Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The purpose of this study was to measure the level of spectator identification and fan motivation among University of North Dakota (UND) students. Participants consisted of 57 Northern Plains American Indian students and 90 Caucasian students. Participants completed the Sports Spectator Identification Scale (SSIS) and the Sports Fan Motivation Scale (SFMS). It was predicted that Caucasian students would report higher levels of spectator identification with UND "Fighting Sioux" athletic teams than would American Indian students. It was further hypothesized Caucasian students would be more likely to contest changing the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo. It was also predicted that motivation for attending UND sporting events would differ between Caucasian and American Indian students. It was hypothesized that Caucasian students would score higher on all SFMS subscales including: eustress, entertainment, family, self-esteem, group affiliation, economic, aesthetic, and escape. Data analyses were preformed using the SPSS 11.0 statistical package and included a descriptive analysis of all appropriate demographic variables and scale items. Pearson Product Moment (PPM) correlation analyses were also completed, as well as a series of t-tests on the SSIS and SFMS to determine if the two cultural groups scored significantly different. Subsequent to the t test, a discriminant analysis was completed to determine if group membership would be predicted based on SSIS and SFMS scores. This study revealed that Caucasian students report higher levels of identification with UND athletic teams, were more likely to oppose changing the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo, and were more motivated to attend UND sporting events than were American Indian students. This study did not directly examine the impact of the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo in relation to students' identification with the UND athletic teams or motivation to attend UND sporting events. Future studies should investigate the extent to which team mascots, nicknames, and logos influences spectator identification and fan motivation. Hopefully this study will contribute to the existing literature on the controversy regarding UND's "Fighting Sioux" mascot, nickname, and logo, and be the basis for future research in this area.