A Day in the Life of a Male College Athlete: A Public Perception and Qualitative Campus Investigation

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Suzanne Malia Lawrence Azusa Pacific University

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C. Keith Harrison University of Central Florida

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Jeff Stone University of Arizona

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Perceptual confirmation paradigm (PCP) rooted in social psychology, can be implemented to frame sport science research questions (Stone, Perry, & Darley, 1997). Public perception of college athletes’ lives has been scarcely investigated in the sport sciences (Keels, 2005) using the PCP to prime stereotypes. The purpose of this study was to prime stereotypes about a day in the life of a college athlete by using qualitative inquiry to assess college students’ (N = 87) perceptions. Participants provided written responses about a day in the life of a college athlete. Two different college athlete targets were used “Tyrone Walker” (n = 44) and “Erik Walker” (n = 43). Four major themes and one minor theme emerged which are descriptive of the participants’ perceptions. Findings were related to the leadership responsibilities of sport management practitioners in higher education. Future research inquiries and relevant suggestions were articulated for sport management scholars in the 21st century.

Lawrence is with the Dept. of Innovative Education Technology and Physical Education, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA 91711. Harrison is with the DeVos Sport Business Management Program, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL. Stone is with the Dept. of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

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