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Abstract

This study explores college students’ reasons for attending or not attending sporting events at Northern Arizona University (NAU). It also examines the extent to which athletics plays a role in the cultural and social life of undergraduates at NAU, a school without a “big-time” college sports atmosphere. An email survey of NAU undergraduates (n=554) found several characteristics that were associated with higher rates of sporting event attendance: prior life experience with sports, out-of-state residential status, and membership in Greek organizations and intramural sports teams. Women were slightly more likely than men to have attended at least one NAU sporting event. Enjoyment of sporting events is seen as a social activity. Students express relatively little "school spirit" but the majority say that they are "proud to be a Lumberjack." The school may be important to students' identities, but athletics may not play a central role in such identity formation.

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