“People don’t acknowledge this process enough”: An In-Depth Investigation into Transition from Sport Programs for College Athletes

Hannah Kloetzer – University of Arkansas
Elizabeth Taylor – Temple University

Scholars have pointed to numerous struggles retiring college athletes face as they transition out of sport (e.g., anxiety, isolation, body image issues). Though research has explored athletes’ transition experiences, what is missing is an investigation into existing programming offered by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic departments and its impact on athletes’ biopsychosocial well-being. Utilizing Transition Theory (1981) as our theoretical framework, this sequential mixed-methods study involving survey and interview data collections, examines the experiences of college athletes with respect to their preparation for (current athletes) and reflection of (former athletes) retirement from sport. Findings from this study provide insight into the impact current programming can have on athletes’ well-being, specifically areas of nutrition, physical activity, and alumni participation. However, more consideration needs to be given to distributing these types of programs across all three NCAA divisions.