The primary objective of this study was to examine student-athletes’ experiences, particularly an in-depth account of balancing school and sport. The secondary objective was to assess student-athletes’ susceptibility to the effects of the “dumb-jock” stereotype threat and also to determine the strength of athletic and academic identity as predicated by the extent to which stereotype is perceived by student-athletes. A total of 110 student-athletes from colleges and universities in Botswana completed an online survey that was followed by semi-structured interviews with eight student-athletes, and four coaches. The online survey assessed student-athletes’ demographic variables, measured athletic, academic identities, and perceived stereotype threat. Student-athletes reported a slightly higher academic identity (M=5.9, SD= .85) compared to athletic identity (M=5.4, SD=1.0). Student-athletes reported a moderate mean (M=3.6, SD=.82) just above the midpoint of the 7-point scale for stereotype threat. A Univariate ANOVA was conducted to determine if there was any significant difference between university and colleges brackets in Botswana with regard to the three variables: athletic identity, student identity and stereotype threat. The only significant difference was in the academic identity (Post Hoc-Tukey Student Identity: Bracket A < Bracket B, Bracket C) with Bracket A schools being the least athletically competitive. Qualitative data results indicate that even though student-athletes reported a slightly higher student identity, there are parallels between sports and academic structures on college campuses. Results also provide evidence of lack of academic support for student-athletes. Results are discussed using the stereotype threat theory as a framework.
|Keywords:||Stereotype Threat, Student Athletes, Athletic Identity, Collegiate Sport|
Teaching Assistant, Kinesiology Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA