Mary Jo Kane, PhD

Professor Emerita, Sport Sociology
Director Emerita, Tucker Center
Contact Information

School of Kinesiology

111 Cooke Hall
1900 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, 55455-0376


Graduate education faculty

Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport


Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., is a Professor Emerita in the School of Kinesiology, and the Director Emerita of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota. Professor Kane received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1985 with an emphasis in sport sociology. She is an internationally recognized scholar who has published extensively on media coverage of women’s sports. She is also known as an expert on the passage, implementation, and impact of Title IX.

In 1996, Professor Kane was awarded the first Endowed Chair related to women in sport: The Dorothy McNeill and Elbridge Ashcraft Tucker Chair for Women in Exercise Science and Sport. Dr. Kane was elected by her peers as a Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology, the highest academic honor in her field, and was inducted into the Academy in the 2002. Dr. Kane is a past recipient of the Scholar of the Year Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation. In 2012, Professor Kane received a Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Coalition of Women in Athletic Leadership. This award is given to individuals who exemplify the highest levels of commitment and contributions to breaking barriers for girls and women in sports. In 2013, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators by the Institute for International Sport.

In addition to her scholarly pursuits, Professor Kane teaches a number of courses in the School of Kinesiology (Sport & Society; Sport in a Diverse Society) as well as conducts graduate seminars. Professor Kane served as the Director of the School of Kinesiology from 2005 to 2011. She has appeared on the Today Show and her research has been cited by the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post and The Nation magazine.

  • Ph.D., summa cum laude, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, 1985,
    Major: Leisure studies, emphasis: sport sociology.
  • M.A., University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, 1982,
    Major: leisure studies, Emphasis: research methodology
  • B.A., Webster University, St. Louis, MO, 1973
    Double major: sociology and anthropology
Curriculum Vitae [PDF]
Selected Publications
  1. Fink, J. S., Kane, M. J., LaVoi, N. M. (in press). The freedom to choose: Elite female athletes' preferred representations within endorsement campaigns. Journal of Sport Management

  2. Kane, M. J. (2013). The better sportswomen get, the more the media ignore them. Communication & Sport, 1-6. DOI: 10.1177/2167479513484579.

  3. Kane, M. J., LaVoi, N. M., & Fink, J. S. (2013). Exploring elite female athletes’ interpretations of sport media images: A window into the construction of social identity and "selling sex’’ in women’s sports. Communication & Sport, 1-30. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1177/2167479512473585.

  4. Kane, M. J. (2012). Title IX at 40: Examining mysteries, myths & misinformation surrounding the historic federal law. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Research Digest, 13, 2-9.

  5. Kane, M.J. (2011, August). Sex sells sex, not women's sports. The Nation Magazine, 293(7), 28-29.

  6. LaVoi, N. M., & Kane, M. J. (2011). Sport sociology for sport management. In P. Pedersen, L. Thibault, & J. Quarterman (Eds.), Contemporary Sport Management (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  7. Kane, M. J., & Maxwell, H. D. (2011). Expanding the boundaries of sport media research: Using critical theory to explore consumer responses to representations of women’s sports. Journal of Sport Management. 25(3), 202-216.

  8. Kane, M. J. (2010). We have passed this way before: A response to “Dollar dilemmas during the downturn—a financial crossroads for college sports.” Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 3 135-146.

  9. Kane, M. J., Leo, P. & Holleran, L. (2008). Issues related to academic support and performance of Division I student-athletes: A case study at the University of Minnesota. Journal of Intercollegiate Sports, 1(1), 98-129.

  10. Staurowsky, E., Lerner, P., Kane, M. J., Hogshead-Maher, N., Wughalter, E., Yiamouyiannis, A. (2007). Gender equity in physical education and athletics. In S. Klein (Ed.), Handbook for achieving gender equity through education, 2nd ed. (pp. 381-410). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  11. Kane, M. J. (2007). Sociological aspects of sport and physical activity. In J. Parks & J. Quarterman (Eds.),Contemporary sport management, 3rd ed. (pp. 389-414). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  12. Kane, M. J., & Buysse, J. (2005). Intercollegiate media guides as contested terrain: a longitudinal analysis.Sociology of Sport Journal, 22(2), 214-238.

  13. Iannotta, J., & Kane, M. J. (2002). Sexual stories as resistance narratives in women’s sports: Reconceptualizing identity performance. Sociology of Sport Journal, 19, 347-369.

  14. Kane, M. J. (1998). Fictional denials of female empowerment: A feminist analysis of young adult sports fiction.Sociology of Sport Journal, 15, 231-262.

Selected Presentations
  1. Kane, M. J. (2013, April). An Examination of Female Athletes' Interpretations of Media Representations: A Window into the Construction of Dual Identity & "selling sex" in women's sports. AAHPERD Research Consortium Raymond A. Weiss Distinguished Lecture, Charlotte, NC.

  2. Kane, M. J. (2013, March). Exploring Female Athletes' Interpretations of Media Images: A Window into the Construction of Social Identity & "selling sex" in women's sports. Invited presentation at University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

  3. Kane, M. J. (2012, September). Title IX at 40: Changing the landscape of women’s sports. Invited presentation at American Association of University Women, Minneapolis, MN.

  4. Kane, M. J. (2012, April). Selling sex in media coverage of women’s sports: The good, the bad & the sexy. Invited presentation at Linda Arnold Carlisle Professorship Lecture Series, University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

  5. Kane, M. J. (2012, March). Media representations of female athletes: The good, the bad & the sexy. Invited presentation at Florida International University Honors College Excellence Lecture, Miami.

  6. Kane, M. J. (2012, March). Media representations of female athletes: The good, the bad and the sexy. AAHPERD Research Consortium Raymond A. Weiss Distinguished Lecture in Boston, March 14, 2012.

  7. Kane, M.J. (2011, November). Sport media and female athletes: A great conversation with sport media scholars. Invited Keynote Panel presented at the Girls & Women in Sport and Physical Activity Conference: Creating Change, Minneapolis, MN.

  8. Kane, M. J. We have passed this way before: A response to “Dollar dilemmas during the downturn—a financial crossroads for college sports.” Paper presented at the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conference, Atlanta, GA, January, 2010.

  9. Maxwell, H., & Kane, M. J. Critical analysis of consumer responses to representations of women's sports. Paper to be presented at the annual North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) conference, Ottowa, Ontario, November, 2009.

  10. Kane, M. J. Media, gender, and sport in the 21st century. School of Arts & Sciences Diversity Initiative, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT, October 2008

  11. Kane, M. J. The Portrayal of Female Athletes in the Media: Does Sex Really Sell? Invited presentation at the AP Sports Editors Annual Convention, Minneapolis, June, 2008.

  12. Kane, M. J. The federal law known as Title IX: What’s fact vs. fiction got to do with it? Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT, November, 2007.

  13. Kane, M. J. Facts, fiction, and the future: Men’s sports and women’s opportunities. Commemoration of the 35th Anniversary of the Passage of Title IX, Stanford University Law School, Palo Alto, CA, April, 2007.