Building an Athlete Community Service Motivation Model: Investigating the Relationship Between Athletic Identity, Student Involvement, and Community Service

Matt R. Huml – Texas Tech University
Meg G. Hancock – University of Louisville
Erianne A. Weight – University of North Carolina
Mary A. Hums – University of Louisville


A recent study by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) found that approximately 90% of college athletes participate in community service and nearly 60% of college coaches require community service as a team activity. Participation in community service may provide critical, yet formidable, development opportunities that college athletes may otherwise miss given the myriad of time commitments they experience. Compulsory community service may inhibit a college athlete’s motivation to perform service, thereby also effectively stunting or delaying personal growth and development. The purpose of this study was to measure college athlete motivation as it pertains to community service participation, as well as how athletic identity may impact a college athlete’s motivation to participate in community service. Participants included college athletes (n = 546) from NCAA Division I, II, and III institutions. Utilizing structural equation modeling, results of this study were used to develop an Athlete Community Service Motivation Model. There was a significant positive relationship between an athlete’s year in college and the number of his/her community service hours, and a significant negative relationship between an athlete’s year in college and community service motivation. Additionally, there were no significant differences between community service hours and NCAA division. Lastly, a significant, negative relationship between service as punishment and community service hours was reported.