First Advisor

Blubaugh, William L.

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Date Created



Student-athletes serve as ambassadors of their respective universities through both their academic and athletic experiences. These experiences distinguish student-athletes from their non-athlete counterparts, and has given rise to the current distinct student-athlete culture that exists within colleges and universities nationwide. This phenomenological study served as initial exploratory research investigating the nature of the culture of collegiate student-athletes in relationship to the culture of mathematics at a Division I public university in the western United States having an approximate enrollment of 13,000 students. The sample involved 10 student-athletes, four members of the mathematics faculty, four members of the athletic department staff, and two members of the Athletic Planning Committee. Data included semi-structured interviews, observations of four mathematics classes, and observations of the athletic department’s Academic Support Services. Data analysis was conducted in two phases, a thematic development of student-athlete and mathematics faculty interview data through constant comparison, followed by analytic induction using athletic department staff interview and observation data. Findings from the analysis suggested student-athletes’ engagement and perception of mathematics may be influenced by their mathematics education experience, support systems, authority figures, and career goals. Furthermore, the findings give evidence of disconnect between two members of the mathematics faculty’s perception of mathematics and the mathematics they presented through their teaching. This disconnect may also have an effect on student-athletes’ perception of mathematics. The discussion includes potential implications of the study in regards to student-athletes’ mathematics education, as well as to how mathematics faculty portrays mathematics in their instructional practice.

Abstract Format



Academic achievement; College athletes; Mathematics -- Study and teaching


257 pages

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