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From Idealism to Pragmatic Detachment: The Academic Performance of College Athletes
Peter Adler and Patricia A. Adler
Sociology of Education
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 241-250
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112226
Page Count: 10
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This study examines the relationship between athletic participation and academic performance among athletes involved in big-time college sports. Drawing on four years of participant observation of a major college basketball program, we trace athletes' involvement in academics throughout their college careers. We show that, contrary to popular belief, most athletes enter college with optimistic and idealistic goals and attitudes about their impending academic careers. However, their athletic, social, and classroom experiences lead them to become progressively detached from academics. As a result, they make pragmatic adjustments, abandoning their earlier aspirations and expectations and gradually resigning themselves to inferior academic performance. We conclude that the structure of universities with big-time athletic programs and the athletes' patterned experiences within these universities undermine their attainment of the professed goals of the educational system. We discuss several policy implications of this research.
Sociology of Education © 1985 American Sociological Association