Date of Award

12-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Communication

Major Professor

Benjamin Bates

Committee Members

Barbara Moore, Mark Harmon

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of official college athletic Web sites on the job of Division I sports information directors. Specifically, it focused on how often the site is updated, who is responsible for performing that duty, and whether a position has been created solely for the purpose of maintain the Web site. The target population included all 327 Division I sports information directors. Directors from Division I schools were chosen because of the high probability that their school maintains an official Web site that it has had an impact on the sports information director position.

The instrument used to collect the data was an online survey and participants were invited via e-mail. The survey contained 21 questions and in order to ensure anonymity, no identifying characteristics were asked. Participants were given the option to skip any questions they did not feel comfortable answering. The directors were given two weeks to respond to the survey, with a reminder e-mail being sent halfway through. In total, the survey received a response rate of 44.6 percent.

The major findings were that a very small amount of sports information offices (6.4 percent) employ a full-time staff member to maintain the Web site despite the fact that almost 96 percent consider the site to be of above average importance to their athletic program. One of the main constraints is budget, but 55.6 percent believe that hiring Web personnel will become a trend of the future out of the necessity to keep up with expanding technology and the growing importance of the sites to the programs.

The study also shows a varying degree of overall effect on the job of sports information directors. Some have welcomed the Web site, saying that it makes the job easier. Others, however, view it as added work and a greater demand to have new information constantly available. Some directors have developed a love-hate relationship, recognizing the value of the site but also the drawbacks.

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