Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Robin L. Hardin

Committee Members

Michelle Childs, Jeffrey A. Graham, Steven N. Waller


The need to attract fans is an important element of any successful sport organization (Koo et al., 2017). Despite this fact, NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision game attendance has trended on a decline for the last decade, including rates of student attendance (Cohen, 2013; “NCAA Football Attendance,” n. d.). While these trends should be concerning to intercollegiate athletic departments across the country, they should be particularly troubling to schools participating in football that represent non-autonomous conferences, more commonly known as the Group of Five. This subsection of college athletic programs do not have the luxury of the lucrative revenue streams available to their autonomous, Power Five counterparts, such as media rights for broadcasting games (Dosh, 2013), raising the importance of ticket sales to their budgets. College students are specifically important to both the current and long-term prospects of non-autonomous athletic departments since this group traditionally makes up the base of future donors and season ticket holders (Novy-Williams, 2017; Tracy, 2016). When individuals make decisions such as whether or not to attend athletic events, they must consider motivations that may drive their decision-making, while also considering constraints that may inhibit their willingness to attend a particular athletic contest. This study sought to evaluate for various constraints by deploying a survey to students at four non-autonomous FBS institutions. This study considered the foundational work in the area of leisure constraints written by Crawford and Godbey (1987) and modeled the survey instrument after the work of Crawford, Jackson, and Godbey (1991) with the creation of their Hierarchical Model of Leisure Constraints (HMLC), as well as more recent iterations pertaining to sport spectatorship. Overall, seven constraint categories were identified at the completion of an exploratory factor analysis that were shown to constrain student attendance at home football games. These seven categories were also evaluated across various demographic characteristics for significant differences. This research hopes to provide a base for future research on student attendance, as well as to establish a version of the HMLC that applies specifically to sport spectator attendance.

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