Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

William Young, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Thomas Miller, Ed.D.

Keywords

Football, Soccer, Coaches, Intercollegiate athletics, Transitions

Abstract

Intercollegiate athletics at major universities provide a variety of opportunities and challenges for student-athletes who choose to participate. This qualitative project studies the quality of interactions in the sport, the social, and the academic experiences for freshman football and male soccer student-athletes and their adjustment to college.

The five research questions under review were as follows: Is there a relationship between the quality of the sport experience and adjustment to college as reported by freshman football and male soccer student-athletes attending a NCAA Division I-A institution? Is there a relationship between the quality of the social experience and adjustment to college as reported by freshman football and male soccer student-athletes attending a NCAA Division I-A institution? Is there a relationship between the quality of the academic experience and adjustment to college as reported by freshman football and male soccer student-athletes attending a NCAA Division I-A institution? Are there relationships between any two of the three experiences (sport, social, and academic) that affect adjustment to college as reported by freshman football and male soccer student-athletes attending a NCAA Division I-A institution? Does the adjustment to college relate to interactions among all three experiences in any comprehensive way as reported by freshman football and male soccer student-athletes attending a NCAA Division I-A institution?

The purpose of the study was to hear in the student-athletes' authentic voices their descriptions of the quality of the sport, the social and the academic endeavors and how those interactions impacted their adjustment to college. The results imply that the freshman football and male soccer student-athletes, while enduring some challenges, find ways to adjust to college as both students and as athletes. Several themes were ascertained in relation to each of the three areas under review. While the student-athletes expressed feelings indicating that their collegiate experiences were different from the experiences of students not participating in intercollegiate athletics, the majority of them revealed a high level of comfort in their college environment. They all felt attached to the university, and they all planned to return for their sophomore year.

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