Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Mary Bair

Second Advisor

Jay Cooper

Third Advisor

Bart Merkle

Academic Year



The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the relationship between athletic identity and career maturity of high profile male athletes at a Division II institution in the Midwest. The study was guided by Donald E. Super’s (1957) career development theory. Participants were high profile male student athletes, who were currently enrolled at the institution and played a revenue producing sport (narrowly defined as men’s football and basketball). Semi-structured interviews were conducted that prompted participants to describe their experiences as high profile student athletes and how those experiences contributed to their athletic identity and career maturity. Findings suggest that participants had a strong athletic identity, an identity that was influenced by early socialization and institutional factors. The findings also indicate that three out of the five participants demonstrated lower career maturity.