Graduation Date

Fall 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Mary Virnoche

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Elizabeth Rienzi

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Student athletes hold a unique identity at colleges and universities all across the nation. They are tasked with the high demands and time constraints of being both a college level student and athlete. While there have been growing conversations about student athletes at Division I institutions, those pertaining to Division II student athletes remain minimal.

While student athletes have a great deal in common, they all come from different backgrounds that have contributed to who they are today. When arriving to college, these unique individuals are introduced to institutional power structures that constrain and control their identities and individuality. These larger power structures have sculpted definitions of what it means to be a “good” student athlete. Meanwhile, society also has defined what a student athlete is. These preconceived notions become even more complicated when using an intersectional approach that takes into consideration the additional identities student athletes hold such as race, class, gender and more. As a result, student athletes are left with the task of living up to the “good” student athlete expectation while also managing a stigmatized student athlete identity. In this study, I used nonprobability and snowball sampling methods to conduct 14 interviews that revealed the ways in which student athletes managed these complex identities. Participants thoroughly talked about the student athlete subculture, hyper surveillance technologies, pressures to sacrifice pieces of their identity and managing a stigmatized identity. Student athletes strive to satisfy the demands of the higher power structures while their personal needs are disregarded.

Citation Style