The Role of Divisional Affiliation in Athletic Department Web Site Coverage

in International Journal of Sport Communication

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Coyte G. CooperUniversity of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, USA

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David PierceBall State University, USA

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With the growing popularity of the Internet as a communication medium, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic departments have turned to their Web sites to build interest in their product among consumers. As sites continue to develop traffic, it is important to examine the coverage being provided on the home Web pages to determine whether equitable coverage is being allocated to men’s and women’s nonrevenue sport teams. The current research featured a content analysis of NCAA divisional Web-site coverage during an academic school year. From a broad perspective, the results indicated that only Division III provided equitable gender and individual team coverage allocations on its home Web pages. In contrast, the data also supported the notion that Division I athletic programs (Football Bowl Subdivision [FBS] and Football Championship Subdivision [FCS]) provided significantly more coverage to men’s baseball, men’s basketball, and men’s football than nonrevenue-sport teams. The FBS and FCS coverage inequalities are discussed in depth in the article.

Cooper is with the Dept. of Sport Administration, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. Pierce is with the School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

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