PROV 501

April 15, 2014
Disciplinary Research
Student-athletes’ College Experiences
In the field of sport and recreation study, the student-athletes’ college experiences are
concerned by many researchers. For example, many student-athletes face many challenges
balancing their academics and athletics (Ferrante, Etzel, and Lantz, 1996; Martens and Lee, 1998;
Street, 1999). Many studies have revealed the benefits associated with being student-athletes and
the challenges of being student-athletes. Jonker, Elferink-Gemser, and Visscher (2009) claim that
youth elite athletes can improve the self-regulatory skills, including planning, self-monitoring,
evaluation, reflection, effort, and self-efficacy by being advised on their performances from
coaches. Also, the study conducted by Jonker, Elferink-Gemser, Toering, Lyons, and Visscher
(2010) revealed that elite youth soccer players could develop their self-regulatory skills by
experiencing competitions, and their self-regulatory skills help elite youth soccer players
accomplish their academic goals which supports the Jonker, Elferink-Gemser, and Visscher’s
(2009) study. In addition, Jonker, Elferink-Gemser, and Visscher (2009) state that talented
athletes spend more time improving their athletic skills than athletes who are not talented (as
cited in Watt & Moore, 2001) while participating in high sport levels. In fact, their efforts to
advance athletic skill lead student-athletes to develop well-developed skills. Specifically, the
regulatory skill helps student-athletes to succeed in their academic goals.
On the other hand, according to Watt and Moore (2001), student-athletes spend a great
deal of time participating in athletic-related activities including practicing and competing and
spend much time with their coaches, teammates, and people in the athletic department which
cause student-athlete to emphasize their athletic goals rather than their academic performances.
In addition, Bell (2009) argues that student-athletes find it difficult to build a strong social
network of people from outside of their athletic department because student-athletes spend most
of their time with their teammates, which causes them to be isolated. Levine, Etchison, and
Oppenheimer (2014) also assert that student-athletes’ lack of social interaction with non-athlete
students can cause pluralistic ignorance among student-athletes which hinders their academic
development although student-athletes have an academic motivations. Indeed, Clift and Mower
(2013) insist that student-athletes experience metal pain and suffer from academic and athletic
burden and they are more likely to discontinue their participation in athletic activities.
Furthermore, some researchers indicate the role of people who interact with student-athletes in
improving student-athletes’ college experiences. Watt and Moore (2001) discuss the challenges
student-athletes face while participating in college athletics and argue that the provided services
for student-athletes are not effective. The researchers emphasize the importance of student affairs
professionals’ role in helping student-athletes’ college experiences and insist that student affairs
professionals should pay attention to the personal and environmental factors that affect student-
athletes’ academic achievement. Also, while Watt and Moore (2001) mention the athletic-role set
members, the result of Bell’s (2009) study revealed that the academic role set members who
motivated their academic success were coaches, non-athletes peers, fellow athletes, academic
advisors, faculty, and parents. Therefore, those members should understand the impact of their
role on improving student athlete’s academic development. In addition, Lamb and Lane (2013)
argue that gifted and talented sport students need more support based on their individual need
from school so that they can manage both academics and athletics.
The review of literature indicates the concerns about the impact of participating in
college athletics on student-athletes’ college experiences. Many studies have been done on the
issues related to the benefits associated with being student-athletes the challenges of being
student-athletes. Also, it is important to note that much research reveals the impact of student-
athletes’ athletic participation on their academic success and motivations. This review of
literature would be beneficial for people working with student-athletes and working for student-
athletes in to understand student-athletes’ dual role as a student and an athlete and their specific
need. Therefore, people outside of the athletic department would be able to work with student-
athletes more effectively when they contact with student-athletes and provide supports. Those
people also can play a significant role in encouraging student-athletes’ academic interests and
overcoming their difficulties while participating in college athletics. In addition, the people
helping student-athletes in athletic department can work more effectively to improve their
college experiences. As the literature review indicated the importance of social interaction, the
people helping student-athletes’ college experiences can understand the importance of creating
environment that develops student-athletes’ social interaction and providing opportunities for
student-athletes to engage in academic activities with people outside of their athletic department.
When they spend more time participating in academic related activities, student-athletes can
learn the importance of their academic responsibilities rather than emphasize their athletics.
Therefore, student-athletes can achieve their academic goal and maintain their academic
eligibility requirement which benefit student-athletes’ college experiences. Furthermore, not only
the people working with student-athletes and working for student-athletes, but also student-
athletes’ peers who do not have experiences of participating in college athletic will be able to
understand student-athletes’ complex roles and challenges which enables non-athlete students to
build positive relationships with student-athletes and increase their interest in sport. Also, one
that receive the most benefit from working on student-athletes’ college experiences will be
student-athletes regardless their gender and types of sport. They will receive support services
based on their specific need which can help student-athletes overcome the challenges they face
and pursue their academic success. Overall, studying student-athletes’ experiences will aid in
development of college athletics in the United States.
However, researchers also suggest that there should be future research to be done on this
topic to fill the gap in the current research. Bell (2009) suggests that more research should be
conducted on the impact of the academic role-set members to broad our knowledge on this topic.
Also, According to Clift and Mower (2013), there is multimethodological and tansdisciplinary
research to be done on student-athletes who discontinue participating in college athletics. In
addition, there is need for comparative research examining athletic experiences of female
student-athlete and male student-athletes in the same institution to investigate differences in their
disciplinary practices and experiences between female and male. Lamb and Lane (2013) also
mention that there is need to study on more effective ways to incorporate the individual needs
beyond the school curriculum.
My research interests are related to college sport model in sport and its impact on
student-athletes, and student-athletes’ development. However, I found that my research interests
are also already studied by many researchers in the United States, and I need to narrow down my
research area to generate more reliable research by exploring the current conversation in my
discipline. Also, I learned that it is important to conduct future research with a large size of
sample and with applying different methodology. Therefore, I learned that it would be beneficial
to conduct cross-cultural comparative research between the U.S. and other countries since there
is little research on this. For example, the benefits and risk of the college sport model in different
countries will be compared, and the ways to reduce negative impact would be discussed. From
this, colleges can learn which sport model can benefit student-athletes and if college should
implement certain programs and policy for student-athletes’ development. Also, college can
learn how other colleges operate their programs and manage their problems. This will be
beneficial if the college can investigate what other colleges are providing and implemented in the
past to solve the same problems the college have such as lack of academic motivations among
student-athletes. To conduct this research, Dr. Atwater who is interested in college athletics and
the intersection of athletic and academic in higher education will be able to provide more
information on background of this topic and research process.