Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Fans of certain college football teams will experience a wide array of emotions when their team is involved in a scandal. This study examined the fan bases of three university football teams as they learn about and react on social media to their schools and head coaches becoming implicated in controversies. Under the protection of those with similar likes and the secrecy of social media, users can voice opinions in favor of and against the football team’s firing of a coach or handling of an investigation. Fan bases analyzed in the study are Ohio State University, Maryland University, and Baylor University. Using Crimson Hexagon, Tweets from the fans of each university are used to gauge emotion and sentiment from the time an incident was made public to when a final decision on the program or coach’s punishment was made. Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative efforts, findings revealed a moderate amount of sadness felt by each fan base regarding the incident as well as joy and disgust. While many Tweets were identified as neutral in emotion, Crimson Hexagon failed to detect those who were surprised by the news. These results show how fan bases have reacted to information that may jeopardize their team and hypothesizes how future scandals may affect fan bases.

Committee Chair

Lance Porter

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