College Football “Kids”: Infantilizing Language in Football Bowl Subdivision Bowl Game Broadcasts

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Chris Corr Troy University, Troy, AL, USA

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8729-3031 *
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Crystal Southall Western Colorado University, Gunnison, CO, USA

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Billy Hawkins University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA

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Richard M. Southall University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA

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Paternalistic institutional structures are strategically arranged to maintain locus of control and preserve male-centric patriarchal authority. A confluence of cultural, social, and legal structures perpetuates paternalism within National Collegiate Athletic Association college sport and specifically in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football. This study examined FBS bowl game broadcasts to determine the prevalence of paternalistic and infantilizing commentary. An analysis of in-game commentary from a sample of 18 FBS bowl games from the 2019 to 2020 season revealed that commentators frequently infantilize FBS football players, normalizing a paternalistic and exploitative coach–athlete relationship.

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