Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Goryunova

Second Advisor

Megan Santiago


Student Scholarship, Graduate Thesis, Leadership Studies, Athletics, Leadership Development, Non-athletes, Leadership skills, Transferability, Experience, College, Leadership


This qualitative research aims to find the relationship between athletics and leadership development by examining athletes' and nonathletes' students, life, leadership experiences, and learned behaviors. The research utilized a purposive sampling to recruit a diverse group of participants from the university that classify as either student-athletes or non-sport-playing students. The collection of data from participants has been conducted using semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis has been used to identify patterns and themes in the interview data, allowing for a meaningful understanding and interpretation based on aspects of athletes' and non-athletes' experiences. This study aims to contribute to the existing literature on leadership in the realm of athletics by shedding light on the influence of sports experiences on leadership. Additionally, the research also seeks to explore the transferability of leadership skills to post-collegiate settings. Understanding the impact of athletics can have potential impacts for a person generally and professionally. Furthermore, coaches, academic institutions, and individuals seeking personal and professional growth could benefit from further knowledge of athletics and leadership relationship.