Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Richard L. Roberts


Men's athletics is often viewed as an environment where hegemonic masculinity is perpetuated, though some believe this environment provides a safe space for men to break away from hegemonic masculinity. This study was designed to gain an understanding of how male student-athletes experience masculinity and how the context of athletics influences meaning-making about masculinity. Using a phenomenological approach, the researcher interviewed five male student-athletes and observed the practice sessions of two different teams. The participants were student-athletes of junior or senior status from the following sports: tennis, soccer, swimming, baseball, and basketball. Results showed that male student-athletes found it challenging to think about and discuss masculinity. Participants discussed the value they placed on their relationships with their teammates and coaches, and participants also discussed rejecting certain aspects of traditional masculinity while accepting other aspects.