Student-Athletes, Autonomy, and Self-Authorship
Amidst the Organizational Culture of Athletics
The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how collegiate athletic participation influenced academic autonomy and self-authorship surrounding academic decision-making among student-athletes from their perspective, as experienced within the organizational culture of the athletics department. The study potentially offers stakeholders insight into how college athletes navigate these interpersonal and intercultural challenges and what can be done to improve their overall educational experience, while retaining the positive attributes associated with sports involvement.
The study was constructed as a descriptive case study focused on the academic messaging student-athletes received within the athletics department of one NCAA Division I, Research I institution. The study was conducted at a mid-sized private institution with adequate resources to provide departmental academic support and advising services. The sample was drawn from first and second-year student-athletes on one varsity team who had not formally declared an academic major. Coaches, advisors, and administrators affiliated with the team were also included in the sample. Data were collected from interviews with 7 student-athletes, two coaches, two academic advisors from within the athletics department, and one administrator. A review of documents related to institutional and departmental academic requirements for student-athletes and observations of activities, artifacts, and facilities connected to the team were also conducted. Using Saldaña’s (2016) first and second cycle coding methods, data were coded, organized, and analyzed into broad themes to answer the research questions. The themes were further examined through the theoretical frameworks of Chickering and Reisser (1993, 2011) and Baxter Magolda (1998).
Findings revealed that messaging from within the athletics department was holistic, ongoing, contextual, and resonated with student-athletes surrounding the fulfillment of academic and athletic responsibilities. Findings also showed that student-athletes recognized and accepted the limits playing sports imposed on their capacity to autonomously determine aspects of their collegiate experiences. Student-athletes perceived autonomy over decisions most important to them, and support for their academic and pre-professional goals from the athletics department. Attributing meaning to their sports involvement, many believed their college experience would be incomplete without its presence.
|Advisor:||Jakeman, Rick C|
|Commitee:||Swayze, Susan, Sonn, Andrew C, Stone, Ashley N, McWilliams Henderson, Markesha|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Higher Education Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Dual identity of student-athletes, Student-athlete academic autonomy, Student-athlete autonomy, Student-athlete identity, Student-athletes|
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