Integrating Athletics Within the Academy: Educational Experiences of Athletes, Musicians, and Traditional Students

Erianne A. Weight – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Molly Harry – University of Virginia
Kristina Navarro – Rutgers University
Megan – Boston University

The relationship between competitive athletics and education is an ever-present organizational and theoretical issue within the sport industry. Brand (2006) proposed an Integrated View of sport within the academy wherein athletics would be organized as an academic unit like music, theatre, or dance. The propulsion of this theory as an avenue toward reform, however, is limited because no study has empirically compared athletes to their music major and traditional student peers. The present study addresses this gap through direct comparison of the schedule, educational experience, and perceived transferrable skills of upper-level undergraduate students from three top-ranked music and athletic programs in the United States. Data highlighted that athletes spent significantly less time on athletics than their music colleagues spent on music, and significantly less time on academics than both comparison populations. Evidence suggests that if athletics were organizationally integrated, athletes and musicians would spend a comparable amount of time on academic endeavors.