High School Football Recruiting and Twitter Followers: An Unstable Mix for Self-Branding Efforts?

Submitted by Edward (Ted) M. Kian1, Ph.D*, Jimmy Sanderson2, Ph.D*

1* School of Media & Strategic Communication, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-4053

2* Department of Communication Studies, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634

Edward Kian is an Associate Professor at Oklahoma State University and an Endowed Welch-Bridgewater Chair in Sports Media. Jimmy Sanderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University and is Director of the Sports Communication BA Program.


This study examined individual branding efforts of marquee high school football prospects in the United States who had verified Twitter accounts. Specifically, this study investigated if top recruits who delayed public announcements of their college choice impacted their number of Twitter followers before and after they selected a specific school on National Signing Day, compared to recruits who committed early to one university long before National Signing Day. Results showed that recruits who may have attempted to increase their notoriety and Twitter followers by waiting to announce college choice are no more successful in doing so than those who commit to one school early. Further, uncommitted recruits generally did not have more followers than those who had been consistently committed to one school before signing day. Most prospects – regardless if they committed to a college long before or on National Signing Day – gained and did not lose Twitter followers over the entire examined period. This could be because sports fans on Twitter generally do not stop following athletes. It could also be that these fans found specific athletes interesting to follow and thus plan to continue doing so. Continue reading

Effect of Mental Training on the Performance of College Age Distance Runners

Submitted by Michael P. Spino1*, William F. Straub2*

1* Sports Administration, Kinesiology and Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303

2*Department of Psychology, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Dryden, NY 13053

Michael P. Spino was born in New Jersey but has spent most of his adult years working in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an excellent track coach having coached at Georgia Tech and Life University. His teams have won many state and national championships. Recently he earned his doctoral degree at Lille2 University, Lille, France. Presently, he is teaching part-time at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

William F. Straub was born in Catskill, New York. He is a retired professor of kinesiology and sport psychology. He has published extensively in scholarly journals and now has a small private practice in sport psychology. He is a USOC certified sport psychology consultant. He received his PhD degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI and a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from the new School for Social Research in NYC.


The purpose was to determine if Event Rehearsal Imagery (ERI) and Internal guided Imagery with Distractions (IGID) resulted in improvements in the running performance of college students. The participants (N = 74) were students at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. Cooper’s 12 min run test was used to assess running performance. Following 8-weeks of training, findings indicated that there was a statistically significant difference (0.05 level) in running performance between the Event Rehearsal Imagery (n = 29), Event Rehearsal Imagery with Distractions (n = 16) and the Control group (n = 29). Overall, there was a significant mean difference in running among male (n = 47) and female (n = 27 participants).

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Differences in Collegiate Athlete Nutrition Knowledge as Determined by Athlete Characteristics

Submitted by Allisha M. Weeden, Janette Olsen, John M. Batacan, Teri Peterson

Allisha M. Weeden is an Assistant Professor in the Dietetic Programs at Idaho State University.  Janette Olsen is an Assistant Professor in Health Education at Idaho State University.  John M. Batacan is an Assistant Professor in Health Education at Idaho State University.  Teri Peterson is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business at Idaho State University.


PURPOSE:  To identify nutrition knowledge based on collegiate sport, where nutrition knowledge was lacking, and specific nutrition related concerns of collegiate athletes.

METHODS: The cross-sectional study evaluated responses to a 65-item written questionnaire.   Participants (n=174; female=88, male=86) competed in 13 different NCAA sanctioned sports.  Nutrition knowledge scores calculated from the number of nutrition knowledge questions correct then converted to a percent from the number of questions correctly answered.  Frequencies, Chi-square, and t-tests were used to report and compare nutrition knowledge scores.

RESULTS: The mean nutrition knowledge score of participants was 56.4% ± 13.4%.  Higher nutrition knowledge scores were associated with completion of a collegiate nutrition course (p = 0.015), participation in individual sports (p = 0.043), and citation of healthcare professionals as the primary source of nutrition information (p = 0.008).  Forty-two percent reported nutrition concerns related to what and how to eat healthy.

CONCLUSIONS:  Collegiate athletes lacked nutrition knowledge and expressed concerns surrounding what and how to eat healthy.  Completion of a collegiate level nutrition course may benefit collegiate athletes, especially those that do not have access to a Registered Dietitian (RD).

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT: Collegiate athletes, athletic departments, and even universities all benefit from successful sports teams.  Nutrition can be a big part of success and the use of a RD to educate athletes ensures appropriate nutrition knowledge is provided.  For universities with financial constraints collegiate level nutrition courses and small group cooking classes taught by an RD may still benefit collegiate athletes.

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An Athlete’s Nutritional Answer

Submitted by John Stump, DC, PhD, EdD

John Stump is the clinic director at the Integrative Medicine Centre. A consultant and partner in Sportec International, a Fairhope, AL, based sport and fitness consulting company. He is also a National Faculty member of the United States Sports Academy


The year of the Olympics is a special time for athletes everywhere. Health care professionals find it difficult to recognize a case of Chronic Fatigue of a former college track athlete who persisted on despite her infirmity to qualify for the Olympics. The patient had an acute onset of symptoms not consistent with any condition but general fatigue. Blood studies and additional tests indicated a fatigue syndrome consistent with that of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She was placed on a specific nutritional program for four months and shortly afterward was back to long distance running.

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The “Football Family” as a Supportive Academic Environment: A Study of Varsity Athletes

Submitted by Dr. Francois Gravelle, Ph.D., Dr. George Karlis, Ph.D., and Ezechiel Rothschild-Checroune.

Dr. François Gravelle P.h.D., University of Ottawa, School of Human Kinetics, 125 University private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. E-mail: fgravel@uottawa.ca. Tel.: 613-562-5800 (2442) Dr. Gravelle is also an adjunct professor at the Département d’études en loisir, culture et tourisme” at the University of Québec in Trois-Rivières.

Dr. George Karlis, University of Ottawa, School of Human Kinetics, 125 University private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. E-mail: gkarlis@uottawa.ca. Tel.: 613-562-5800 (2452)

Ezechiel Rothschild-Checroune, M.A. PhD Student, University of Toronto, Department of Exercise Sciences, 55 Harbord St., Toronto ON, M5S 2W6. E-mail: zeke.rothschild.checroune@mail.utoronto.ca.


The challenge of adjusting from secondary school to a new university setting and adapting to the dynamic systems of academic and athletic programs can be overwhelming. The supportive interaction between athletes and coaches may play a key role for academic success. These important considerations encouraged this study to examine the perceptions of varsity athletes toward the “football family” as a supportive academic environment. The intent of this study was to examine the influence of the “football family” – rookies, veterans, and coaches – on academic success. Phenomenological qualitative research was the approach employed to examine the perceptions of 12 first year university football student athletes at a Canadian university toward the “football family” as a supportive academic environment. The results indicated that the “football family” provided a supportive academic environment for the varsity football players. Specifically the results revealed that: (1) rookies share the most experiences with other football rookies at university, (2) rookies engaged academically with each other by going to class and working on academic projects together, (3) rookies vicariously learn from each others’ mistakes, (4) veterans helped rookies with both athletics and academics, (5) veterans’ experience provided unique learning opportunities than those gained from other rookies, (6) veterans acted as role models, (7) coaches were viewed as fatherly figures in the football family, (8) coaches have greater academic influence towards engagement than professors, and (9) coaches acted as life coaches pushing a family first, school second, football third mentality. It was concluded that the “football family” can provide a supportive academic environment for rookies adjusting to university.

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