Submitted by Dr. Francois Gravelle, Ph.D., Dr. George Karlis, Ph.D., and Ezechiel Rothschild-Checroune.
Dr. François Gravelle P.h.D., University of Ottawa, School of Human Kinetics, 125 University private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel.: 613-562-5800 (2442) Dr. Gravelle is also an adjunct professor at the “Département d’études en loisir, culture et tourisme” at the University of Québec in Trois-Rivières.
Dr. George Karlis, University of Ottawa, School of Human Kinetics, 125 University private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. E-mail: email@example.com. Tel.: 613-562-5800 (2452)
Ezechiel Rothschild-Checroune, M.A. PhD Student, University of Toronto, Department of Exercise Sciences, 55 Harbord St., Toronto ON, M5S 2W6. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The challenge of adjusting from secondary school to a new university setting and adapting to the dynamic systems of academic and athletic programs can be overwhelming. The supportive interaction between athletes and coaches may play a key role for academic success. These important considerations encouraged this study to examine the perceptions of varsity athletes toward the “football family” as a supportive academic environment. The intent of this study was to examine the influence of the “football family” – rookies, veterans, and coaches – on academic success. Phenomenological qualitative research was the approach employed to examine the perceptions of 12 first year university football student athletes at a Canadian university toward the “football family” as a supportive academic environment. The results indicated that the “football family” provided a supportive academic environment for the varsity football players. Specifically the results revealed that: (1) rookies share the most experiences with other football rookies at university, (2) rookies engaged academically with each other by going to class and working on academic projects together, (3) rookies vicariously learn from each others’ mistakes, (4) veterans helped rookies with both athletics and academics, (5) veterans’ experience provided unique learning opportunities than those gained from other rookies, (6) veterans acted as role models, (7) coaches were viewed as fatherly figures in the football family, (8) coaches have greater academic influence towards engagement than professors, and (9) coaches acted as life coaches pushing a family first, school second, football third mentality. It was concluded that the “football family” can provide a supportive academic environment for rookies adjusting to university.