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Abstract

The transition period from high school to college includes a myriad of issues specific to student-athletes (Bernhard & Bell, 2015; Bjornsen & Dinkel, 2017; Comeaux, 2015). The present study sought to illuminate the specific transition issues faced by mid-major, DI student-athletes by providing them the platform to describe them in their own words, and provide their own recommendations for improvement. Utilizing a semi-structured interview guide which addressed transition issues, the qualitative study included 23 student-athletes in focus group settings. Analysis of interview data led to the emergence of two themes, with accompanying subthemes: 1) Encounters with academic support, with subthemes of transitioning to campus and perceived responsibilities of athletic academic advisors; and 2) Skewed perceptions and expectations of student-athlete life, with subthemes of expectations regarding the coach-athlete relationship, lifestyle modifications, and high stress practice environments. The findings suggest a notable trend – student-athletes lack the support they need to successfully deal with the transition. The transition process itself also appears to involve three specific periods: 1) Prior to arrival on campus; 2) Initial arrival on campus; and 3) Following the initial transition to campus. The findings will help to better design standards for helping student-athletes navigate the transition process.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.25035/jade.03.02.04

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