Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Athletic-Academic Spectrum in U.S. Higher Education and the Lived Experience of NCAA Student Athlete Advisors
by McAlmont, Shaun E., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2018, 132; 10827383
Abstract (Summary)

College athletics is a complex, revenue generating industry within the United States higher education system. This commercialized segment of education generated 9 billion dollars of income in 2015 from the efforts of 482,533 student athletes (Gains, 2016; NCAA, 2015). This system creates a unique spectrum characterized on one end by the insatiable desire for winning led by coaches, athletic departments, and alumni, resulting in athletic isolation to protect the ‘athlete investment.’ On the other end of the spectrum is the pursuit of a degree, academic success, and career development guided by faculty and an institution’s academic mission and reputation to protect the ‘student investment.’ Student athletes are caught between the strong pull of these two opposing pressures which requires advising to assist them in navigating this complex environment and calls for current research to better understand the student athlete advisor role, its evolution, and related impact on student athletes within this academic-athletic spectrum.

Qualitative research methods explored the lived experiences of 32 athletic academic advisors from mid-sized Division I NCAA institutions. Semi-structured interviews conducted over a two-month period explored how their role, experience, and approach influence student athletes. The study drew eight primary findings and analyzed them within three original research questions that covered: (a) the evolution of student athlete advising in higher education; (b) how student athletes engage in the broader university; and (c) the range of advising from simply maintaining athletic eligibility to optimizing academic engagement.

The findings of this study illustrate the lived experiences of athletic academic advisors and unveils a mentorship role that exceeds academic advising. The findings also highlight the increasing numbers of advisors, their backgrounds, challenges, and the evolving role of student athlete advising along the athletic-academic spectrum. The results of this study can help guide institutional leaders in structuring advising and other support systems to benefit the academic and career prospects for student athletes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moneta, Laurence
Commitee: King, John, Weaver, Karen
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Sports Management, Higher education
Keywords: Academic advising, Academic counseling, College athletics, NCAA, Student athlete advising, Student athlete engagement
Publication Number: 10827383
ISBN: 9780438338937
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