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May 20, 2016 08:57 AM EDT

‘Student-Athletes’ Identity Crisis: Study Shows How Student-Atlhetes Deal Between Academics, Athletics goals; Their Dual Identities


University of California, Riverside's Researchers forthcoming study published at "The Journal of Higher Education" examines the role of organizational customs in shaping the lives of college student athletes in dealing with their dual roles both as students and players and the potential risk of identity crisis among them.

The study by Eddie Comeaux and Uma Jayakumar from the Graduate School of Education of UCR highlights the problems that confront the student athletes in college sports which sheds light on a popular notion pertaining to players' low graduation percentage. This narrative passively exists at several big-time athletic programs amid the increasing public commentary on the growing identity crisis between academics and athletics goals.

In the study titled "The Cultural Cover Up of College Athletics: How Organizational Culture Perpetuates an Unrealistic and Idealized Balancing Act," researchers conducted sports ground observations and thorough dialogue with athletes and coaches including stakeholders in intercollegiate athletics from top Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). A result from "study A" shows the suggestions from organization that students were accountable for their athletic accomplishment.  But reality shows 45 percent of players from Football Bowl Subdivision School do not obtain college degrees.

In an orientation, cited by UCR Today, a head football coach stressed the importance of having an education, reiterating that sport is the "second reason" for someone who would opt to attend college. But with players spending more than 40 hours weekly in sport-related activities, only made them struggle academically.

The dual student athlete role discussed at orientation also changes as players grow in the program with the coach referring to the ideal student as someone who desires an education to better himself. Jayakumar said the research also raises questions regarding the role athletic organizations play in helping athletes in dealing with their dual identity crisis and safeguarding their academic success, UCR Today reported.

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