The International Student-Athlete Experience

A Research Study Into the Transition Process of ISAs, From Their Home Country Into Life as an NCAA Student-Athlete


  • Ioanna Charitonidi University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley
  • Anastasios Kaburakis Saint Louis University



International Student Athletes, NCAA


This article discusses a research study undertaken in order to better understand what the NCAA, institutions, administrators, and coaches can do in order to enhance the experiences of international student-athletes (ISAs). Quantitative and qualitative primary survey data was gathered from a sample of ISAs representing several countries and a wide range of sports. One of the key findings was that when provided with a platform from which to express their opinions, the respondents highlighted concerning issues such as discrimination, negligence, and a lack of support and/or guidance. Significant findings were also reached regarding steps to be taken in order to improve the transition process, and the specific challenges that are not currently being met by the NCAA, institutions, staff, or coaches. It is recommended that the NCAA carefully considers the results found in this study and undertakes further investigation to help stakeholders in the college sport experience better meet the needs of their ISAs.

Author Biographies

Ioanna Charitonidi, University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley

Ioanna Charitonidi is a summa cum laude graduate in psychology from the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, where she is also the captain of the NCAA Division I Western Athletic Conference varsity volleyball team. She will be pursuing graduate studies in psychology, and her research interests include sports psychology (mental toughness, overcoming injury, motivation, disorders, and coping mechanisms) as well as conflict resolution (workspace and family).

Anastasios Kaburakis, Saint Louis University

Anastasios Kaburakis, PhD, JD, is a professor in the Department of Management at Saint Louis University. His research interests include higher education law and policy; entertainment, gaming law, and policy; international sport law, governance, migration, and athletes’ transfers and restraints; and NCAA compliance.


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