year 9, Issue 2 (Summer 2021)                   Ann Appl Sport Sci 2021, 9(2): 0-0 | Back to browse issues page

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Nthangeni S, Toriola A, Paul Y, Naidoo V. Student-Athlete or Athlete-Student: Analysis of Benefits and Barriers of University Sport Participation in South Africa. Ann Appl Sport Sci 2021; 9 (2)
1- Directorate of Sport and Recreation, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
2- Department of Sport, Rehabilitation and Dental Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa ,
3- Department of Sport, Rehabilitation and Dental Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
4- Business School, Faculty of Management Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Abstract:   (5084 Views)
Background. Universities are perceived as the hub for sports talent identification and development. This perception puts much pressure on student-athletes who are expected to excel in sport despite their academic commitments. Based on this expectation, students who participate in sports could be regarded as athlete-student, rather than student-athlete.
Objectives. The study was carried out to investigate the perceptions of South African student-athletes about the benefits and challenges of participating in varsity sports.
Methods. From an estimated study population of 1892, a sample of 203 (138 male and 65 female) student-athletes participating in athletics, football, netball, and rugby from four universities in Gauteng province of South Africa completed a self-report questionnaire on the benefits and barriers of sport participation. The overall reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) coefficient of the questionnaire was 0.82, and the content validity of the instrument was established.
Results. The student-athletes’ perceived benefits of varsity sports participation included enjoyment, to make their families proud, to make friendships, to complete their studies on record time, to receive performance-related incentives and awards, to be seen on television, and to be scouted by professional teams. Significant challenges faced by the student-athletes included match fixtures clashing with academic timetables, parents/guardians pressurizing them to excel academically, inadequate sporting equipment, fear of injury, and poor academic support needed to catch up with schoolwork.
Conclusion. The current findings have practical implications for the promotion and management of varsity sports competitions in South African universities.
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  • To alleviate the barriers of participating in varsity competitions by South African student-athletes, student-athletes should be provided necessary support such as academic advisers and extra classes to help them excel in their studies.
  • Such interventions would help to increase the success rate of the student-athletes and promote their sporting careers.
  • As student-athletes are first and foremost students, they should not be regarded as athlete-students.
  • Rather, they should be provided all the needed support which would empower them to succeed in their chosen fields.

Type of Study: Original Article | Subject: Sport Management and its related branches
Received: 2020/07/29 | Accepted: 2020/09/28

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