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Playing it Forward: Commitment to Service Among Student-Athletes

Being an NCAA student-athlete is demanding in terms of both time and energy. So, you might excuse them for focusing solely on sport and school during college. But, according to data from several NCAA surveys, it does not play out that way. Giving back to the community is important to many NCAA student-athletes, whether involvement occurs on their own or within the team setting. From these studies*, we have learned that:

  • 87% of women and 83% of men volunteer on an annual basis; 44% volunteer at least monthly. Black student-athletes and student-athletes from low-income families are most likely to report engaging in service regularly. 
  • Most student-athletes believe they have a responsibility to participate in volunteer or service activities within their local community. This sense of responsibility was highest among women, in Division I, and in high-profile men’s sports.
  • Athletic departments and coaches play a role in service engagement. 50% of student-athletes report that they are required to take part in community service as part of their athletics participation. Research indicates this athletic service requirement enhances the likelihood that student-athletes will participate in service on a regular basis. Nearly two-thirds of those required to serve agree that volunteering with their team is a valuable experience.
  • College service is valued by former student-athletes. A majority of former student-athletes (particularly women and men’s basketball / football players) indicate that their college community service and volunteer work has been influential in preparing them for life after college. 

* Source: NCAA GOALS, SCORE and Social Environments studies.

Download a PDF copy of this Extra Point: Civic engagement among student-athletes

(Published December 2014)

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