Athlete First, Student Second: The Thematic Emphasis of Power-5 Official Visits and Fostered Athletic Role Engulfment

Chris Corr – Troy University
Christopher Atwater – Troy University
Padric Hall – Capitol Technology University

Extant literature establishes that National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Power-5 athletes are often engulfed in their athletic role. While athletic role engulfment originates at the youth sport level, societal glorification of NCAA Power-5 athletics differentiates college athletic role engulfment. College athletic role engulfment has been linked to several negative outcomes, most notably academic dysfunction. While the presence of athletic role engulfment among NCAA Power-5 athletes is recognized within sport management literature, previous research focuses on outcomes rather than sources of athletic role engulfment. Official recruiting visits provide NCAA athletics programs the opportunity to pay for prospective recruits to visit campus and are a significant factor to a recruits’ enrollment decision. Utilizing public records requests to acquire official recruiting visit itineraries, the present study sought to examine the thematic emphasis of official recruiting visits in NCAA Power-5 athletics. Findings indicate that Power-5 official recruiting visits disproportionately emphasize athletic and social themes over an academic theme. Gender, conference, and sport-specific variables are also discussed as well as the role athletics’ recruiters and coaches occupy in fostering athlete role engulfment among Power-5 athletes.