Masters of Education in Human Movement Sport and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects


As National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) student athlete exploitation has become a growing concern (Grasgreen, 2011), it has become increasingly more important to examine the nature of how student athletes are spending their time. The athletic time demands placed on student athletes are becoming unreasonable (He, 2016), causing them to compromise the time they spend on their academics to meet the expectations of their sport(Saffici and Pellegrino, 1998). Beyond time restrictions placed on the number athletically related hours each week, based on the high level of stress involved, student athletes should be given a period of time where they are able to be academically motivated without the overwhelming time spent on the other aspects of college.

The purpose of this study was to examine whether motivations change when Division I student athletes are in season compared to out of season. A survey was distributed to Division I women’s gymnastics teams from the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Results were assessed based on the factors of academic motivation and their differences during the varying times of the academic year.In this study, 39 individuals from five MAC schools participated. It was concluded that, while academic motivations in season and out of season differed, there was not one season that was more academically demanding than the other. Academic motivations of earning a high GPA, rewards systems, coach support, decreasing stress, preparation for their future, and perfectionist tendencies were identified. Participants reported feeling busier when in season, although being busy was not found to concretely impact their academics in negative ways. Participants were found to be motivated year-round by their own high expectations and wanting to decrease stress, but were more motivated when in season to get ahead on academics to avoid having to focus on academics while traveling to away competitions.


Amanda Paule-Koba

Second Reader

Sungho Cho








Sport Administration