Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Sports Management

Major Professor

Gi-Yong Koo

Committee Members

James Bemiller, Rob Hardin


The research seeks to determine which motivational factors influence international student athletes in committing to an American institution in order to participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The study will examine which factors play an important role in college choice for these individuals. Most research indicates that the primary motivation for international student-athletes to come to American colleges is to receive an education while being on athletic scholarships (Bale, 1991, Ridinger, 1996; Stidwell, 1984). The research will serve to support previous findings and to reveal other motivational factors which influence college choice for international student-athletes.

By exploratory factor analysis the major influences which play a role in the student-athlete’s decision to commit to an American university or college will be identified. Due to the controversial and opinionated nature of the topic of international student-athletes, the need for research is supported.

Questionnaires will be conducted online by both male and female international student-athletes participating in all NCAA sports at universities and colleges of three BCS Conferences. Data on motivational factors will be collected in order to identify which motives drive athletes to participate in their respective NCAA institutions. Once the questionnaires are collected, the major motivational factors will be identified and comparisons of findings will be made between male and female athletes and athletes participating in different sports. Expected results should support previous findings that student-athletes are influenced highly by academic factors, as well as by the chance to participate in highly competitive leagues (Bale, 1991; Garbert, Hale & Montalyo, 1999). Literature on international student-athletes is limited and due to the increase in numbers and popularity of recruiting international athletes to the NCAA, it is important to examine the issues concerning the topic. Without knowing why the international student-athletes come to American colleges and universities, recruiting could become more challenging and retaining these students through matriculation of their degree could become difficult. This study will provide a significant contribution to the literature regarding influencing factors in college choice and will be vital to athletic departments at NCAA institutions in order to aid in recruiting international student-athletes.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."