4 General Types of Students

There are four general types of students based on the relative degree of commitment to each role:


The scholar-athlete,

The pure athlete,

The pure scholar, and

The non-scholar/non-athlete.


The athletic and academic roles of a student-athlete may be compatible, and in many cases they are, but it is important to know which type of academic and athletic role identities you possess.


The scholar-athlete demonstrates a high degree of commitment to both the athletic and academic role. In this case, the two domains are not in conflict. Rather than experiencing role strain, the scholar-athlete experiences an expansion of energy to meet the demands of both roles.


The pure athlete is almost wholly committed to the athletic role with almost no commitment to academics. Here, there may be role strain, where the commitment  to  athletics leaves little or no energy for academics. These pure athletes (often participants in the high-profile, revenue-producing sports) run the risk of failing academically or merely staying academically eligible to play their sport. Many of  these student-athletes with a disproportionately high representation of minority and lower-income students produce annual revenues for their college teams well in excess of their athletic grant-in-aid. When these same student-athletes do not graduate, universities and their athletic departments are then accused of social and economic exploitation.


The pure scholar represents the converse of the pure athlete, where the commitment to the academic role leaves no time or energy for athletics.


Finally, the non-scholar/non-athlete is committed to neither role. This type of student may be committed to other extracurricular activities such as music, computers, etc.



About the Author

Russ Hafferkamp is the Founder and CEO of the Athlete Success Network and Managing Director and Co-Founder of Career Athletes, LLC (www.careerathletes.com). Russ is recognized as a leader and coach in the career development of collegiate and elite athletes and is the author of “CareerBall: The Sport Athletes Play When They’re Through Playing Sports” and "CareerBall: The Athlete Career Guide and Handbook".

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