Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Education, Curriculum and Instruction: Physical Education Pedagogy, Option



Major Advisor

Shelley Lucas, Ph.D.


Mary Frances Casper, Ph.D.


Laurel Traynowicz, Ph.D.


Tyler G. Johnson, Ph.D.


INTRODUCTION: The traditional role of communications and media relations professionals within intercollegiate athletics has changed. The profession, often referred to as sports information, is making an effort to redefine its role within the athletics industry and be viewed more as a strategist than a practitioner. In order to advance the profession and each professional, research must be carried out to give individuals the tools to better support their institution's communications goals in a strategic manner, while also building the base of data-driven methods and best practices. PURPOSE: This study aims to define behavioral traits and methods of a high-quality sports information director (SID) in the minds of media members, while also pinpointing best practices. PARTICIPANTS: This study surveyed sports media members in the 10 top-30 media markets that have at least two NCAA Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools within 50 miles. METHOD: Participants took an anonymous survey with Likert-style and open-ended questions on Qualtrics, an online survey software. DATA ANALYSIS: Sums, frequencies and mean scores were calculated for Likert-response data. Responses from open-ended questions were highlighted and grouped based upon common themes that related to job functions and behavioral traits of high-quality SIDs. RESULTS: When media members described the most important job functions of an SID and explained what makes a high-quality SID, four clear themes emerged: access, accuracy, availability and advocacy. The results also revealed what media members consider to be the most effective methods of distributing information, as well as the platforms they use most often to consume information. CONCLUSION: The results of this study provide a road map for current and future SIDs and media relations professionals in other industries by first providing an organizing philosophy of “Straight A’s in Media Relations: Accessibility, Accuracy, Availability, and Advocacy.” This philosophy reflects an integration of recognized SID behavioral traits and job functions, together with essential insights from the SIDs’ primary work partners: sports television and newspaper reporters. The “Straight A’s” should be incorporated into curriculum for sports administration programs in higher education and professional development training sessions in order to share these perspectives. The findings regarding media members’ use of new and emerging communication tools in comparison to the habits of SIDs implementing those tools offers an opportunity to devise a plan of action based on data. In that regard, this study serves as a contribution and small step toward one of the primary objectives of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Strategic Plan, which is to bolster the scholarly research and knowledge base related to sports information.


Included in

Communication Commons