Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Sport and Recreation Administration

First Advisor

Kofan Lee

Second Advisor

Minjung Kim

Third Advisor

Amy McDowell


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



In 2017, 18.5% of female women’s basketball players transferred. That ranked the highest it has ever been, second on the list for women’s sports and higher than any male sport (NCAA.org, 2018). The decision to transfer is a multifaceted issue that involves many reasons from generational differences, social media, technology, among other factors and has been rapidly increasing. For the lack of empirical studies, the foundation of this research was built on studies that focused on student retention because the same reasons a student may be retained could be the very reason a student decides to transfer depending on the individual. Therefore, by observing the current generation of student-athletes that have transferred we can better understand the environmental factors, behaviors and motivations that lead to a life-changing decision. The research used observation and semi-structured interviews from six student-athletes and two coaches to create an understanding of the transfer epidemic. Due to a lack of literature on the student-athlete population, Tinto’s 1993 study on student retention and Psychological contract served as the theoretical framework used to create a deeper understanding of why student-athletes transfer. Consistent with past literature, student-athletes left their original institute because of relationships, coaching change/coaching style, lack of playing time, not the right fit, homesickness. This study is a single case with multiple units and the findings limit the ability to generalize results. It can be concluded that female student-athletes who struggle with relationships between coaches and teammates, environmental uncertainty and dissatisfaction with the sport they love to play are more inclined to transfer.



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