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Football School

Title: Football School: An Analysis of College Football Culture inside the Neoliberal University.
Name(s): Ternes, Neal, author
Giardina, Michael, professor directing thesis
Newman, Joshua, committee member
James, Jeffery, committee member
Department of Sport Management, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The term "football school" has been disseminated in some manner or another in the popular press, by scholars, and by colleges for the past century. This label is shared and understood at a certain cultural level but research has yet to attempt to provide a detailed account of the implications of this term let alone provide a definition that takes into account the broader significance of football on college campuses. Football Saturdays on college campuses are unique to collegiate athletics in that the spectacle of sport is secondary to the experience of consuming the event. Fans and students pack in tailgating areas hours before as well as after a contest to share in the communal consumption of a football Saturday, indulging in countless hedonistic rituals that are in some cases as old as the game itself. These rituals, such as the Breakfast Club student bar crawl at Purdue University or the midnight yell practice at Texas A&M University, reflect particular community identities that have become woven into the fabric of college football programs. With the rise of the neoliberal university, football has been implicated in the branding process more than ever, with the identity of being a 'football school' actually becoming a valuable title in an increasingly competitive academic market. This has further complicated the linkage between the consumption of football culture and the academic identity of the university which supports the team. Fans actively consume football cultural forms and artifacts in the events preceding, during, and after a contest at big Football U's, but this consumption has gone largely unaddressed in defining what it means to be a "Football School" (Toma, 2003). With the intensification of football culture and the rise of the neoliberal university it is important to develop an understanding of how football fan identities exist and are co-opted as part of a branded university identity (Sperber, 2001). In this study I used comparative case studies of three different football schools to develop an understanding of what it means to be a football school at the subject institutions by addressing the following questions: Is football culture implicated in the power knowledge of the neoliberal university?; Is branded football culture consumed by members of the university community?; and does the surveillance of football culture on university campuses implicate members of the university community? I find that football within the branding of each university is utilized as the "front porch" of the institution at each school and this causes football culture, as well as the logics inherent in the football culture at each institution to overshadow the brand of the institutions themselves. Through the promotion of football culture, each university becomes complicit in reproducing the logics of neoliberalism as well as power knowledges of militarization, paleoconservative religious identity, and the image of "beer and circus". For each institution I visited, I find that the unique combination of power logics of each individual space are located within the football identity of the institution and that football becomes the site of manufactured consent for power logics that are often anathema to the stated goals of each institutions brand.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-8898 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Sport Management in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2014.
Date of Defense: April 3, 2014.
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Michael Giardina, Professor Directing Thesis; Joshua Newman, Committee Member; Jeffery James, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Sports sciences
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Ternes, N. (2014). Football School: An Analysis of College Football Culture inside the Neoliberal University. Retrieved from