Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Sport Studies

Major Professor

Leslee A. Fisher

Committee Members

Wanda Costen, Diana Moyer


The purpose of this study was to examine African-American Division I football players’ perceptions of their ability to balance their roles as “students” and “athletes”. Three major questions were addressed: Can student-athletes balance both the roles of “student” and “athlete”? If so, how are they able to do so? And, are they truly successful at it? Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with eight African-American football players at a Division I university. Six themes emerged which included: (a) parental emphasis on education and sport; (b) “childhood dreams” versus sport realities; (c) reality check; (d) perceptions of student-athletes; (e) pressure to become a “man”; and (f) being a student-athlete. Future directions for research, sport psychology consultants and athletic department staff are also given.

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