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Abstract

Athletic transition has been explored in sport management and sport psychology literature primarily focusing on transitioning into collegiate athletics, voluntary and involuntary transitions out of collegiate sport, and transitioning out of professional sport. This study compared NCAA Division I and III collegiate athletes’ perceptions regarding the athletic transition process. Semi-structured interviews were utilized to uncover the perceptions and experiences surrounding the transition process into, during, and out of collegiate sport (Lindlof & Taylor, 2019; Schlossberg, 1981). Three themes emerged from the data: Moving In: Compatability, Moving Through: Identity Directly Tied to Sport, and Moving Out: Redefining Oneself. More specifically, the participants explained coaches and proximity to home helped foster a sense of compatability in institution choice. All of the participants believed sport was important to their lives and tied to their current identity. Lastly, participants detailed the upcoming transition out of sport was either an opportunity for growth or accompanied with uncertainty and sadness surrounding this significant life change. These findings highlight the responsibility of intercollegiate athletic departments and institutions to provide assistance in these transitional processes through coach, administrator, and athlete education and programming.

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