Durkheim’s discussion on ritual and Goffman’s theoretical work on first impressions are used to predict superior performance among home teams on opening day. Information on opening day game outcomes is compiled and compared with the results of regular season and championship play. The analysis reveals a greater home advantage for teams playing in opening day games than for home teams competing in regular season or championship games. When controlling for the effect of stadium attendance on the home advantage, the opening day home advantage exceeds that of championship competition. The results suggest that ritual activity and concerns for first impression management may be factors that condition home team performance, offering support for the assertion that performance is partly a social product. Further home advantage research can direct attention to cross-cultural differences in the opening day home advantage and focus on qualitative data collection to supplement the current abundance of archival data.
Russell E. Ward
Russell E. Ward Jr.
Most studies find positive correlations at the individual level of analysis between athletic participation and academic success. One opportunity for scholarship left largely unexplored concerns the effect of athletics on group-level processes. The author used a resource-based perspective to explore the influence of athletic investment on academic achievement at the organizational level. Data were collected from 227 school districts. Multiple regression analyses revealed negative but insignificant relationships between athletic expenditures and indicators of basic skills and college preparation. Future research might determine whether the nonassociation observed in this study between athletic spending and academic performance generalizes to different school settings.
Russell E. Ward Jr.
Despite suggestions that mission statements represent a strategic component of organizational communication, there has been little research of these documents in athletic departments at U.S. colleges and universities. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between mission statement content and athletic department accomplishments in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools (N = 343). The content analysis of mission statements revealed that athletics missions do not differentiate accomplished from less accomplished athletic programs. Athletic departments with strong traditions of promoting the academic advancement of student-athletes, achieving gender equity, and complying with NCAA rules tend to reference these distinctions in the same way as departments with less favorable histories. Grounded in institutional theory, this article describes the external pressures toward sameness rather than differentiation in mission statement content. Implications for intercollegiate athletics and higher education are discussed.