The Athlete Advantage: Human Capital Resource Emergence through Sport

Erianne A. Weight – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Allison B. Smith – University of Massachusetts Boston
Lisa M. Rubin – Kansas State University

The effects of sport participation experiences have broad implications in college sport. The purpose of this research was to study the perceived impact of competitive athletic participation on life after sport. This purpose was pursued through interviews with 215 former U.S. college athletes five to 44 years post-competition with a majority being white male revenue sport athletes. Results revealed six emergent themes with 28 subthemes attributed to sport participation that impact former athletes’ personal and professional lives (drive, resilience, emotional intelligence, teamwork, leadership, and confidence). The knowledge, skills, attributes, and other characteristics (KSAOs) athletes described as lessons learned through intercollegiate athletics provide compelling support for competitive sport as a rich complex environment for human capital emergence.