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Abstract

Burnout is a concept that has been studied within the past 35+ years becoming widely known and recognized around 1980 in various disciplines ranging from the professional workforce, to athletic coaches, to youth sports. The first burnout study conducted within a sport setting focused on coaching burnout, and since then, new developments have occurred concentrating on athletes. Burnout is a term defined as a withdrawal from a particular sport noted by a reduced sense of accomplishment, devaluation or resentment of the sport, with proponents of physical and psychological exhaustion. Thus, the focus of this study is to examine athletic burnout in Division I collegiate athletics. The purpose is to identify the major factors that lead to burnout and the level of importance, or in other words, the factors that have the biggest impact in an athlete’s life. The literature identifies which factors lead and contribute to burnout in athletes including psychological and motivational factors, but fails to accurately point out what specific factors contribute the most to dropout, and more importantly, burnout in sport. Therefore, the study presented here intended to solve this issue by presenting what factors that contribute the most to burnout as identified by the data collected from the athletes. The research question presented is what are the major factors that lead to burnout and which of these factors have the biggest impact and level of importance as identified by the athletes? The participants in this study are all Division I student-athletes (males and females, graduates and undergraduates) at Kennesaw State University (KSU) present at the time that this study took place. The methodology will incorporate a Qualtrics online self-administered computer survey. The survey consists of twenty open-ended and closed-type of questions. The hypothesis is that the KSU student-athletes will identify that 50% of their burnout is attributed to the following four factors: Scholarship implications, coaches’ pressure, parents’ pressure, and the prospect of a lucrative professional career; with scholarship implications contributing to over 70% of the burnout. The hopes of the findings in regard to this study to be able to ascertain which factor(s) or sources induce the largest level of stress and burnout overall for Division I college athletes, and how to mitigate the impact of these factors in the future. Future studies should expand this study to all divisions in collegiate athletics and across multiple universities.