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“Will my degree help me get a good job?

What factors are driving your recruit’s decisions?



STUDY 2022

Degree Leads to a Good Job

For the third year in a row, of the 30 most important general college choice determinants for student-athletes, “getting a degree that will lead them to a good job” tops the list. Mindful that their sports careers may not last forever, getting a quality education that will take them places is important. Over six years of conducting the College Choice Study, “Degree Leads to a Good Job” has ranked 1st every year except one (2018).

High Income After Graduation

The recent threat of inflation and possible recession is likely the major factor in shifting student-athletes’ priority of earning a high income after graduation up to 3rd (previously 6th). They want the assurance of knowing they can afford the significant rise in rent and groceries once they are away from campus amenities.

Will My Head Coach Be Here for All of My 4 Years?

Among the 15 most important athletic specific determinants, it is no surprise that “Head Coach” and “Opportunity to Play” tie for the first spot as college athletics continues to experience the chaotic cycle of coaching changes. Student-athletes look for assurance that the coach who believed they were good enough to play for the university remains the main decision maker for the team.

2022 Top Findings

#1 determinant is “Degree Leads to a Good Job” for 3rd year in a row

General Determinants

“Having Major of Interest” remains 2nd highest priority (4 out of 5 student-athletes are business or healthcare majors)

“Earning High Income After Graduation” moves up to 3rd most important (previously 6th)

Athletic Determinants

“Head Coach” & “Opportunity to Play” tie as lead influencers for students

“Academic Support” for student-athletes moves up to #3 (previously #5)

Athletes Want Support
On AND Off the Field

Academic support regains the 3rd spot(ranked 5th in 2021) on the priority list of student-athletes who recognized the value of tutors, study spaces, and other academic resources in helping balance their busy schedules.


For the first time since the survey began, football players ranked position coaches as more important to the decision making process than the head coach. This is a significant change since position coach has averaged as the 4th most important variable over the six years we have been conducting the study. This is a trend we should keep a close eye on in upcoming years as it has significant implications on the recruiting process.

Breaking it Down Further…

Men’s Basketball

“Quality of Social Life” ranks top priority among general determinants for the first time in survey history. Emerging from post-pandemic society, male college basketball players prioritize their ability to create relationships and make memories over majors of interest, surroundings, or strength of sports teams. To optimize this shift, many universities have implemented social spaces in which athletes can interact with teammates and peers off the court.

Female Athletes

“Majors of Interest” ties “Degree Leads to a Good Job” as top of the general determinants priority list for female student athletes. This shift knocks “Campus Safety” back to the 3rd spot on the list. The head coach follows the trend of being top priority for female student athletes as constant concern of the coaching carousel plagues all of college athletics.

Also for the first time ever, the head coach ranks 1st in a male collegiate basketball player’s priority when deciding on which program to go to.

NIL Impact NIL support/ability to secure deals rank towards the bottom of priority as student athletes are uneducated in opportunities and see them as only available to the top 1%

. . .

About This Year’s Study:

Dr. Darin White, the executive director of the Samford University Center for Sports Analytics and Chair of the Entrepreneurship, Management & Marketing Department, has conducted the College Choice Study and Student-Athlete College Choice Study annually since 2016. During the summer of 2022, an electronic survey was developed and sent via email to NCAA Division I, II and II student athletes in all parts of the United States. The survey generated 612 responses. The average age of the sample was 18 years, 08 months indicating that student-athletes are significantly younger as entering freshman for 2022 as compared to 2021. 58.6% of the sample was male and over 99% of student-athletes were single.

Still wanting more?

Let us know how to get in touch and we’ll send you a copy of the 2022 College Choice Study to share with your team.