Master of Education in Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects


According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), roughly 180,000 studentathletes are making the transition from high school to college in order to have the opportunity to compete in collegiate athletics ("NCAA recruiting fact," 2020). First-year student-athletes face the same transitions that non-student-athletes go through regarding social and academic identity, however, student-athletes have the additional stressor of having an athletic identity (Freeman, 2015; McFarlane, 2014; New, 2015; Skinner, 2004; Smith & Hardin, 2020). An additional transition came in the spring of 2020 with COVID-19 (Bullard, 2020; Roetert et. al., 2020). The purpose of this study was to investigate how the first-year transition process affected Division I student-athletes from the Mid-American Conference. The participants answered questions about transitioning to their university, rating their level of support across different areas, and transitioning unexpectedly due to COVID-19. Positives aspects of the transition included having a helpful coaching staff, supportive family and friends, approachable academic staff, and relief COVID-19 brought in providing a break. Negatives aspects of the transition that were mentioned included: adjusting to a new environment, struggling to balance being a Division I athlete, poor relationship either with academic or athletic staff, and readjusting to life back home during COVID-19.


Dr. Amanda Paule-Koba

Second Reader

Dr. Ray Schneider








Sport Administration