Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Shapiro

Second Advisor

Dr. Eddie Comeaux


College’s revenue sports, football and men’s basketball, fuel the billion dollar intercollegiate athletics industry. Historically, those same two sports have maintained the lowest grade point average among all student-athletes. This inverse relationship begs the question, “what academic sacrifices are being made at the expense of college’s revenue sports?”

Student engagement into educationally purposeful activities has been widely acknowledged as having influence on desirable college outcomes. The full extent of student engagement’s effect has yet to be determined. The purpose of this study was to conduct exploratory, qualitative research into the role of student engagement in educationally purposeful activities on the career transition of football student-athletes in the Southeastern Conference by answering the following research questions: how do SEC football players perceive their educationally purposeful engagement activities during college? To what extent do their perceptions of purposeful engagement activities influence career transitions?

Results of this qualitative research uncovered the following four major themes: (a) Limited Purposeful Engagement Activities; (b) Desire for Internship Opportunities; (c) Undefined Career Path; and (d) Career Transition Regret. Results showed that former SEC football players in this study did not have enough experience with educationally purposeful engagement activities during college to make a determination. Additionally, student-athlete participants did not have the guidance or time required to participate in the only activity they perceived to be beneficial such as internships. Last, the former SEC football players did not perceive a positive relationship between their purposeful engagement activities and career transition.

Creating a distinct set of student engagement criteria for student-athletes should be considered based on the study’s findings. Moreover, all stakeholders in student-athletes should collaborate effectively and share responsibility for their outcome.