Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

This paper will focus on challenges a student-athletes faces concerning the pressure to succeed academically at the college-level.  In the case of Jason, certain challenges are illuminated to demonstrate his struggles as he attempts to reach his goals.  The challenges include both the pressures of succeeding in the classroom and on the football field. In particular, Jason has expressed a concern with critical factors such as being able to excel in academic performance and the constraints on him concerning time management.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay


The Challenges of a Student-Athlete

This case describes a student-athlete in football at a southern university. There is intent to illustrate the aspects of being a student-athlete along with the elements of the individual.  Jason is a twenty year old white male. He comes from a rural community in a southern state.  He is an only child who loves playing football. He struggles to maintain a GPA of 2.5. Jason is a high-risk student athlete who is in danger of losing his eligibility due to poor academic performance. Various areas of Jason’s life are included, which impact his college experience. These areas include: family support, academics, and campus community/socialization.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

This case study is basic research involving open-ended interviews with Jason and an interview with his coach. Prior to Jason’s initial interview an assessment of the available data was reviewed concerning the case. The first session with Jason was two hours long covering the various topics including the role of his parents, expectation of his coaches, academic challenges and expectations from him concerning time availability and other various perceived constraints.  In this meeting, Jason revealed that he was having problems with the challenging courses and time management. Several days after meeting with Jason a meeting with Jason’s coach took place. Jason’s coach shared information concerning his expectations of Jason as it pertained to his role with the football team. The coach had very high expectations of Jason and his contribution to the football team. He revealed that pressure on the student-athlete can be overwhelming sometimes. After the meeting with Jason’s coach, a follow-up meeting took place with Jason discussing his concerns and expectations, along with an evaluation with possible solutions addressing the situation.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

Literature reveals that it has become apparent that some students who participate in college sports are unprepared for some of the demands and expectations of theirs involvement in their sport. Student-athletes tend to struggle more than non-student athletes when it comes to academics. There is empirical evidence which demonstrates that college athletes do not do as well academically as other or regular students. Graduation r ates football players 52% as the graduation rate for non-athletes is 59% (Rishe, 2003).Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

Constraints Surrounding a Case Study of a High-Risk Athlete

A case study is a great way to share vital information concerning a concern or need to illustrate for individuals in society. That is not to say that case studies do have their limitations. The reason being is that case studies may allow for certain bias and personal opinions. It is important to note that each case study deals with a particular situation or concern and each case is different (Cronin, 2014).

The data collected plays a key role in a case study. Therefore, the assessment of the data lies with the researcher. This should be taken into account by the reader. Although it is subjective is not exclusively disadvantageous. It’s this subjectivity that makes the case study somewhat vibrant, rich with detail and full of useful data (Marrelli, 2007). Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

Even though there is empirical evidence that student –athletes have a lower graduation rate than regular students, the data does not explain whether the act of participating  in athletics hurts or helps a student’s academic performance. There are too many compli cating factors. For instance, athletes may major in harder or easier curricula than the average student. They may come into the university with lower or higher than average SAT scores. Students with a natural advantage in academics may steer away from athletics and vice-versa. However, even this does  not answer the question whether athletics is a positive or negative force at the margin in the educational process in college (Maarrelli, 2007).

Other constraints of the case study are in correlation with the data collection.  Through an interview with Jason, certain information may be withheld, such as: the role and influence of his parents. Sometimes information concerning the influence of a parent may not be forthcoming, especially if the parent is a negative influence.  The student’s backgrounds vary depending on family  background. A good, healthy family background can be a supportive and positive influence. On the other hand, a weak family support system can be detrimental to the academic success of the student athlete.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

Critical Factors in the Case of High-Risk Student Athlete

Critical factors in this case are associated with academic achievement, time constraints and perceived pressure from expectations. Jason shared in his interview that he struggles with the academic challenges of the coursework at the undergraduate level. It has been suggested that there is not enough support for athletes who struggle academically. According to Ranking College Football Programs Based upon Athletic Performance and Academic Success (2014), individuals associated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) strongly suggest that this governing body should increase its emphasis on the academic well-being of its student-athletes. Critics of the NCAA argue that since they generate so much money that they should provide more support for its student-athletes in order to help them maintain their eligibility.  It is important to realize that most of the responsibility for the athlete’s success in the classroom is his or her personal responsibility. The student has to look at himself in the mirror and honestly access their own effort.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

One of the most important factors in that differentiate student-athletes and non-student athletes would be time availability. According to Comeaux & Harrison (2011), student-athletes have barriers and struggles that they have to overcome to be academically successful and be able to continue playing their sport. The authors state that student-athletes spend roughly 40 hours a week doing sport-related activities. Students who do not participate in sports do not have to spend nearly as much time away from academic-related activities. Unlike student-athletes, they have the opportunity to spend more of their time focusing on homework and studying.

According to Gayles & Hu (2011), athletics has affected the student-athletes’ academics by requiring a great deal of time from them. The authors suggest that some students become too dedicated to their sport and don’t spend enough time with academics, therefore not doing well in school. Although, some student-athletes do well in academics since it is a requirement for them to be passing a certain amount of classes to be eligible to play their sport. Gayles and Hu (2011) discuss the fact that student-athletes need to have an effective system to balance both athletics and academics; otherwise, one will become more of a priority than the other. This makes their lives much more difficult than a student who does not participate in athletics because they don’t have to worry about balancing two very important matters.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

As a member of a football team, much time is required. Football players are constantly around each other which allows for them to feel like a primary group which in turn occupies much of their time. They spend a lot of time together which may not allow for adequate balance in other parts of their life. Another contributing factor that takes much of their time is appearances and even volunteering at functions associated with the team (Miller & Kerr, 2002). The athlete often feels overwhelmed and obligated to not let any coaches or teammates down. This makes it stressful as the player realizes that the academic preparation may be lacking in their lives .

Description of the Theoretical Framework of the Case

This case utilizes Grounded theory method. This emphasis of this method is collecting data and integrating the information into broader areas or categories. The purpose of this function is to seek out the correlation between these categories – thus being able to understand the issues and defining a treatment plan. The research that is being presented allows for generalizations that can later be applied to other situations. This allows for a statistical generalization from samples to populations to be explored as a basis for a grounded theory (Mejia, 2010).Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

The  pressure for success by a student athlete is not lost on the fact that college athletics is big business (Whirly, 2003). While the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) academic-progress requirements has gotten tougher it has been more challenging for a student-athlete to stay eligible (Wolverton, 2008).

As the interview with Jason’s coach revealed his expectation of Jason to impact the team’s success with his athletic ability. According to Watt & Moore (2001), for athletes it becomes problematic to find an efficient way to balance academics, athletics and the expectations of the coach. Coaches tend to put a large amount of pressure on student-athletes to “win at all costs.”  With this pressure, student-athletes become less focused on academics and more focused on living up to their coach’s expectations (Watt & Moore, 2001). A student-athlete that has the burden of worrying about expectations will not be able to focus on academics. Not only will they not be able to focus, but they may also spend more time at the gym or practicing, which will also take time away from academics.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

Initial Needs Assessment

A needs assessment is a way to find gaps among current and the desired condition of a situation. Case studies are important to move along the development and implementation of performance interventions (Marrelli, 2007). In this particular case, further exploration and analysis should take place. In this paper, the two major issues that were addressed in the high-risk student athlete was the ability to complete post-secondary academic courses with success despite a need for possible remedial courses and the other critical factor was the variable of time management.

There are several other factors that may contribute to the successful student athlete in the college environment. These areas may include issues associated with family background, socioeconomic conditions, the student’s lifestyle, and motivation. Even though critical factors were addressed, these factors in a combination with other factors may contribute to the reasons for student-athletes falling short of their goals.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

In conclusion, student-athletes face many obstacles, the key is to identify and understand as to why these obstacles are critical to the individual’s achievement.  This case illuminates critical factors that need to be addressed for order for some student-athletes to succeed. This is a fascinating area of sports that warrants further exploration .






Comeaux, E. & Harrison, K. (2011). A conceptual model of academic success for student-athletes. Educational Researcher, (40)5, 235-245.

Cronin, C. (2014). Using case study research as a rigorous form of inquiry. Nurse Researcher, 21(5), 19-27.

Gayles, J. & Hu, S. (2009). The influence of student engagement and sport participation on college outcomes among division I student athletes. The Journal of Higher Education, (80)3, 315-333.

Marrelli, A. F. (2007). Collecting data through case studies. Performance Improvement, 46(7), 39-44.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay

Mejia, A. (2010). The General in the Particular. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 44(1), 93-107.

Miller, P. S., & Kerr, G. (2002). The athletic, academic and social experiences of intercollegiate student-athletes. Journal of Sport Behavior, 25(4), 346-368.

Ranking College Football Programs Based Upon Athletic Performance and Academic Success. (2014). Sport Journal, 1.

Rishe, P. (2003). A reexamination of how athletic success impacts graduation rates: Comparing student-athletes to all other undergraduates. American Journal of Economics & Sociology, 62(2), 407-427.

Watt, S. & Moore, J. (2001). Who are student athletes? New Directions for Student Services, (93), 7-18.

Wolverton, B. (2008). Spending plenty so athletes can make the grade. Chronicle of Higher Education, 55(2), A1.

Whirty, R. (2003). A Jock and a hard place. Indianapolis Monthly, 27(4), 50-58.Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay


Write an essay (1,750-2,000 words) in which you synthesize sources to describe a case in your preferred area of performance psychology. Your research-based description should include the following:

  1. The central issue/problem of the case.
  2. The constraints surrounding the issue/problem.
  3. The critical factors in the case.
  4. The theoretical framework that should be used to conceptualize the case. The framework should consider emotion, cognition, and behavior in performance settings. An initial needs assessment.



There are some contrary studies out there as well.  Thanks for the nice client history.

Good point


Good point on correlation studies.

Yes, this is why it is important to develop a relationship with the client.

These can all be influential factors in academic performance.

Yes, jumping a head a bit you might want to think about various assessments used with athletes both mental and academic. Case Study Analysis: Student-Athlete Essay