Scholars have examined the link between team identification and sense of community, but most studies focus on schools that have long histories of sponsoring intercollegiate athletics and tend to compete at the highest levels as members of the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision (Clopton 2008a; Clopton 2008b; Toma 1999; Toma 2003). One avenue researchers have not explored is how sense of community changes at a university that recently began sponsoring a varsity football program. Supporters justify sponsoring football because it promotes community-building, but GSU has not conducted any public studies to see if or how the GSU community has changed since the football team took the field in 2010. This study analyzes how the creation of a football program affects the university’s sense of community, and especially the impact on students. This research provides information to GSU’s policymakers, the student population, and the university’s stakeholders about changes in the students’ sense of community since the addition of a varsity football team. It also provides a template that administrators at universities that have recently begun sponsoring football programs can follow to analyze the impact that the addition of a varsity football team has upon their students’ sense of community.
Community Within the City
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