Natural Environment: Theory and Practice” which is a seminal textbook on this emerging field. He has received external funding for his work on sustainability education and engagement and serves as a consultant for marketing sustainability and health.


University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado.  Ph.D. 2004

University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado.  M.A.  2001

Pitzer College, Claremont, California.  B.A. 1995

Recent Courses Taught

PRT 475 Internship in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

PRT 476 Sport Marketing

PRT 507 Strategic Marketing Management in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Sport

Recent Presentations

Casper, J. M., (2016). Health Air & Healthy Sport: Air Pollution Associated with Sport Operations. Panel Moderator. Green Sport Alliance Summit: Houston, TX.

Bunds, K., Casper, J., Frey, C. (2016). Major event air pollution monitoring. NC BREATHE conference, Charlotte, NC.

Casper, J.M., (2016). Sport and Environmental Sustainability: The Impact on Society and Health. Seventh International Conference on Sport & Society: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Bunds, K.S., Newman, J.I., Kellison, T.B., & Casper, J.M. (2015). Fractured environment(s): A critical examination of hydraulic fracturing and sport. To be presented at the annual conference of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Sante Fe, NM.

Sayre-McCord, R., Edwards, M., Bocarro, J., & Casper, J. (2015). The impact of childhood sport participation on adulthood sport participation in former Division I athletes. European Association of Sport Management Conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Casper, J., Pfahl, M., & Newport, D. (2015) Is “going green” worth it? Assessing fan engagement and perceptions of athletic department environmental efforts. North American Society for Sport Management Conference, Ottawa, Canada.

Casper, J. M, & Pfahl, M. E. (2014, June). It takes as campus to make sustainability sports happen (Campus integration perspectives from athletics and campus recreation). Collegiate Sports and Sustainability Summit, Boulder, CO.

Casper, J. M., Pfahl, M. E., McCullough, B. P. (2013, October). Engaging fans in intercollegiate sustainability efforts. Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference. Albuquerque, NM.

Recent Publications

Barrett, M, Bunds, K, Casper, J., Edwards, M., Showalter, S., & Jones, G. (In Press). ‘A nut we
have officially yet to crack’: Forcing the attention of athletic departments through shared sustainability governance. Sustainability.

Bunds, K., Koenigstorfer, J., Casper, J., & Hipp, J. (In Press). Every breath you take, every
step you make: Recreational walking decisions in urban environments depending on air quality, noise, traffic, and the natural environment. Transportation Research: Part F.

Lee, K. J, Casper, J. M., & Floyd, M (In Press). Public park and recreation agencies’ effort in
racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration.

Casper, J. M., McCullough, B. P., & Pfahl, M.E. (2019, In Press). Examining environmental fan
engagement initiatives through values and norms with intercollegiate sport fans. Sport Management Review.


NC State Green Brick Award, Campus Environmental Sustainability, 2012

Outstanding Advisor of the Year, College of Natural Resources, NC State, 2006


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Date: 10/22/20 - 10/21/21
Amount: $1,700.00
Funding Agencies: Atlantic Coast Conference

The NCAA, along with the ACC, has recognized the growing issue of mental health among student-athletes. Despite the increase in mental health issues, there is a concern that institutional resources devoted to supporting the clinical and psychological needs of student-athletes is lacking. This issue has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected university athletic departments’ finances while simultaneously increasing the stress on student-athletes. Although a growing body of research has explored factors behind student-athlete mental health during this pandemic, little research has explored the scope and best practices of mental health services that may be effective in supporting student-athletes. This study will conduct focus groups with 20 sport psychologists and athletic trainers across the ACC Schools to provide both context of current issues facing student-athletes and explore their insights of current initiatives and resources designed to provide the best mental health support during a challenging period.

Date: 07/01/17 - 6/30/18
Amount: $125,680.00
Funding Agencies: Aspen Institute

The purpose of this project is to create a public facing tool to assess the relative health benefits and risks of playing the most commonly offered sports. The Healthy Sport Index will collect physical activity data for the 10 sports most commonly played by adolescents as determined by the most recent High School Athletics Participation Survey. High school sports were selected because they represent a regulated sport environment with fairly consistent structure and delivery across the nation; they also offer the richest available research and data sets for youth athletes. Specific scope of work activities for this contract include: • Collect data for physical activity measures in Raleigh-Durham and New York City high schools. A minimum of 400 high school athletes in 10 boys sports and 10 girls sports will be evaluated. • Train and manage data collection observers at both locations. • Organize and analyze data for physical activity measures. • Participate in meetings, as a member of the Healthy Sport Index Advisory Group, with travel costs covered by the Institute. Travel costs will also be provided to attend the 2017 and 2018 Project Play Summits. • Participate in regular calls with Institute staff and Advisory Group members. • Produce an academic journal article related to the physical activity findings from the Healthy Sport Index project. • Coordinate with Institute staff to capture psychological insights from the teams being measured about the role of sport in contributing to their motivation to remain active.

Date: 08/16/15 - 12/31/16
Amount: $34,972.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Center for Human Health and the Environment

The aims of this project are to demonstrate a method for quantification of spatial and temporal variability in real world air pollutant exposure concentrations, activity patterns, and potential dose. New technologies are emerging for portable and, in some cases, “low cost,” sensing of air quality at the point of contact with humans or other receptors. However, the development of methods for in-use measurement of exposure concentrations is an emerging area and requires research to tailor the measurement methodology to health-relevant metrics of exposure, such as potential dose. The method will be demonstrated by application to an exemplary case study for exposure to air pollution in an urban “green” environment by persons engaged in various levels of activity and exercise, including pedestrians and bicyclists. The methodological approach includes: (a) development of a study design that accounts for choices of study routes, transport modes (pedestrian, cycle), and activity patterns; (b) selection, assembly, and deployment of a portable exposure concentration monitoring instrument package; (c) field data collection of exposure concentrations for the selected study design; (d) quantification of surrogate indicators of ventilation (breathing); (e) data processing; (f) geospatial data analysis to identify locations associated with high exposure and high dose; (g) temporal analysis to determine peak times for exposure and dose; and (h) evaluation of the approach and development of recommendations for improved methods and additional applications. This pilot work will result in a peer-reviewed archival journal paper and serve as the foundation for a larger grant application at a later time.

Date: 01/01/16 - 10/31/16
Amount: $11,820.00
Funding Agencies: Pepsico, Inc.

The purpose of this research project is to: 1) measure the impact of “Bring Your Bottle Back to Life” Aquafina activation on CU fans at Men’s Basketball games; and 2) measure plastic bottle recycling behavior at event and at home. It is hypothesized that fans that are exposed to the Aquafini activation have a significantly higher awareness of the importance of plastic bottle recycling and fans that are exposed on the Aquafini activation will recycle more plastic bottles at event and at home after. Participant recruitment will use the CU Athletic Department Database to recruit participants that attend and do not attend games. We will use a quasi-experimental design using a Control Group of those that reported no attendance to Men’s Basketball games (no exposure) over study timeline and an Experimental Group of those that attend games. The target sample size for each group would be 150 respondents to ensure reliability, validity, and generalizability to CU fan base. The study will have three phases: 1) a baseline survey to all participants measuring attitudes and behaviors; 2) in game text messaging to assess behaviors at events; and 3) a replication of the initial survey to assess changes in behavior. To assess research aims and study hypothesis, control and experimental groups will be compared. Multiple exposure (e.g., season ticket holders versus one game exposure) to the activation and differences based on demographics and VBN items will also be analyzed. Sponsor recognition will also be assessed through the game day surveys and final web survey.

Date: 07/01/15 - 6/30/16
Amount: $4,500.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Faculty Research & Professional Development Fund

This project investigates the microenvironment around a college football game. The purpose of this research is to understand what pollutants game attendees are exposed to on game days (before, during, and after the game). We will measure the Ozone, CO, PM, temperature, and relative humidity at the stadium and tailgating lots three hours before, during, and after NC State home football games in fall 2015. We will conduct both mobile and stationary measurements. The purpose of the mobile measurement will be to quantify spatial variability based on “transects” through the stadium parking lots and to quantify boundary conditions at both the upwind and downwind edges of the stadium property. The latter will enable quantification of the incremental increase in air quality associated with emissions-generating activities on the stadium property. The mobile measurements will be made with Dr. Frey’s Comparison of Air Pollution in Transportation Environments (CAPTEN) Instrument Package (See Figure 1). Monies received from this funding will allow for the purchase of four stationary low-cost PM sensors to be placed at the North, South, East, and West ends of the stadium tailgating lots (See Figure 2). The purpose of the stationary measurements is to obtain a consistent time series of data at the same locations, to quantify background concentration based on sensors located in the upwind direction, and to quantify the incremental contribution to reduced air quality based on comparison of the downwind to upwind sensors. We will support one graduate student on an hourly basis to help observe variations in air pollution. We will use project funds to disseminate our results at the largest international sport conference, to be held in Summer 2016. The results of this study will produce a new methodology for examining sporting event microenvironments and enable development of empirical pilot data. The results of these measurements will provide the foundational “proof-of-concept” necessary to demonstrate the viability of and insights from the methodology, which in turn will enable us to pursue funding to examine the air quality impact of major sporting and entertainment events on a broader scale.

Date: 07/01/11 - 6/30/12
Amount: $3,900.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Faculty Research & Professional Development Fund

While the rising trend in obesity cuts across all social classes, the prevalence of obesity and the severity of the consequences from obesity-related diseases are greater in the Latino population. The purpose of our study is to examine the relationships among Latino parents' health and physical activity, family park usage, parents? influence on their children?s health behaviors, and children?s physical activity and health. The secondary purpose is to examine parents? preferred park locations and recreational programming for Latino children and families in Wake County, NC. Twenty promotores will be randomly selected from approximately 50 promotores able to participate in the project. We will pay the selected promotores to collect a minimum of 25 surveys resulting in an expected500 completed surveys. The promotores will be required to recruit Latinos who have children between the ages of 2 ? 8. The instrumentation will include scales measuring socio-demographic characteristics, park and recreation visitation patterns, preferences, and facility use for families and children, physical activity for parents and children, parental influence of children?s physical activity, and height and weight of the parents and children. We will use the data collected in our study to develop an intervention for weight management for the Latino community, particularly children using parks and recreation as the primary environment. Our findings will provide us with insights related to the influence of Latino parents on their children?s physical activity and park usage. Based on this data, we will design our next study targeted at an NIH proposal calling for novel home- or family-based interventions for the prevention or management of overweight in infancy and early childhood to include linkages with parks and recreational usage and children and family physical activity behaviors.

Date: 01/15/10 - 1/14/11
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

There is also little, if any research that examines the cost and benefits of school athletic facilities. Policies that restrict school sports to highly competitive interscholastic sports and limit facility use to only the gifted athletes within a school does not appear to be the most efficient use of limited financial resources. The CDC recommends that school policies for extracurricular activities should include physical activity programs that meet the needs and interests of all students. It is unclear however, what type and quantity of school sport facilities would yield the greatest impact on physical activity patterns. Creative school administrators can develop excellent programs leveraging community partnerships while contemporary high quality facilities may not ensure widespread impacts on student and community physical activity patterns (Wechsler et al., 2000). The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of public middle school policies for facility use and access on the following outcome measures: 1) percentage of school population participation in school sports, and amount & type of physical activity during participation in school sports; 2) total student physical activity facilitated by school athletic facilities and programs; 3) community structured and unstructured physical activity participation on school sport facilities during non-school hours; 4) total community (non-student) physical activity on school sport facilities; and 5) cost of school sport facility construction & maintenance.

Date: 01/01/08 - 12/31/09
Amount: $199,861.00
Funding Agencies: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of middle school extracurricular sport policies on the attitudes and physical activity behaviors of adolescents. The study will compare and contrast intramural sports participants with interscholastic sports participants on the following outcome measures: 1) percentage of school population participation in sports; 2) daily physical activity; 3) amount of physical activity during participation in intramural and interscholastic sports; and 4) attitudes toward physical activity & sport and motivations for participation in physical activity/sport. The results of this study will document whether schools with intramural sports attract and accommodate more students in school sports, facilitate comparable physical activity during school sport participation, facilitate more overall daily physical activity, and will be associated with a more positive effect on motivations for participation in physical activity than schools with interscholastic sports. Moreover, the results of this study will point out that intramural sports may be a more effective policy for middle schools who desire to positively impact the physical activity of their students and promote a positive attitude toward sports and physical activity.

Date: 07/01/06 - 6/30/07
Amount: $3,018.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Faculty Research & Professional Development Fund

Sedentary living and obesity across all age, social, ethnic, and economic categories has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Recent data from the CDC (2004) showed that between 1980 to 2002, the rate of obesity among children aged 6-11 climbed from 7 to 16% and among adolescents aged 12-19 it tripled from 5 to 16%. According to the Surgeon General?s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, the related costs of being overweight or obese was more than $117 billion in the year 2000 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). The percentage of overweight adults, adolescents, and children has increased so significantly that the CDC and numerous other federal, state and local agencies have identified the reduction of obesity as one of the nation?s top health priorities. Youth sport has been seen as one potential medium that could promote more physical activity and play a major role in improving children?s overall health. Indeed recent studies examining recreational sport participation among middle school students suggests a positive correlation between regular sport participation and increased physical activity. While on the surface it appears there is an obvious relationship between participation in youth sport and increased health benefits, further examination reveals that a positive association may not necessarily hold true. critics of sport question whether sport can play a role in addressing the youth obesity issue. There may be several reasons for this apparent positive association between child obesity and organized youth sport opportunities. The most apparent explanation may be that participation in youth sport has declined significantly among both boys and girls during middle school years. Although the drop-out rate from sport increases among 11-13 year old age group middle schools have consistently been an understudied setting for examining physical activity patterns. One significant reason for this decline in youth sport participation is that there are fewer options for students who are not advanced athletes. To counteract these issues, the Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth (Koplan, Livermore, & Kraak, 2005) recommended that intramural sports be more widely introduced within schools in order to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities who lack time, skills or confidence to participate in interscholastic sports. The committee also recommended that these sport programs become a staple of both school and after school programs. Furthermore, the ultimate purpose of physical education and its supplemental activities like intramural and extracurricular sports is the promotion of ongoing active lifestyles and lifelong participation in sport and physical activity. For example, it has been noted that by age 16 most adolescents have adopted a pattern of leisure activities and sport participation that will form the foundation of their adult leisure lifestyle. An important predictor of life long participation in sport does not appear to be the volume of sport involvement as a child but rather the number of different sports that young people are taught. The inclusive multiple sport orientation of intramurals may be well suited to achieve the goal of facilitating physically active adults that are committed sport participants. Although the Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth strongly recommended the implementation of intramural sports, they also noted that more research, specifically larger scale studies, be conducted to identify how they contribute both singly and in conjunction with other interventions to physical activity objectives. Thus, the purpose of this pilot research project is to examine the role of intramural program in facilitating immediate and long term positive impact on physical activity, healthy behavior, and obesity in children. Specifically we hope to examine the benefits of intramural sport participation for both the individual participants and the cumulative individual imp

Date: 07/01/06 - 6/30/07
Amount: $2,640.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Faculty Research & Professional Development Fund

Parents have both a direct and indirect influence on the sport behavior of their children (Babkes & Weiss, 1999; Brustad, 1993; Fredricks & Eccles, 2002, 2005; McCullagh, Matzkanin, Shaw, & Maldanado, 1993). Parents often make the initial decision to enroll their children in sports (Brustad & Partridge, 2002) and generally maintain the provision of resources and the necessary support and encouragement that facilitates continued involvement in sports (Greendorfer, Lewko, & Rosengren, 2002). As children move from initial sport experiences to continued involvement in sport, parents often filter the meaning of sport experiences and play a critical role in their child?s development of a sport-related value system (Welk, Babkes, & Schaben, In Press). The body of research on effective parenting styles leaves little doubt authoritative parenting is the most beneficial style for promoting child well-being and achievement (Aunola, Nurmi, Onatsu-Arvilommi & Pulkkinen, 1999). However, little is known about the relationship between parental beliefs and parenting style and how this relationship impacts the value orientations and achievement outcomes children experience from sport participation. The purpose of this study is to examine the interaction effect of parenting style and parental sport beliefs on children?s value orientations in sport. The instrument for this study will be an internet-based self report questionnaire whose items relate to the Integrative Model of Parental Socialization Influence in Sports and Physical Activity (Welk, Babkes, & Schaben, In Press) along with focus groups. This proposed study will be conducted on three youth sports: hockey, soccer, and tennis. Both the soccer and hockey participants will be recruited through private competitive clubs in the Southeastern United States. Tennis participants will be recruited from two major tennis complexes in the region. Data analysis will include both qualitative and quantitative methods. Results will give sport providers practical information on the parent-child relationship to incorporate in to coaching and parental sport manuals and training sessions.

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