This study sought to understand social media users’ responses to Division-I football players’ early exit announcements as manifestations of BIRGing and CORFing. Researchers analyzed social media users’ replies (N = 2,009) to six collegiate student-athletes’ early exit announcements on Twitter and Instagram during the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football season. Results identified four responses to exit announcements: (a) supporting, (b) noting significance, (c) disagreeing, and (d) capitalizing. These reactions varied as a function of fan identification: (a) those who expressed fandom for exited teams supported student-athletes, (b) those who expressed fandom for other teams capitalized on the announcements, and (c) those who expressed no fandom noted the significance of and disagreed with student-athletes. These findings offer unique insights that reinforce and diverge from assertions about fans’ BIRGing and CORFing behaviors. The results also have consequences for how scholars and practitioners come to view the intersections between team/organizational processes, athlete expression, and athlete–fan interaction.
- college athletics
- social media