Although much research exists on the field of crisis communication as a whole, there is little information in regards to crisis communication in the realm of sports. The purpose of this specific study was to examine how an ethical violation that occurred in a Division-I collegiate institution, and its consequent image restoration tactic, affected the public perception of that institution in which it occurred. Organizational Culture, Situational Crisis Communication Theory, and Image Restoration Theory were used in this study to create an understanding for its results. This study utilized the qualitative methodology of focus groups. College of Wooster students served as the participants of three focus groups. Each group was presented with an ethical violation and then was asked to discuss their opinions on the presented scandal. That was followed by a presentation of an image restoration technique and another discussion of their thoughts. These results showed that an ethical sports scandal negatively affects public perception of the program and university in which it occurs. Participants attached several negative emotions, attitudes, and opinions when asked a variety of questions. The participants also felt that the image restoration strategy used in this study was primarily ineffective in restoring the overall image of the program and university. These results, along with the general process of this study, will be discussed within the framework of this paper.


Atay, Ahmet


Communication Studies


Organizational Communication | Public Relations and Advertising


crisis communication, sports scandals

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2013 Tyler J. Sinclair