Committee Chair

Bernard, Hinsdale; Weathington, Bart

Committee Member

Colston, Marisa; Tucker, James


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This study focused on the problem of college student-athletes retiring from their sports unprepared for life outside of sanctioned athletics. The purpose was to identify if a current student-athlete believes he/she is prepared for a career life after competitive college athletics and who the student-athlete feels should provide guidance into the sport retirement transition process. The research questions were: (1) Do current student-athletes feel they are properly prepared to enter into sport retirement (voluntary or involuntary) by their institution?; (1a) Do current student-athletes feel the institution/organization they are associated with should provide athletic retirement planning or aid?; (2) Does the relationship the athlete has with his/her coach affect the goals of sport retirement for that athlete?; (3) Does an athlete’s motivation for collegiate participation affect his/her goals for life after competitive sport?; (4) Do the current student-athletes have a preference about who the information comes from regarding sport retirement?; (5) Does a current student-athlete’s economic status affect his/her goals for the sport retirement process? A quantitative approach was used in this study to provide a perspective on the planning of current student-athletes for a future career once their sports eligibility has ended. For research question 1 and 1a, findings showed that while the majority of current student-athletes have a developed future career plan for life after competitive athletics, 15% do not have an established future plan. Regarding research question 2, one’s relationship with his/her coach did not influence the student-athlete from having a developed future plan. For research question 3, athletes who participated in collegiate athletics for educational reasons were more likely to have an established career plan. For research question 4, the current student-athletes felt the athletic department should provide the information about the sport retirement transition process. Regarding research question 5, a student-athlete’s economic status had no significant effect on one’s development of a plan for post competitive sport. Helping student-athletes in collegiate athletics should be a priority for preparing them for a future career outside of their sanctioned sport. These student athletes without an established plan may be at risk for a difficult transition process.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




College athletes; College sports


College student-athletes


Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sports Studies

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




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