Kamryn Bartley: Beyond the sideline

By Bryanna Davis, Contributing Writer  (Courtesy Photo/Bison Athletics)

Oklahoma Baptist University cheerleader, Kamryn Bartley, is getting a lot of attention for the paper she wrote for her Communication Research class with Dr. Vickie Ellis.

Not only is she presenting at a conference, it will be published on the USA Cheer STUNT website.

“In the Communication Research class, the students are required to not only conduct research into a related field to see what’s already been written about the topic but, in this class, they are required to develop a piece of original research,” Ellis said.

For this project, students were required to find and research an original topic.

“They have to investigate something that we cannot find in the library database,” Ellis said. “They are not only learning the process of original research and conducting a literature review, designing a method, gathering data, analyzing the data, discussing the data and coming to a conclusion. Along the way, they are learning other aspects of social science research and taking exams extending beyond their own projects,” she said.

“Three Cheers for STUNT: An Evaluation of Persuasive Acts Designed for the NCAA” is a research paper composed of numerous letters from institutions arguing for the induction of STUNT as a NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sport.

“I wrote it over the persuasion acts in the letters of support through the STUNT proposals that they submitted to the NCAA. Basically, I looked at about 25-30 letters of support from different colleges, high schools and organizations from all over the country and analyzed what persuasion acts they used,” Bartley said.

Bartley’s curiosity about which compelling persuasive acts STUNT members were using to get verified as a full collegiate sport in the NCAA inspired the paper. She studied different persuasive theories such as the central processing methods or peripheral methods.

“In Kamryn’s case, she started looking at the terms of the general literature,” Ellis said. “She started looking at persuasive acts. In particular one persuasive theory, she discussed there was a central processing route that humans think about. When you are being persuaded and someone is communicating with you, they are promoting a particular agenda that is usually a direct line of persuasion.”

However, her observations did not stop there. Bartley gathered a multitude of letters that had been sent to the NCAA supporting this cause, and broke each one down carefully.

“She analyzed all the letters that were written from all the colleges requesting that stunt become a sport,” Ellis said. “She analyzed them line by line, piece by piece. In this kind of analysis of each letter, she invested several hours. In terms of bumping it up against her theoretical approach, she did the complete analysis over all the letters and then made the arguments based on the theory.”

“It was not only interesting her outcome and how she made the final arguments, but I think it speaks to a broader picture of if we are trying to compel and persuade others to take action on our part. It’s a great idea for us to think about the acts we are communicating in those persuasive attempts, and how we are communicating those acts. If all the schools were saying the same thing it didn’t matter. It was still a canned argument. It was about, in a broad sense, how we persuade each other all day long, day in and day out, organization to organization, and subculture to subculture.”

Bartley’s research is not only altering the minds of those who read it, but she opened a door for many other unrecognized organizations much like STUNT. Bartley is touching the hearts of every generation through her passion and dedication.

“Not only did it change my perspective about the women’s sports and the passion that drives women’s sports, but when she was giving her presentation somebody was in the crowd, not from her family but from another one of my student’s families that just happened to be there for hers as well,” Ellis said. “The woman raised her hand and said ‘I just want to say thank you. I played basketball and we barely got a head nod from the community. I say carry on. You keep going. This makes me so proud.’ This woman in her 70’s or so was just so proud that a young woman was championing women’s sports in a public, powerful and scholarly way. When I turned around and looked at the woman you could tell it meant the world,” Ellis said.

Bartley has been a cheerleader for OBU for the past three years, and expresses her passion for STUNT as a part of the cheerleading program here.

“STUNT is what I love most about cheer,” Bartley said.“It is starting to give cheerleaders more opportunities to become athletes to get scholarships … It’s like we are actually being recognized as athletes now, and I really like that. Just playing STUNT is so fun. Just the game aspect of it just being with your team.”

However, after graduation, she does not intend on letting it go. In fact, in the future, she intends on continuing this research in order to benefit more organizations like this.

“She is interested not only in STUNT and not only in persuasion but in the intersection of those and what it means as society moves toward honoring more female sports in the collegiate world. It takes skills. It takes determination. It takes practice. It takes commitment and loyalty,” Ellis said.

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