Tutor Perceptions of Division I College Athletes
Keywords:Intercollegiate athletics, stereotype threat, academic support
Research regarding athletics stakeholders’ (e.g., faculty, non-athlete peers) perceptions of Division I college athletes is abundant and demonstrates that most stakeholders hold negative and stereotypical views of athletes. However, despite their time spent with athletes, little is known about the perceptions academic tutors have toward the athletes they are brought in to assist. Thus, through the lens of stereotype threat, this study explored graduate(d) and undergraduate tutors’ (n = 67) perceptions of athletes from three academically and athletically elite Division I institutions. Tutors’ perceptions were examined and compared based on their responses to an adapted situational attitude scale survey using correlations, t-tests, and Fisher’s Z tests. In general, results suggested tutors did not maintain stereotypical perceptions of the athletes they worked with, a key difference from previous scholarship in this area. Still, graduate(d) tutors generally held athletes to higher academic standards compared to undergraduate tutors. Implications for sport practitioners in academic support programs for athletes include hiring more graduate(d) tutors to work with athletes and fostering stronger relationships between tutors and athletes. Ultimately, this study expands upon the previous research on perceptions and stereotypes of athletes and the findings may demonstrate a shift toward more positive and strengths-based perceptions of Division I athletes.
Arum, R., & Roksa, J. (2011). Channeling students’ energies toward learning. In Academically adrift: Limited learning on college campuses (pp. 91–120). University of Chicago Press.
Banbel, M., & Chen, S. S. (2014). Academic tutoring program and services for supporting collegiate athletes. Kentucky Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 52(1), 52–65.
Brewer, B. W., & Petitpas, A. J. (2017). Athletic identity foreclosure. Current Opinion in Psychology, 16, 118–122.
Brewer, B. W., Van Raalte, J. L., & Linder, D. E. (1993). Athletic identity: Hercules’ muscles or Achilles heel? International Journal of Sport Psychology, 24(2), 237–254.
Clotfelter, C. T. (2019). Big-time sports in American universities. Cambridge University Press.
Coakley, J. (2021). Sports in society: Issues and controversies (13th ed.). McGraw Hill.
Comeaux, E. (2011a). A study of attitudes toward college athletes: Implications for faculty-athletics engagement. The Journal of Negro Education, 521–532.
Comeaux, E. (2011b). Examination of faculty attitudes toward Division I college athletes. College Student Affairs Journal, 30(1), 75–87.
Comeaux, E. (2012). Unmasking athlete microaggressions: Division I athletes’ engagement with members of the campus community. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 5(2), 189–198.
Comeaux, E., & Harrison, C. K. (2011). A conceptual model of academic success for student–athletes. Educational Researcher, 40(5), 235–245.
Cooper, E. (2010). Tutoring center effectiveness: The effect of drop-in tutoring. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 40(2), 21–34.
Dee, T. S. (2014). Stereotype threat and the student‐athlete. Economic Inquiry, 52(1), 173–182.
Engstrom, C. M., & Sedlacek, W. E. (1991). A study of prejudice toward university athletes. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70(1), 189–193.
Engstrom, C. M., Sedlacek, W. E., & McEwen, M. K. (1995). Faculty attitudes toward male revenue and nonrevenue athletes. Journal of College Student Development, 36(3), 217–227.
Gayles, J. G., Comeaux, E., Ofoegbu, E., & Grummert, S. (2018a). Neoliberal capitalism and racism in college athletics: Critical approaches for supporting student‐athletes. New Directions for Student Services, 2018(163), 11–21.
Gayles, J. G., Crandall, R., & Morin, S. (2018b). Student-athletes’ sense of belonging: Background characteristics, student involvement, and campus climate. The International Journal of Sport and Society, 9(1), 23–38.
Gill, E. L., & Farrington, K. (2014). The impact of an Intensive Learning Program (ILP) on Black male football athletes academic achievement. Journal of College Student Development, 55(4), 413–418.
Gurney, G., Lopiano, D. A., & Zimbalist, A. (2017). Unwinding madness: What went wrong with college sports and how to fix it. Brookings Institution Press.
Harry, M. (2021a). NCAA exit interviews and surveys: Academic experiences of college athletes. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 14(1), 66–93.
Harry, M. (2021b, November 5). Extending Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth to intercollegiate athletics through Athletic Cultural Wealth. Presentation at Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Hirko, S. & Sweitzer, K. V. (2015). The business model of intercollegiate sports: The haves and have-nots. In E. Comeaux (Ed.), Introduction to intercollegiate athletics (pp. 147-162). Johns Hopkins University Press.
Huml, M. R., Hancock, M. G., Bergman, M. J. (2014). Additional support or extravagant cost? Athletes' perceptions on athletic academic centers. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics 7, 410–430.
James, E. (2019, August 23). Mississippi State tutor committed academic misconduct to aid 11 athletes. http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/mississippi-state-tutor-committed-academic-misconduct-aid-11-athletes.
Jayakumar, U. M., & Comeaux, E. (2016). The cultural cover-up of college athletics: How organizational culture perpetuates an unrealistic and idealized balancing act. The Journal of Higher Education, 87(4), 488–515.
Jolly, J. C. (2008). Raising the question # 9 is the student-athlete population unique? And why should we care? Communication Education, 57(1), 145–151.
Knapp, T. J., Rasmussen, C., & Barnhart, R. K. (2001). What college students say about intercollegiate athletics: A survey of attitudes and beliefs. College Student Journal, 35(1), 96–100.
Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2011). Social Psychology. Cengage Learning.
Kuhn, A. P., & Rubin, L. M. (2022). Are college athletes cheaters? What do faculty think? Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 15, 354–376.
Laskey, M. L., & Hetzel, C. J. (2011). Investigating factors related to retention of at-risk college students. Learning Assistance Review, 16(1), 31–43.
Lederman, D. (2019, February 1). NCAA punishes Missouri in blatant academic fraud case. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/02/01/ncaa-punishes-missouri-blatant-case-academic-fraud.
Lu, L., Heinze, K. L., & Soderstrom, S. (2018). Playing multiple positions: Student-athlete identity salience and conflict. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 11(2), 214–241.
Olson, E. (2019, March 16). Special admissions called ‘original sin’ of college sports. Associated Press. https://apnews.com/article/ap-top-news-oklahoma-basketball- college-sports-sports-a842ec11faa645b7adf5e75034e8bbf4
Pennington, C. R., Kaye, L. K., & McCann, J. J. (2018). Applying the multi-threat framework of stereotype threat in the context of digital gaming. PloS One, 13(2), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192137
Rankin, S., Merson, D., Garvey, J. C., Sorgen, C. H., Menon, I., Loya, K., & Oseguera, L. (2016). The influence of climate on the academic and athletic success of athletes: results from a multi-institutional national study. Journal of Higher Education, 87(5), 701–730.
Riciputi, S., & Erdal, K. (2017). The effect of stereotype threat on athletes math performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 32, 54–57.
Ridpath, B. D. (2010). Perceptions of NCAA division I athletes on motivations concerning the use of specialized academic support services in the era of academic progress rate. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 3, 253–271.
Shapiro, J. R., & Neuberg, S. L. (2007). From stereotype threat to stereotype threats: Implications of a multi-threat framework for causes, moderators, mediators, consequences, and interventions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11(2), 107–130.
Shropshire, K. L., & Williams, C. D. (2017). The miseducation of the student athlete: How to fix college sports. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Simons, H. D., Bosworth, C., Fujita, S., & Jensen, M. (2007). The athlete stigma in higher education. College Student Journal, 41(2), 251–274.
Simons, H. D., & Van Rheenen, D. (2000). Noncognitive predictors of student athletes’ academic performance. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 30(2), 167–181.
Smith, D. M., & Martiny, S. E. (2018). Stereotype threat in sport: Recommendations for applied practice and research. The Sport Psychologist, 32(4), 311–320.
Smith, J. M., & Willingham, M. (2019). Cheated: The UNC scandal, the education of athletes, and the future of big-time college sports. Potomac Books.
Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 797–811.
Stone, J., Harrison, C. K., & Mottley, J. (2012). “Don’t call me a student-athlete”: The effect of identity priming on stereotype threat for academically engaged African American college athletes. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34(2), 99–106.
Weight, E. A., Lewis, M., Harry, M. (2020). Self-efficacy belief and the influential coach: An examination of collegiate athletes. Journal of Athlete Development and Experience, 2(3), 198–216.
Wininger, S. R., & White, T. A. (2008). The dumb jock stereotype: To what extent do athletes feel the stereotype? Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 2(2), 227–237.
Wininger, S. R., & White, T. A. (2015). An examination of the dumb jock stereotype in collegiate student-athletes: A comparison of student versus student-athlete perceptions. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 9(2), 75–85.
Yopyk, D. J., & Prentice, D. A. (2005). Am I an athlete or a student? Identity salience and stereotype threat in student-athletes. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 27(4), 329–336.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Molly Harry, Amanda Hoffman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright is held by the authors.