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Shaun C. Tyrance, Henry L. Harris and Phyllis Post

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.