During the 2018-2019 academic year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reported 1,004,450 student-athletes across Division I, II, and III universities. Of these athletes, only a small percentage will go on to play at a professional level. The majority of these student-athletes will go through an out-of-sport transition that, without proper preparation, can result in a variety of psychosocial difficulties. However, there are opportunities for student-athletes, athletic departments, academic departments, and psychological counseling centers to target different factors that could increase the likelihood of experiencing a positive out-of-sport transition. The focus of this systematic review was to address two primary research questions: (1) What risk and protective factors make the out-of-sport transition more manageable or difficult for NCAA athletes? and (2) what intervention programs are universities implementing to help student-athletes prepare for this transition? To present the findings for these questions, a mixed-methods methodological approach was utilized. Results are presented through a narrative synthesis to ensure easy accessibility and comprehension of the material by athletes and university officials. This systematic review joins emerging literature that recognizes the uniqueness of the college years and experiences and acknowledges the need to do more to prepare and protect student-athletes

Library of Congress Subject Headings

College athletes; Retirement; Change (Psychology)--College athletes; National Collegiate Athletic Association

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Dennis Lowe