Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Deborah A. Nattress


Harmful social media communications in collegiate athletics are challenging, compelling athletic administrators to implement strategies to mitigate costly damage to the university. Grounded in framing theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore strategies some collegiate athletic administrators use to mitigate negative social media communications by their student-athletes and coaches that may cause problems resulting in reputational damage to the brand, negative publicity, financial loss, sanctions, and fines for the university or college. Participants were 4 collegiate athletic administrators located in the southeastern United States, who had a social media policy and strategies to successfully mitigate inappropriate social media communications by their student-athletes and coaches. Data were collected from semistructured interviews, policies, and other school documents. Data analysis involved thematic coding and Yin's 5-step analysis process. The 4 themes that emerged were education, communication, monitoring, and disciplinary actions. A key recommendation is for athletic administrators to recognize the importance of positive framing of the social media policy and strategies to get compliance and understanding from the student-athletes to use social media responsibly to eliminate personal and professional reputational damage to their schools. The implications for positive social change include the potential for athletic administrators to create social media guidelines framed positively to mitigate risks, job, and financial loss, increase reputational branding for student-athletes, and promote adherence to the policy along with social media civility.