Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Sports Management

Major Professor

Adam W. Love

Committee Members

James H. Bemiller, Jeffrey A. Graham


While there is an ample amount of research surrounding student-athlete amateurism and name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights in collegiate athletics, there is a lack of research concerning the influence of the mass media when it comes to these same issues. The purpose of the current study was to examine how quoted sources (e.g., coaches, administrators, athletes) are used to frame the issue of amateurism and NIL when covered in the media. Out of the 113 sample articles that were analyzed, sources such as the NCAA and politicians were most frequently cited. These two sources were quoted a combined 191 times, while collegiate student-athletes were quoted a total of 7 times. Notable themes that emerged throughout analysis were the nationwide effort by multiple sources to solve the issue of NIL, the NCAA’s attempt to maintain the collegiate model of amateurism, the blurred lines created to cloud how student-athletes are seen in the eye of the public, and the complexity of NIL deliberation and implementation among university officials. With NIL legislation on the brink of historic breakthrough, these themes matter both to the current reality of the student-athlete experience in college sport and the future of understanding media influence on the issue of amateurism and NIL. During the process and aftermath of this forthcoming reform in college sport, it remains the responsibility of members of the media to present amateurism and NIL in such a way that provides a voice for all sources involved, particularly the student-athletes on which college sports depend.

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