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This study examined the relationship between athletic identity, race, gender, sport, and expectation to play professionally and career planning attitudes (career optimism, career adaptability, and career knowledge) among NCAA Division I college student-athletes. Participants of this study consisted of 538 Division I student-athletes from four Bowl Championship Series institutions. Results of this study found that Division I student-athletes with higher athletic identities had lower levels of career optimism; Division I student-athletes who participated in revenue-producing sports had lower levels of career optimism; and student-athletes with a higher expectation to play professional sports were more likely to be optimistic regarding their future career and displayed higher athletic identities. Statistically significant findings indicated the following gender differences: male Division I student-athletes believed they had a better understanding of the job market and employment trends; males had more career optimism; and females had higher levels of athletic identity than their male counterparts. Implications for counseling student-athletes are addressed.
Shaun C. Tyrance is with the Department of Counseling, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and is the sport psychology consultant at UNC-Charlotte. Henry L. Harris and Phyllis B. Post are with the Department of Counseling, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.