Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics






Many American universities continue to invest in expensive intercollegiate football programs, and specifically cite the sport’s ability to foster a sense of community (SOC) as justification for the cost. This study sought to assess the importance of SOC and the influence of football on the cultivation thereof. A pre-post test design utilizing an online survey compared SOC levels for students (N = 886) before and after the implementation of Division I football on a large university campus. No significant differences were found in SOC levels before and after the football season (regardless of attendance). Post-test SOC perceptions differed based on game attendance (i.e., moderate and loyal attendees reported the highest levels). Finally, SOC had a moderate to strong positive influence on four outcome variables: Satisfaction, Retention, Current Support of Athletics, and Future Support for Athletics. This study suggests that while SOC is very important to students, at least in the short term the introduction of a football program does not foster a greater SOC for all students.

Original Publication Citation

Warner, S., Shapiro, S. L., Dixon, M. A., Ridinger, L. L., & Harrison, S. B. (2011). The football factor: Shaping community on campus. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 4, 236-256.