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Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Tamar Semerjian


Behavior, Sportspersonship, Ultimate Frisbee

Subject Areas



In an effort to understand how athletes rationalize their behavior, the researcher examined collegiate ultimate frisbee players' views on sportspersonship. Ultimate frisbee provided the researcher with a highly competitive environment where players were prohibited from coming into contact with each other even though they competed side by side and chased the same frisbee. The researcher used a semi-structured interview to examine the values and self-reported behavior of eight participants (5 males and 3 females). Each interview was digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis consisted of multiple readings of each transcript to uncover themes within the data were then labeled. The researcher compared the transcripts to identify commonalities. Several major themes emerged during this process regarding the participants' ideas of sportspersonship, the influence of coaches, the role of observers, and the presence of dissonance. Additionally, two minor themes were seen within the participants' idea of sportspersonship: respect for others and fairness for everyone. As the rules of ultimate frisbee prohibit physical contact and violent actions, the presence of dissonance was a significant discovery. The researcher found that the participants had a notion of what sportspersonship was and were able to use the concept to modify their behavior when they played the game.