Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Brian Greenwood

Advisor Department

Agricultural Education and Communication

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences



Pro or Bust: Career Aspirations of Division I and Community College Basketball Players

Alexander Shahriar Engel

The purpose of this study was to determine the difference, if any, between Division I and community college basketball players career aspirations. Interviews were held with eleven athletes from the Cal Poly Men’s Basketball team, and ten athletes from the Cuesta College Men’s Basketball team. The interviews were used to determine the impact of different variables on the athletes career aspirations, and to explore themes in the data. To look for themes, both axial and open coding was used. Division I athletes were more likely to aspire to be professional basketball players than the athletes at the community college level. However, community college athletes aspired toward higher education levels overall. Many of the variables such as low parental involvement and low socioeconomic status that typically have a negative impact on career aspirations did not seem to affect these athletes long term academic and professional aspirations. Being involved in athletics may shield or reduce the negative effects of the variables on the athletes; however, further study is needed. These findings can help coaches, athletic departments, and individuals working with youth.

Keywords: Career aspirations, college athletes, men’s basketball, Division I, community college