Institutions of higher learning have contributed to their communities for many years. Universities were founded on the strong principles of service and have continued to embrace that commitment. Athletics Departments at the Division I level are required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to develop community service programs for student-athletes to give back to the community while in college.
The purpose of this study was to determine (1) what motivates student-athletes to participate in community service in college, (2) what values are associated with student-athletes, and (3) what is the leadership role of the Athletics Department in the student-athletes' willingness to participate in community service.
Six motivation factors were identified during the analysis of the data: motivation by asking, motivation by social responsibility, motivation by being required, motivation to volunteer with intrinsic reward, motivation for career experience, and motivation through participation in a group/organization. These motivation factors were used as dependent variables and statistically significant relationships occurred when comparing socio-economic status, number of years of church service, and participation in co-curricular service.
Furthermore, three value factors were identified: value of helping others, value of personal status, and values of family and friends. The value factors were used as independent variables and statistically significant relations occurred when comparing gender, father and mother volunteering, socio-economic status, number of years of church service, mandated service prior to college, service participation in college, extra-curricular service in college, co-curricular service in college and Dean mandated service in college.
In addition, the role of the Athletics Departments was compared to other community service opportunities, for example, service-learning, co-curricular service, extra-curricular service, and mandated service. The Chalk Community Service Model (2007) was also used to illustrate various types of community service and to define such service clearly.
Student-athletes and staff members were interviewed and several themes were identified such as the motivation to help others, the student-athletes' value of personal status, the Athletics Department's influence on their community service participation, mandatory community service, being a role model, and thanking the community were all statements made during interviews.