Date of Award

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

College

Richard W.Riley College of Education

Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Joni Boyd

Committee Member

Dr. Janet Wojcik

Committee Member

Dr. David Schary

Committee Member

Dr. Jason Chung

Abstract

Background: Student support is a critical factor that colleges and universities must consider when determining whether to add a football team to the athletic program. The student body is a large population that may attend games, purchase merchandise, attend athletic social events, tailgates, pep rallies, and homecoming, and join student oriented athletic fan clubs. Understanding the level of student support is important for prospective football programs

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of current students on beginning a college football program.

Methods: Current college students at a public university in the southeastern United States completed online surveys concerning perceptions towards the athletics program at their university and whether they would support a college football program being added to their university’s athletics program. There were 833 usable surveys returned.

Results: The results showed that those who have attended past athletic events at the university and those who have played organized sports are more likely to attend football games, other athletic events, and to purchase merchandise at the university. Approximately ¾ of those surveyed had a positive likelihood to attend football and other athletic events, to purchase merchandise, and to engage in those activities surrounding the football team such as tailgates, fan clubs, etc.

Discussion: Universities can use these results to analyze their own schools to determine student support for the athletics program. Past behavior (attendance to games) and identification with the team are significant variables that can be used to evaluate the support of the student body.

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