The effects of athletic scholarships on motivation in sport
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The presence of rewards has been found to undermine intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1999). This conclusion is primarily based on research conducted in non-sporting environments. The purpose of this study was to examine perceived motivational changes resulting from the hypothetical manipulation of a reward (i.e., athletic scholarships). Differences in "present" motivation between scholarship and non-scholarship athletes were also assessed. Gender, life roles, and sport experience were also examined in relation to scholarship status. Basketball players from four Ontario (n = 70) and seven U.S. Division I universities (n = 46) were examined. All athletes completed a set of demographic questions, as well as questions from the Sport Motivation Scale (SMS; Pelletier, Fortier, Vallerand, Tuson, Briere, & Blais, 1995) which assessed their "present" motivation. Athletes also completed the SMS to evaluate their "perceived future" motivation based on a hypothetical manipulation of the scholarship status. For Ontario non-scholarship athletes, extrinsic regulation (an extrinsic motive) increased with the introduction of a scholarship and the intrinsic motive to experience stimulation decreased. For U.S. scholarship athletes, the intrinsic motive to accomplish things decreased when scholarships were removed. When the two scholarship status groups were compared across "present" levels of motivation, U.S. scholarship males reported significantly higher levels of introjected regulation compared to Ontario non-scholarship males. Ontario non-scholarship females reported significantly higher levels of introjected regulation compared to U.S. scholarship females. U.S. scholarship athletes reported significantly higher levels of external regulation compared to Ontario non-scholarship athletes. Results offer partial support for self-determination theory. Implications for future research are discussed.