Preparing the College Student Inside the High School Athlete: The Secondary Teachers' Perspective of how Identity Influences Academic Engagement of Male Student-athletes of Revenue Producing Sports in Core Academic Classes



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Academic performance of male student-athletes who participate in revenue-producing sports is typically lower than that of other athletes and non-athletes at the collegiate level. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the experiences of high school teachers in core academic classes who educate these students. The goal of this descriptive phenomenological study was to determine how identity, specifically athletic identity, influenced academic engagement in core academic classes. This study was conducted through semi-structured interviews with five educator participants from a Houston area suburban school district. Five emergent themes were revealed through the experiences of the educator participants: Connections, On the Campus, In the Classroom, Outliers, and Undercurrents. Within the revealed themes, educator participants of on-level core academic classes discussed the presence of strong athletic identities, while educators of advanced academic classes felt there was a mix of more balanced student-athlete identities and stronger academic identities. Also shared was the sentiment that due to the high expectations of athletic program, particularly football, the majority of male student-athletes in that sport are not getting the necessary academic preparation to be successful at the postsecondary level. Also, educator participants mentioned feelings of frustration and pressure to help athletes remain eligible for competition while also getting inconsistent support at times from coaches. In addition to providing topics for future research, results from this study may provide stakeholders with a framework for improving academic success rates for male student-athletes participating in revenue-producing sports. Educator participants offered suggestions to address expressed concerns. These suggestions include educator workshops for teachers of student-athletes, campus and district personnel assigned solely to student-athletes, and the combination of summer workouts with academic camps.



Student-Athletes, Secondary Educators