Sarah Hatteberg – College of Charleston
Literature on collegiate athletes’ academic engagement suggests that athletes’ exposure to competing and contradictory role expectations and an institutional prioritization of athletic excellence may negatively impact athletes’ academic and professional development. Few, however, have examined this possibility from the perspective of the athletes themselves. Using qualitative data collected from a sample of collegiate athletes, this study examined athlete perceptions of their stress exposures and how those impact their academic engagement and growth. Findings indicate that athletes across sports experienced role-related and institutional strains that impacted their academic development and professionalization. Specifically, athletes felt that their athletic role obligations and efforts interfered with their academic performance. Institutional scheduling constraints and academic advising practices were perceived to put athletic activities ahead of academic efforts, sometimes altering athletes’ academic trajectories, and some athletes perceived that their academic interests and professional goals were not necessarily being cultivated within the institution. As a result of the institutional and role-related constraints they faced, a subset of respondents felt that they were missing out on certain educational and professional opportunities including high impact practices (see Kuh, 2008) that they believed would help prepare them for life after college.