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Medals and degrees: factors influencing dual career of elite student athletes at the University of Debrecen
Published September 1, 2015
93-98

Career planning and goal setting play a significant role in the life of elite athletes gaining critical relevance during the overlapping years with university studies. As athletic career contain a necessary end and cannot serve as a profession for life, all athletes shall go through modification period in their professional lives. The athletic ...career shall come to an end and elite athletes need to find another profession for which they need to prepare as well. The specialities of this undertake is that the peak or the progressive cycle of athletic career often times overlap in time with high school and university studies. This definitely challenges those young athletes who made the decision to continue their studies at the university level beside their athletic careers. The objective of this study is to explore the main factors influencing the simultaneous realisation of studies and elite sport careers during university years. Part of a complex research approach on dual career in sport this study is aimed to gain information about methods of athletes for managing their dual tasks, the perceived relationship of student athletes to their peers, teachers and coaches, and their position on the relevant policy regulations provided by the university environment. Following the development of research instruments, data collection was conducted by focus-group interviews at the University of Debrecen among student elite athletes receiving sport scholarships (N=15). Level of success in sport, sport type (individual and team) and gender distribution was taking into account. The results shall contribute to the development of a future research instrument in a form of a questionnaire to assess aspects of dual career of athletes in case of larger samples.

JEL code: Z20

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The connection between academic and athletic performance among elite university student athletes
Published September 30, 2015
19-26

Athletes in higher education are not only expected to produce high level performance but to find the balance between the preparation for post-athletic life and the requirements of the university. The objective of this study is to explore the connections between academic performance and level of sport. Also, to elaborate on the role of relevant ...policy regulations and institutional support that help elite athletes meet academic requirements. Data collection was conducted by means of online questionnaires involving athletes receiving sport scholarships at the University of Debrecen (N=159). The data from questionnaires were processed by using SPSS 18. Version software. For data analyse four groups were extracted based on level of sport performance and involvement: international elite, division I, division II, division III. The results indicate that the academic performance on the two international elite of sport did not differ from the average, and that these athletes did not experience any difficulties earning course credits at the university while being engaged in doing sport. In most cases, elite athletes did not apply for the various kind of support instruments, thus, they are able to balance athletic preparation and academic requirements without supportive modifications of university policies. The results also shed light on the fact that the academic performance does not only depend on the level of sport and the chosen major at the university, but it is also influenced by the time devoted to study and training, and the sport type (individual or team sport). There are differences observed between athletes participating in individual or team sport concerning the general average of grades, the effectiveness of earning credits, the number of weekly training, as well as the time devoted to training in preparatory and competitive periods. According to the results, the various amount of time devoted to study or sport does not necessarily result in academic performance decline. In addition, results support that athletes do keep academic studies rather important and they are aware that university years are considered to be a significant period in preparation for post-athletic life.

JEL code: Z20

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