Predictors of Academic Motivation: The Role of Career Self-Efficacy Among NCAA Division II Student-Athletes

Mark Weatherly – Grand View University
Yu (April) Chen – Louisiana University


This quantitative study examines to what extent psychological factors affect academic motivation among NCAA Division II student-athletes. More than 350 student-athletes from five Midwest NCAA Division II universities participated in an on-line survey. The survey instrument included statistical measures that focused on career decision-making self-efficacy, athletic identity, and academic motivation. Through a series of independent sample t tests, statistically significant differences were found between student-athletes in revenue producing sports versus non-revenue sports. Student-athletes in revenue producing sports had significantly higher athletic identity and significantly lower academic motivation. In the subsequent regression analysis, we found that career decision-making self-efficacy significantly influenced student-athletes’ academic motivation, while controlling other factors such as student-athletes’ year in school, athletic identity, revenue producing sport status, scholarship status, and the belief of becoming a professional athlete. Strong career decision-making self-efficacy predicted higher academic motivation among Division II student-athletes in this study. From the findings, implications and recommendations for practice and future research regarding balancing athletic participation and career preparation outside sport are discussed.