Professors Edit Book: Students First, Athletes Second
February, 2010FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A new book, College Student-Athletes: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Implications, examines a little-studied subpopulation of college students – student-athletes – and begins a discussion about student-athletes from the perspective of “students first, athletes second.”
Edited by Daniel B. Kissinger and Michael T. Miller of the University of Arkansas, the book “represents an effort to better understand the contemporary college student-athlete through a critical examination of the varied constituencies both within and outside of the higher education environment that factor into the student-athlete equation, from recruitment to graduation.”
Outside of the athletic realm, the editors note, there is limited awareness of the resiliency required of student-athletes to navigate all the normal developmental events that every student experiences in college. On top of that, student-athletes face unique hurdles. They are constantly challenged to balance competing responsibilities, among them meeting athletic and academic obligations and maintaining emotional stability in the midst of athletic success and failure.
Kissinger and Miller assembled an eclectic group of scholars to explore the personal, academic and policy issues facing student-athletes. These scholars have first-hand experience working with student athletes, and the range of essays reflects the array of challenges facing student-athletes. Essays address aspects of transition to college, best curricular practices, psychological issues related to participating in athletic competition, and the issues affecting particular subgroups of student-athletes, such as women and international students.
The volume concludes with an examination of policy implications for college athletic enterprises, written by Miller and Daniel P. Nadler of Eastern Illinois University.
Despite the highly regulated environment of college athletics, Miller and Nadler point to a general lack of agreement on the fundamental principles that guide college sports. Challenges remain related to balancing the business elements of college athletics with the overall well being of student-athletes. As a result, Miller and Nadler predict that the college athletic enterprise will change significantly in the next 15 or 20 years.