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Come and Knock on Our Door

For better or worse, living arrangements profoundly impact every student’s college experience.  Because compatibility with roommates is recognized as a key factor in academic success, college satisfaction, mental well-being and transfer decisions, the days of randomly assigning roommates are over at many colleges.  Students may choose or be assigned roommates based on similar geography, majors, interests or backgrounds.  Among student-athletes, additional factors may include schedules and desired proximity to athletic facilities.

A question that often arises is whether college student-athletes tend to live only with teammates and other athletes, and whether this negatively impacts connection to the broader campus community.  Using data from an NCAA study of student-athlete social environments, we learned:

  • Men (43% across all three NCAA divisions) are more likely to room exclusively with other student-athletes in any given year than are women (36%).
  • Division III student-athletes are much less likely to room exclusively with other student-athletes (33% among men, 21% among women), than seen in Divisions I or II (see blue bars in the chart).
  • Among both men (73%) and women (53%), ice hockey student-athletes are most likely to live only with teammates or other athletes. Those least likely to live only with athletes are participants in tennis, track, golf and women’s rowing.
  • Within Division I, men’s basketball (60%) and football (50%) student-athletes live exclusively with teammates or other student-athletes at rates similar to Division I men in general (53%), and lower than seen in a number of men’s and women’s sports.
  • First-year student-athletes are least likely to live only with athletes. Juniors are most likely.
  • Nearly 10% of Division II and III student-athletes live with parents or family.
  • Although the data indicate strong and meaningful social bonds between teammates, they also show (illustrated by the red bars in the chart) that student-athletes living together are somewhat less likely to be satisfied with their college friendships outside athletics.

Download a PDF copy of this Extra Point: Come and Knock on Our Door

Download: Supplementary tables on student-athlete living arrangements

(Published February 2015)

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