Student Perceptions of the Importance of Athletic Teams in Creating Soft Skills: The Case of Rodeo

Ben Walker, Joey Mehlhorn, Sandy Mehlhorn, Rachna Tewari, Philip Smartt


Being a collegiate student athlete is known to be more difficult and hindering on grade point averages then being the typical full-time student. However, it is also thought that being a part of a team can help improve communication skills and thus, assist in receiving a job or simply be more organized in life’s day to day activities. This study surveyed alumni and current members of the University of Tennessee at Martin Rodeo Team on their views of how being a student athlete affected their college experience. In this survey, 77 participants were asked questions about the social, academic, and athletic views on being a student athlete at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Another extension to this survey is to show the positive and/or negative effects athletic teams bring a university. This survey questioned athletes on why they chose the university and if they if they perceived being part of the team helped them succeed in future careers. The study gave insight on how student athletes experience college and how universities can help improve the student athlete experience. The study revealed that rodeo had a positive impact on student time management skills and ability to work with others. Results show that a majority of survey participants had a positive and valuable experience being a student athlete at the University of Tennessee at Martin. 

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