Scandal in College Basketball: A Case Study of Image Repair via Facebook

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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The purpose of this case study was to determine what image-repair strategies the University of Louisville employed immediately after the announcement of an FBI investigation involving multiple universities and college coaches taking bribes in order to steer high-profile recruits to certain agents. Specifically, this case study examined the image-repair strategies used on the University of Louisville’s official Facebook page and the comments made to those posts to gauge public reaction to the university’s image-repair strategies. The University of Louisville primarily employed the image-repair strategies of transcendence, bolstering, stonewalling, and a newly identified strategy referred to as rallying, or unifying and “moving beyond” the scandal. Three themes emerged from an inductive analysis of users’ comments, including support, rejection, and scandal. The high volume of support indicates that many users were receptive to the university’s attempt to reduce the offensiveness of the scandal through the use of bolstering and transcendence.

Frederick is with the Dept. of Health and Sport Sciences, College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY. Pegoraro is with the School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada.

Frederick (elfred03@louisville.edu is corresponding author.
International Journal of Sport Communication
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