Term of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Daniel R. Czech

Committee Member 1

Brandonn S. Harris

Committee Member 2

Samuel Todd

Committee Member 3

Samuel Todd


It is presumed that the involvement in sports helps to deter delinquency, yet athletes who seemingly have it all engage in destructive delinquent lifestyles (Savini, 2008). Many theorists contend that the "jock identity" or "sport hubris" is largely responsible, as people think they will be treated more favorably if they are athletes (Miller et al., 2006). This perception raises the question of whether athletes know and understand the constructs of delinquency. Thus the purpose of this study was to examine male athletes' and non-athletes' perceptions of the minor and major substrates of delinquency. A semi-structured interview was used to gather the delinquency perceptions of 16 southeastern collegiate student athletes and non-athletes. Six themes were identified from the data analysis: (1) Fighting and Illegal Activity, (2) Consequences, (3) Personal Relationships, (4) Athletes Have More To Lose, (5) Invincibility, and (6) Negative Impact of the Media. Topics on how to better understand why certain groups engage in delinquent behavior, and the possible treatments that can be implemented to help deter this behavior were discussed from an existential phenomenological perspective.