Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics






In the 10 years since the invention of Facebook, social media sites have become an indispensable part of the marketing and communications strategy employed by a broad spectrum of organizations, including university athletic departments. While social media is almost universally used, a review of academic literature suggests the study of deployment of social media resources, and analysis of their effectiveness, is still very much in preliminary stages. Professional literature on social media use is out in front of peer-reviewed research. Therefore, we use Funk’s framework for social media practices as a point of departure, offering a social media strategy specifically for university athletic departments, grounded in Social Marketing Theory. Using a case study of Old Dominion University, a mid-sized, U.S. college athletic department, the authors analyze the 40 social media pages run by the department in comparison to guidelines created from the Funk framework and the growing body of academic literature, conduct interviews with practitioners in the athletic department, and a focus group of fans. Using this data, the authors create a case study-based list of best practices, known by the acronym S-T-E-A-M, which could assist similar university athletic departments in their use of social media.


0000-0001-9157-3493 (Pribesh)

Original Publication Citation

O’Hallarn, B., Morehead, C. A., & Pribesh, S. L. (2016). Gaining S-T-E-A-M: A general athletic department social media strategy. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 9, 39-61.