College Athletes and Role Conflict


The authors of the article were concerned with the problems that cause college students who are sponsored for their talent in athletics fails to graduate in their respective courses. The authors were also concerned with the college athletes’ subculture that makes them fail to graduate at the end of their respective course duration.  In addition, the authors also wanted to identify the role conflict that college athletes experiences and why they experience it. Lastly, the study aimed at establishing the solution to graduates’ failure to graduate from their studies. In essence, the authors wanted to know what could be done to increase the rate of sponsored athletes graduating from different colleges.


There are many cases that have been reported from various colleges concerning college athletes and their performances in academics. The main aim that athletes seek for sponsorship in various colleges is so that they can study and excel in life. Some of the athletes may be coming from a poor background that can only struggle for their college fee. Therefore, they look for colleges that value talent. These colleges promise to give students free college education as well as make them improve on their talent. However, the authors observed that most of the college athletes begin their life at college with a lot of enthusiasm, but along the way, they fail to live to their dream of graduating with a college degree. Journalists have tried to discover why there is a disconnect between the regular students who graduate in the majority and the college athletes who fail to graduate in the majority. Former athletes have also come out to give part of their story and the reasons why the majority of them fails to graduate from universities. Another category researchers interested in this program is social scientists who relate failure of college athletes in academics to the commercialization of college athletic programs.

Role conflict has been identified as one of the causes of college athletes’ failure to graduate with a university degree. While entering the college, the athletes are told that they will be provided with every academic tool required of them to study. The coaches also assure them that a timetable will be drawn in their favor. Therefore, the innocent athletes believe that there will be special classes for them and free time for practices and for other competitions. However, the reality hits them when the coaches take most of the students’ time in the field. The athletes do not have much time to attend important lectures. In most cases, the students are lured into the big money that comes on their way as a reward for their hard work in games. Therefore, they neglect education leading to their failure in attaining suitable grades in their academics.

One of the reasons why college athlete students fail in their academics is due to the lack of information from their predecessors. The author argues that these students had seen greater success when they were in high school. During that time, studies went on and attended exercises during the set games time. As one student said, “I didn’t think about it much, but when I did, I thought it would be more or less the same here as it is back in high school, no big change (Page 185). From the experience of this student, it is clear that the students do not have much information on what they should expect while at the university. Life in the college is much different from what they used to experience while at the high school. Here, the coaches demand most of their time. Some of them even fail to pick their desired subjects as the coaches do it for them even without consultations. As one of the students claimed, “They got me taking nutrition, mental retardation, square dancing, and camp counseling. I thought I was going to learn something here (page 188).” From this revelation, it is true that the athlete-students are preoccupied with games to a point that they do not have time to think and choose what they want to do in school. As the author claims, playing for the university team is a full-time job. This depicts the conflicting role of an individual as a student and an athlete. The student must excel in one and fail in the other.

The social role was another factor that led to athlete students’ failure to excel in academics. In most cases, athlete students had their social circle that did not involve other students. When one of them worked hard to get a better grade, the other ones laughed off the hard work. The students claimed that they are already in a profession that did not require any academic excellence.


College athletes have been found to be doing badly in academics due to their inability to cope with the demands of their coaches. Coaches took a lot of the students’ time as wanted to bring out the best out of the students’ talent. However, the students had their target of graduating with better grades with the rest. The university administration should review its mode of learning to suit the students involved in various games. The solution will ensure that none of the students fails to attend lectures and that all sits for the examination. When this is implemented, universities sponsoring talented students will begin to produce qualified students in academics and athletics.

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