Impacts of Division III Female Student-Athletes’ Experiences on Pursuing a Career in Sport

Elizabeth Taylor – Temple University
Terilyn C. Shigeno – Adler University
Aidan Kraus – Boston University

The passage of Title IX has been instrumental in creating participation opportunities for girls and women in sport. Prior to Title IX, only one in 27 girls competed in sport, today that number is two in five. At the collegiate level, increases in opportunities for women to participate in sport have been similar. Unfortunately, Title IX has not had the same impact on women in leadership positions. Pre-Title IX, more than 90% of women’s teams and athletic departments were led by women, however, today, that number is less than 50%. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine the experiences of former female Division III student-athletes who pursued a career within sport using career construction theory as the guiding framework. Eight femaleidentified former Division III student-athletes were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide regarding their early sport experiences, Division III student-athlete experience, and decision-making process in pursuing a career within sport. Participants’ experiences were constructed into three higher order themes: (1) Pre-college experience, (2) Holistic educational experience, and (3) Post-College: A career in sport? Findings have important implications within the literature on women in sport, specifically related to growing representation of former female athletes in the sport industry.