We Love You, We Hate You: Fan Twitter Response to Top College Football Recruits’ Decisions

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • | 2 Clemson University
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Using a theoretical underpinning of parasocial interaction—BIRGing (basking in reflected glory) and CORFing (cutting off reflected failure)—this study explored fan reactions to high school athletes’ commitments to play football for National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I programs. A thematic analysis of tweets made by fans during the 2020 recruiting period was examined in two stages: (a) tweets directed toward recruits before they committed to a program and (b) tweets directed toward recruits after they committed. Findings show fan frivolity in regard to identification, as well as a desire to become part of the recruiting process of high school football players. In addition, results yield the possibility of a shift in athlete motivations for social media use, fan association with athletics programs, and how fans cope with unexpected loss. Theoretical and practical implications are further discussed.

Stamm is with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA. Boatwright is with Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA.

Stamm (jstamm2@unl.edu) is corresponding author.
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