Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/Advisor

Satterfield, James

Committee Member

Cawthon , Tony

Committee Member

Warner , Cheryl

Committee Member

Fleming , Devid


The focus on the collegiate careers of student athletes continues to grow within the community of higher education. As the focus has been centered on academic performance, a growing concern is evolving for the overall experience student athletes obtain in a higher education setting. As the focus on college experience gains momentum, higher education professionals must investigate why traditional stereotypes maintain their strength and the appropriateness of the expectations placed upon student athletes.
The purpose of the study is to gain understanding and insight into the relationship between athletics and academics for Division I football players in higher education. To examine this purpose, the researcher asks: What is the meaning of the relationship between intercollegiate athletics and academics for football student athletes in higher education? To answer the research questions, the researcher selected a phenomenological qualitative method to gain an essence of the student athlete experience in higher education.
Results indicate that the college experience for student athletes differs from that of the general student population. The thematic development of this study indicates the student athlete reality differs across the normative, regulative and cultural-cognitive aspects of the institution and argues the appropriateness of viewing intercollegiate football athletes as traditional undergraduate students.



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