A profile of the major selection of student athletes at a division I-AA institution and how they compare to students in the general population

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


The purpose of the study was to determine what student athletes were majoring in, whether they differed from non-athletes at the same institution, and how being a student athlete influenced their major selection. This study addressed student athletes participating at a division I-AA University. The university is a member of the NCAA with approximately 250 student athletes participating in fourteen varsity sports. In the quantitative study a One-Sample Chi-Square was used to determine if student athletes differ significantly from students in the general population. Similar studies were conducted classifying the student athletes by gender and sport profile. A Contingency Chi-Square was used to determine if the student athletes differed from each other in the selection of a major when classified by gender, sport profile, and recruitment status.
The qualitative study addressed how the experience of being a student athlete influenced their selection of a major. Results show that student athletes were not selecting the same majors as their non-athlete counterparts. Significant differences were also found when comparing student athletes to students in the general population after classifying them by gender and sport profile. Among student athletes, only gender was found to be a significant determinant of major. Results from the qualitative study found that athletic participation has impacted the major selection of college athletes in a variety of ways including: time available to devote to academics, the scheduling of classes during athletic practices, and the treatment of professors and advisors toward their athletic status.




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