• Experiences That Impact the Recruitment and Retention of International (Non-Native Speaker of English) Student-Athletes in NCAA Division I Institutions

      Kontaxakis, Evangelos
      International student-athletes as a group are a unique population in any institution because they bring together three characteristics that are challenging through the educational process. Among the challenges for someone who chooses to study in a different country include facing issues such as the language barrier as well as problems in adjusting to the new culture. Moreover, balancing the role as a student and as an athlete is another challenge that international student-athletes face. Earlier research leaves gaps as it is related to international (non-native speaker of English) student-athletes and their experiences, which impact their decision to study in the United States and their adjustment in the new environment. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences that impact the recruitment and retention of international (non-native speaker of English) student-athletes in NCAA Division I institutions. More specifically, the student-athlete experiences in high school were examined which influenced their decision to move to the U.S. and the challenges they faced in the new environment. The goal of this study was to create a model that could be helpful for institutions and international student-athletes to be more prepared before making the decision to study as student-athletes in the United States. This study used a qualitative research design involving narrative, phenomenological, and grounded theory approaches. First, the life stories of the participants were examined, then the essence of these experiences was developed, and finally common themes that built a theory were established.The findings of this study suggest that the experiences that impact decision-making are (a) the U.S. educational system combines education and sport, (b) the U.S. system supports student-athletes and provides financial security through the scholarship system, and (c) international student-athletes want to live a new experience in life. Moreover, this study suggests that the experiences that impact retention are (a) the difficulties in English language, (b) the adjustment in the cultural differences, (c) homesickness, and (d) the time management involving the balance between the two roles (being a student and athlete).