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The Reality Of College Sports

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In the article, Predicating Positive Career Planning Attitudes Among NCAA Division I College Student-Athletes, written by Tyrance, Harris and Post, they state that the NCAA has over 400,000 students that participate in intercollegiate athletics (23). They further discuss that there is a mean of 3.13% of college athletes who go on to play professional sports in the NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLS, NHL and MLB (23). Because of the low possibility of making it in professional sports, it’s imperative that “student-athletes engage in positive career planning” (Tyrance, Harris, Post, 23). Even though the NCAA implemented a rule that states a student athlete isn’t supposed to spend more than 20 hours a week on required athletic activities (Newly Proposed NCAA Rules, Berkowitz), because of the demands of practice, traveling and playing tend to “win-out” over career preparation, there isn’t much time that allows for a student athlete to prepare for their lives outside of sport. (Shurts and Shoffner, 99). Martens and Lee also mention that “activities related to career development such as visits to the career center, sessions with a career counselor, resume development, and internships” all require time that a student athlete does not have (124).

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Athletic Identity

Shurts and Shoffner further explain that because student athletes have less time to devote to their career development and preparing for life after sport, they also have the added factor of figuring out who they are outside of their athletic identity” (99). According to Baillie and Danish in their article, Understanding the Career Transition of Athlete, the label of an athlete begins as soon as sports participation begins (78). Tyrance, Harris and Post add that the life cycle for a student athlete is approximately 10-15 years between the ages of 5-22 (23). When it comes to an athlete developing their identity, it is often associated as soon as they begin playing their sport. Baillie and Danish also further explain that the athletes self concept is further enhanced by their involvement in their sport,meaning, the more involved they are in the activities such as outside practice and preparations for games, the more valuable they feel (79) Further, Howard-Hamilton and Sina describe that athletes can go through temporizing which is when they hesitate to take the next step when it comes to leaving behind their identity as an athlete and transition into alternative career paths (40). Baillie and Danish further discuss that when a student athlete has the expectation to go on to play professional sports but then fail to real that goal, it often impedes with the student athletes identity (79). The idea that when you take away their sport due to retirement, their sole-identity also gets taken away is then reiterated.

Need for Career Development

Martens and Lee and Shurts and Shoffner both discuss the imperative need for student-athletes to be able to have their own type of career development program that is catered more towards an athlete's lifestyle and schedule. In Martens and Lee’s article, Promoting Life- Career Development in the Student Athlete: How Can Career Centers Help, they found that student athletes engage in “less career and educational planning than other students” (124). Shurts and Shoffner also mention that when it comes to career development, student athletes progress more slowly than their non-athlete peers (98). Howard-Hamilton and Sina explain that “institutions are to provide an environment in which athletes and athletic program play an essential role in the student body and in which there is a distinguishable difference between professional sports and intercollegiate athletics” (41). However, Brown, Glasetter-Fender, and Shelton explain that the demands of playing, training and traveling get in the way of career preparation (53) which means that student athletes aren’t able to fully utilize career development centers at their institutions. Martens and Lee also points out that “athletes are unlikely to visit the career center on their own” to which they suggest the need for implementing an outreach program that caters more to student athletes needs and schedules (126). A study by Sinclair and Orlick found that athletes who had the ability to focus on things related to retirement, such as career development and personal identity, through an outreach program felt better equipped to go through a smooth transition, as compared to student athletes who didn't have the option at all (147). They further discuss that based on whether or not a student athlete was able to use outreach programs determined whether or not they had success or failure in regards to transitioning (Sinclair and Orlick, 139).

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The Reality Of College Sports. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“The Reality Of College Sports.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022,
The Reality Of College Sports. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Feb. 2024].
The Reality Of College Sports [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2024 Feb 29]. Available from:
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