A Study of Differences in Sport Motivation in NCAA Division III Track and Field Athletes Examining Gender, Race, and Academic Classification
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences in sport motivation in track and field athletes. Understanding what motivates athletes is important as it indicates why an athlete engages in a sport and what they are hoping to gain by competing. The motivation types analyzed were intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation. This thesis used the Sport Motivation Scale (SMS) survey to find motivation scores of 53 track and field athletes who were enrolled at a Midwestern NCAA Division III college. Data that was gathered in this study was analyzed and evaluated using a two-sample t-test assuming equal variances. The athletes’ gender, race, and academic classification were investigated to determine if there was a difference in sport motivation. This study found a significant difference in the overall group of track and field athletes between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. There were also significant differences in intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in female athletes; white athletes; and underclassmen athletes. It is important to understand what motivates athletes to be on sports teams so the athletes can stay engaged in sports longer and continue to develop relationships and learn valuable skills needed in the workforce and later in life.