Community Service in Intercollegiate Athletics: A Student Involvement Approach to College Athlete Engagement

Matt Huml – Texas Tech University
Per Svensson – Louisiana State University
Meg Hancock – University of Louisville


The prioritization of athletic commitments by student-athletes has only increased in recent years as student-athletes frequently sacrifice academic opportunities to focus on their sport. Movement toward athletic prioritization has led to a decrease in academic development for studentathletes. Community service is an integral part of the college academic experience and is a frequent activity of college students, including student-athletes. Using the theoretical lens of the Student Involvement Theory, this study investigated the participation of student-athletes, with support from their athletic department, in community service. The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) examine how intercollegiate athletic departments integrate community service into the educational experience of student-athletes, and (2) investigate variables associated with frequency of student-athlete community service. Multiple non-statistically significant findings were reported, raising concerns on the application of Student Involvement Theory to the studentathlete academic experience.