Referee Judgments of Communication in the Field of Play: A Study on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Division II College Football

in International Journal of Sport Communication
View More View Less
  • 1 Middle Tennessee State University
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $66.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $88.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $125.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $167.00

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the in-game communication of football players from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) was excessively penalized in the field of play. Previous literature has found that referee bias is commonplace and uncovered evidence that referees socially judge the communicative behaviors of HBCU student athletes differently than the communicative behaviors of student athletes from predominantly White institutions. This led to social judgment theory emerging as the theoretical frame. Quantitative methods were utilized to analyze National Collegiate Athletic Association data for Division II college football. Findings revealed that referees disproportionately flagged football teams from HBCUs in comparison with predominantly White institutions. These results provide implications for theory. The uncovered results also support a well-developed line of communication research that has indicated that excessive penalties are levied against HBCU teams in multiple sports. A rhetorical call to action is made to facilitate officiating change in intercollegiate athletics.

The author (andrew.dix@mtsu.edu) is with the Dept. of Communication Studies, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN, USA.

  • Andrews, V. (1996). African American player codes on celebration, taunting, and sportsmanlike conduct. Journal of African American Men, 2, 5792. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-996-1004-5

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ardener, S. (1978). Defining females: The nature of women in society. New York, NY: Halsted.

  • Bell, D. (1987). And we are not saved: The elusive quest for racial justice. New York, NY: Basic Books.

  • Bergman, S.A., & Logan, T.D. (2020). Revenue per quality of college football recruit. Journal of Sports Economics, 21, 571592. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002520921223

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bimper, A., Jr., & Harrison, L., Jr. (2011). Meet me at the crossroads: African American athletic and racial identity. Quest, 63, 275288. https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2011.10483681

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2001). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York, NY: New York University Press.

  • Dix, A.C. (2016). Allegations of performance-enhancing drug use and their affect on perceptions of athlete intellect. International Journal of Sport Studies, 6, 412422.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dix, A.C. (2017). A decade of referee bias against college football programs from historically black colleges and universities. International Journal of Science Culture and Sport, 5, 197212. https://doi.org/10.14486/IntJSCS670

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dix, A.C. (2019). “And 1” more piece of evidence of discrimination against black basketball players. Howard Journal of Communications, 30, 211229. https://doi.org/10.1080/10646175.2018.1491434

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dix, A.C. (2020a). Critical race theory, the NCAA, and college baseball: Contradiction on the diamond. In M. Milford & L.R. Smith (Eds.), Communication and contradiction in the NCAA: An unlevel playing field (pp. 213233). Peter Lang.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dix, A.C. (2020b). And 10 more years of bias against HBCU female basketball players. Texas Speech Communication Journal, 44, 118.

  • Frank, M., & Gilovich, T. (1988). The dark side of self- and social perception: Black uniforms and aggression in professional sports. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 7485. PubMed ID: 3346809

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Funk, D.C., & Pritchard, M.P. (2006). Sport publicity: Commitment’s moderation of message effects. Journal of Business Research, 59, 613621. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2005.10.010

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, E.V., & Livingston, R.W. (2012). The hubris penalty: Biased responses to “Celebration” displays of Black football players. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 899904. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2012.02.004

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hamrick, J., & Rasp, J. (2015). The connection between race and called strikes and balls. Journal of Sports Economics, 16, 714734. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002513509817

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harrison, L., Jr., Sailes, G., Rotich, W.K., & Bimper, A.Y. (2011). Living the dream or awakening from the nightmare: Race and athletic identity. Race Ethnicity and Education, 14, 91103. https://doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2011.531982

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kim, J.W., & King, B.G. (2014). Seeing stars: Matthew effects and status bias in major league baseball umpiring. Management Science, 60, 26192644. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2014.1967

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lavelle, K.L. (2016). No room for racism: Restoration of order in the NBA. Communication & Sport, 4, 424441. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479515584046

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Messner, M. (1992). Power at play: Sports and the problem of masculinity. Beacon Press.

  • Mohr, P.B., & Larsen, K. (1998). Ingroup favoritism in umpiring decisions in Australian football. The Journal of Social Psychology, 13, 495504. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224549809600403

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morris, P.H., & Lewis, D. (2010). Tackling diving: The perception of deceptive intentions in association football (soccer). Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 34, 113. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-009-0075-0

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). https://nces.ed.gov/COLLEGENAVIGATOR/?s=all&sp=4&pg=1

  • NCAA Diversity Data. (2020). Sport sponsorship, participation and demographics search [Data File]. http://web1.ncaa.org/rgdSearch/exec/saSearch

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orbe, M.P. (1998). Constructing co-cultural theory: An explication of culture, power, and communication. SAGE.

  • Page, L., & Page, K. (2010). Evidence of referees’ national favouritism in rugby. NCER Working Paper Series, vol. 62, NCER.

  • Plessner, H., & Haar, T. (2006). Sports performance judgments from a social cognitive perspective. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 7, 555575.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pope, B.R., & Pope, N.G. (2015). Own-nationality bias: Evidence from UEFA champions league football referees. Economic Inquiry, 53, 12911304. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12180

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Price, J., & Wolfers, J. (2010). Racial discrimination among NBA referees. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 125, 18591887. https://doi.org/10.1162/qjec.2010.125.4.1859

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sherif, C., Sherif, M., & Nebergall, R. (1965). Attitude and attitude change: The social judgment-involvement approach. W.B. Saunders.

  • Simons, H.D. (2003). Race and penalized sports behaviors. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 38, 522. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690203031725

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tainsky, S., Mills, B.M., & Winfree, J.A. (2015). Further examination of potential discrimination among MLB umpires. Journal of Sports Economics, 16, 353374. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002513487740

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J. H., & Jackson, D. D. (1967). Pragmatics of human communication: A study of interactional patterns, pathologies, and paradoxes. W.W. Norton.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zitzewitz, E. (2006). Nationalism in winter sports judging and its lesson for organizational decision making. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 15, 6799. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-9134.2006.00092.x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 129 129 50
Full Text Views 17 17 0
PDF Downloads 20 20 0