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The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded each year to the best college football player in the United States. In 2003, voters chose Jason White from the University of Oklahoma as the winner. The eligible voters consisted of 870 members of the media (divided evenly in six geographic regions) and 51 former living Heisman Trophy winners. Throughout the last several decades, colleges and universities have promoted its players in hopes of garnering the prestigious award. There is much speculation as to what positively influences voters as they decide the Heisman Trophy winner. This dissertation examines what information is important to voters as they determine their Heisman Trophy vote. The results of this study show non-mediated communication has a stronger influence on voters than does mediated communication. Observations and personal influences are more important to voters than receiving propaganda from a university promoting a player. In addition, there was a regional voting bias as each of the top four finalists received considerably more than one-sixth of their first-place votes from the voters in their geographic region. Generally, voters believe they have an open mind and will cast their ballot for the nation's top candidate. However, the voters perceive their fellow voters are much more likely to choose a candidate from their geographic region as their top choice. Finally, it was hypothesized the less a voter watched their candidate during the season, the more they would rely on mediated communication for information gathering. However, it was determined there was no relationship between the number of times a voter saw their top choice play and their reliance on mediated communication.
College Football, Sports Information Director, Award
Date of Defense
April 7, 2005.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sport Management, Recreation Management, and Physical Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Michael Mondello, Professor Directing Dissertation; Davis Houck, Outside Committee Member; R. Aubrey Kent, Committee Member; Julia Dunn, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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