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

Suzanne Malia Lawrence, C. Keith Harrison, and Jeff Stone

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.

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White College Students’ Explanations of White (and Black) Athletic Performance: A Qualitative Investigation of White College Students

C. Keith Harrison, Suzanne Malia Lawrence, and Scott J. Bukstein

While the sport sociology community has had a long-running conversation about the relationship between athletes’ success and race, there are few empirical investigations of individuals’ attitudes regarding the connection of race and athletic performance. This study on White college students’ explanations of White (and African American) athleticism attempts to push this discussion of race and sport. Using a qualitative, open-ended question we elicited explanations from White college students about athletic performance. Findings revealed that White students explained White athleticism through discussions of African American athleticism. In addition, White student participants avoided biological explanations regarding White athletes’ success.