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Blair W. Browning and Jeffrey W. Kassing

Interim coaches have become commonplace in college athletics. With much at stake, they must act as leaders despite the constraints that accompany interim status. This case study provides an initial examination of interim leadership in the domain of college athletics by focusing on a specific high-profile interim coach’s initial press conference. The authors specifically consider the content of The Ohio State University football coach Luke Fickell’s first press conference after being named interim head coach. Their analysis reveals that Fickell strategically managed the interim label and the temporal nature of the interim role, balanced service goals and career-aspirant ones, and performed collective identity through a variety of means. The implications of these practices for interim coaches in college athletics are discussed.

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Brody J. Ruihley and Lisa T. Fall

Public relations (PR) activities in college athletics are concerned with many types of people, organizations, and businesses. The success of a program depends on support from these constituents. The purpose of this research was to determine the perception of PR roles in a college athletic environment. One goal was to determine how many athletic directors (ADs) occupy PR positions in their department or what position they perceive to be most involved with PR. A second goal was to examine attitudes held by ADs regarding the importance, benefits, and responsibilities of PR officers. A final goal was to determine what role behaviors PR practitioners are exhibiting. This study provides empirical research in the area of PR, specifically in college athletics. The findings provide a benchmark for the PR literature in relation to the sports industry, how PR fits into the sports structure, and what roles PR plays in college athletics.

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G. Clayton Stoldt and Mark Vermillion

Employing an organizational public relations (PR) roles typology, this study addressed differences in the professional use and perceptions of social media based on the primary PR roles of college athletics communicators. Data were gathered via an online survey of members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (N = 518). Results indicated that those in management roles spent significantly more time working with blogs and social media than technicians did. Managers and technicians also differed significantly in several ways regarding their perceptions of the impact of social media and their relationship with traditional mainstream media. The findings contribute to an understanding of how PR roles have evolved in the era of social media, as well as role-related dynamics specific to social media in college sport PR.

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James M. Gladden, George R. Milne, and William A. Sutton

In an effort to enhance the organization's image and increase its revenues, sport managers should incorporate the concept of brand equity, the strength of a team/university name in the marketplace, into strategic marketing efforts. This article, building on Aaker's (1991) theoretical structure, develops a conceptual framework of brand equity applied to Division I college athletics. The brand equity framework provides a closed-ended system whereby antecedents (team-related, university-related, and market-related) create brand equity that then results in marketplace consequences (e.g., national television exposure, ticket sales). These consequences then feed into a marketplace perception that impacts the antecedents of brand equity through a feedback loop. Directions for future research efforts that address evaluating the validity of the model, implications for different sports within Division I athletics, and relationships to other popular marketing concepts are offered.

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Ray Tricker, David L. Cook, and Rick McGuire

In recent years drug abuse by college athletes has received greater attention. Because of the recognition of the growing problem of drug use in athletics, the new NCAA drug testing policy, and recent deaths of elite athletes, the sport psychologist should be prepared to deal with this issue. In many college settings the sport psychologist may be expected to provide support with counseling or participate in the development of a drug abuse prevention program for student athletes. Therefore sport psychologists need to closely examine the factors that may predispose athletes toward using drugs, understand the role of prevention, and develop a thorough knowledge of positive, viable alternatives to drugs. This article addresses five important issues that relate to drug abuse in college athletics: (a) why athletes are at risk, (b) athletic leadership and its relationship to substance abuse, (c) the role of the sport psychologist, (d) issues related to the effectiveness of drug education for athletes, and (e) recommendations for athlete drug education programs.

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Braden Norris

to pay or not to pay student-athletes, there is much more depth to the NCAA and everything it is responsible for. In Same Players Different Game: An Examination of the Commercial College Athletics Industry, the author—John C. Barnes, a sport management professor at the University of New Mexico

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Nels Popp, Terry Eddy, and Chad McEvoy

In this case study, readers are placed in the role of a National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I Athletics Director and challenged to consider the issue of selling the corporate naming rights to the department’s premier on-campus sports venue. Readers are exposed to a myriad of issues impacting such a decision and must weigh out such factors as: (a) the appropriateness of corporate commercialization in college athletics, (b) the pressure to balance a tight athletic department budget, (c) the impact of changing a facility name which holds significant nostalgic value to the fan base, (d) what type of sponsors might be an appropriate fit for a corporate naming rights sponsorship, and (e) what are the current trends among sport facility naming rights within college athletics. The case study is supported by many scholarly research citations but also includes important appendices, including a database of 44 current college athletic facility naming rights deals, populated with key variables. This database will assist readers in the difficult process of attempting to value naming rights for a fictional facility depicted in the case study.

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Gregory A. Cranmer

Previous research has suggested the potential for enduring and influential messages (otherwise known as memorable messages) to serve as mechanisms of athlete socialization but has failed to explore how these messages might help athletes adjust to their teams. This study used open-ended questionnaires to explore how the memorable messages that Division-I student-athletes receive before their college career influence them before and after they join their teams, as well as the associations between message content and function. The results of this study indicate that memorable messages shape student-athletes’ attitudes, expectations, and participative decisions before beginning their college careers and their attitudes, relationships, and performance once they began their careers. However, few associations between message content and functions were observed, and no associations between student-athletes’ sex and sport type with message functions were observed. These results highlight the role of discourse in sport socialization by revealing that specific messages help prepare and acclimate student-athletes for college athletics. However, this study fails to provide insight into why specific functions might occur.

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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.