Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice and Criminology

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Jennifer Pealer

Committee Members

Dr. Nicole Prior, Dr. Dustin Osborne


While the concept of deterrence has been applied to punishment in America’s criminal justice system, the empirical data is mixed on whether is effectively deters crime. This lack of consensus may be a result of missing elements from deterrence theory; namely, that punishment is often neither swift nor certain. Similar to the criminal justice system, professional sports leagues aim to control behavior of athletes by having guidelines that, when violated, result in punishment. However, these punishments are delivered much quicker and there is a higher level of certainty. The current study examines specific deterrence in the National Basketball Association by using longitudinal data of fines and suspension from the 2000-2001 season to the 2015-2016 season to test whether punishment that is swift and certain can deter rule-breaking behavior. Results from the study showed no deterrent effect when deterrence was analyzed by punishment type (suspension or fine) and severity of punishment.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.