Honors Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Journalism

First Advisor

Robin Street

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This thesis will examine the role of social media as a public relations tool in athletics, whether posts are made by an athlete, an athletic department, or an outside source on reputation management. The first chapter will examine current research in how social media is used and monitored in college athletics, as well as the harmful effects it can cause. The next chapter will consist of several interviews with different collegiate athletic departments regarding their policies and training towards social media. The five athletic departments are from the following universities: the University of Georgia, the University at Buffalo, Utah State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Florida. Interviews were conducted via email, phone and in person, depending on the location of the school. Chapter three includes four case studies of athletic social media use at four schools: The University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill, The University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University and the University of North Carolina - Wilmington. Each case is examined on how social media affected the athlete or team's reputation. The fourth and final chapter will conclude this thesis by giving recommendations on the use of social media by college athletes and athletic departments.

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