Student Services for Athletes

Student Services for Athletes

Student Services for Athletes

Student Services for Athletes

Synopsis

This is the 93rd issue of the Jossey-Bass series "New Directions for Student Services,"

Excerpt

This chapter explores the broad question: Who are student athletes? At first glance, the differences between student athletes and other college students seem subtle. Both groups attend college; one plays an intercollegiate sport whereas the other does not. Playing an intercollegiate sport, however, adds an unexpectedly complex layer to student life. The college student athlete faces all the challenges experienced by nonathletes (social adjustment, career exploration, intellectual growth). In addition to the daily student routine (attending classes, going to the cafeteria, and participating in social events), student athletes also have their sport-related activities (practicing every day, visiting the athletic trainer for injury treatment, traveling for away games, studying team plays) (Ferrante, Etzel, and Lantz, 1996; Martens and Lee, 1998; Street, 1999). They constantly cope with balancing the roles of student and athlete (Street, 1999). For example, although any college student might want to get good grades so as to avoid the wrath of a parent or guardian, the student athlete also has obligations to the coach, the team, and the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

In addition, many factors distinguish athlete from athlete (division classification, sex, race, ability, sport), and each of these differences can mean many different ways of defining and experiencing life as a student athlete (Street, 1999). For purposes of this volume, therefore, we assume that student athletes do have some common experiences and face common issues about which we can make assertions and recommend responses. We also assume, however, that differences among student athletes must be acknowledged and addressed.

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