Home Ethics Contemporary Issues Book Review: The Collegiate Athlete at Risk

Book Review: The Collegiate Athlete at Risk

Book Review: The Collegiate Athlete at Risk
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By Dr. Cliff McCain |

Whether it is fall Saturdays filled with tailgating or basketball March Madness, the spectacle of college sports is a part of the American landscape. However, the fact that the participants are still college students and not professionals is sometimes forgotten.. The Collegiate Athlete At Risk examines the problems faced by student athletes and some of the ways that schools can assist them.

The book is divided into  seven chapters and begins by setting the stage with a discussion on the transition into college of young student-athletes. The opening chapter is followed by an examination of how different schools actually set up models of support services.  Every situation is different. This section examines different models that can be adapted for the type of institution you serve. A third chapter examines self-advocacy skills for student-athletes. Many students come into a program and do not know what  assistance is available to ask for.  In addition, many student-athletes “drag their feet” on signing up for accommodations. This chapter spells out ways to help the student help themselves.

How success is measured is an important theme discussed in chapter four. Success is a very broad term that each individual and school defines differently. A major focus of this measurement is standardized tests and how it impacts at-risk students. Academic motivation is the subject of chapter five where external and internal motivations of student-athletes are discussed. Chapter six discusses a relatively new idea called Response to Intervention which is an approach originally designed for K-12 students. It looks at the individual student needs and bases any assistance on those needs and the progress or response to that assistance. The book offers examples of  screening tools used and of the tiered system suggested. A final  chapter discusses engagement and offers concrete advice on the topic with excellent examples that any size school could use for the betterment of their student-athletes.

While The Collegiate Athlete at Risk is a strong composition in many ways two stand out above others. One of its major strengths is the use of a real-life examples, methods, and tools. The book does not just talk in generalities. It gets specific. Items such as sample screening tools in chapter one and the accommodation tip sheet in chapter three can be transferred to any school with some adjustment. A second strength is the variety of resources used. All situations are different and this text provides information from a variety of schools. One plan does not fit all schools and the book considers different sizes and regions when providing information and suggestions, making it a more usable tool for all professionals.

The Collegiate Athlete at Risk is a useful tool for anyone who works with collegiate student-athletes. As someone who has spent the better part of a decade in the field, I consider the information in the text is extremely valuable. I, like most in my position, are always looking for better ways to help our students. By compiling the information into one text, the book is a must read for everyone in the field.


Council III, M. R., Hodge, S. R., & Bennett III, R. A. (2018). The collegiate athlete at risk: Strategies for academic support and success. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Incorporated.

Cliff McCain works as a learning specialist in the athletic department at the University of Mississippi. In addition, he serves as an online instructor for Grand Canyon University, Holmes Community College and Southwest Tennessee Community College. McCain holds a doctor of education degree in higher education and master’s degrees in history and educational administration


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