Erika LeFlore


According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (2014), there are currently 460,000 student-athletes at US colleges and universities. At a young age, many males interested in basketball aspire to be professional athletes. However, very few understand that professional basketball players have short careers and that they will soon need educational credentials and life skills beyond their professional playing. Moreover, the alarming statistics show that a clear majority do not have college degrees, although many have been enrolled in college at some point prior to their basketball career. Therefore, it is critical to educate young athletes on how important it is to have an alternative option for their future. The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of male basketball athletes attending a Division I institution in the Southeast toward the completion of a college degree versus pursuing professional athletics. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to explore the role of students' academic performance, motivation, and parental involvement on their attitudes toward professional preparation versus pursuing their undergraduate degree. These findings illustrate that while many Division I athletes have dreams of becoming professional athletes, they collectively agree that a college degree is imperative for pursuing alternative goals upon completing their tenure as a college athlete. The study concludes with the discussion of implication for higher education research and practice.