The Myth of “More” and the Impact of Significant Others on Student-Athlete Participation in High Impact Practices

Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove – Towson University
Nicolo Russolillo – Towson University
Ryan King-White – Towson University

While the idea that student-athletes have access to “everything and more” may be true in some respects (e.g., Umbach et al., 2006), this can be a misconception as well, as athletes must also contend with things like stereotype threat (English & Kruger, 2020) and time constraints (Tull, 2009). Consequently, when assessing the purported benefits associated with being a studentathlete one must consider the environment contextually and assess both benefits and constraints. Therefore, in order to better understand the underlying themes that influence student-athletes to participate in engaged learning practices, this study adopts a qualitative research design to assess student-athlete participation in high impact practices (HIPs) and the impact of significant others on their decision-making process. Ten student-athletes, representing both women’s and men’s sports, participated in semi-structured, in-depth, 30–60-minute interviews (Gubrium & Holstein, 2002; Holstein & Gubrium, 2003, 2012). In addition to recognizing that the studentathletes did not participate in HIPs unless they were mandated by the University or their individual course of study, two primary themes (Relationships and Constraints) and five subthemes (Trust, Respect, and Messaging and Disconnect and Time, respectively), were identified regarding student-athlete’s perceptions of the role that significant others do, or can, play in their decision-making process.