Motivational Differences for Participation Amongst Championship and Non-Championship Caliber NCAA Division III Football Teams

Mark Blegen, St. Catherine University
Matthew Stenson, College of Saint Benedict
Dani M. Micek, St. Catherine University
Tracey D. Matthews, Springfield College - Springfield, MA


Reasons for participation in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III athletics vary greatly. The purpose of this study was to investigate if differences in motivational climate existed between championship and non-championship-level NCAA Division III football teams, and differences in player status (starter vs. nonstarter). Players (N = 224) from 3 NCAA Division III football programs (1 championship level and 2 non-championship level) were recruited as participants. All players completed the Sport Motivation Scale, and the results were analyzed using a 2 × 2 multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to examine differences among the motivation variables for starter vs. nonstarter and championship vs. non-championship teams. A 1-way MANOVA was used to examine differences across year in school. Dependent variables included internal motivation to experience stimulation, internal motivation for accomplishment, internal motivation for knowledge, external motivation for identification regulation, external motivation for introjection regulation, external motivation for external regulation, and amotivation. The interaction between starter status and team was not significant (Λ = 0.996, p > 0.40). Additionally, there were no significant differences in the mean vector scores for starter vs. nonstarter (Λ = 0.965, p = 0.378). For team type, however, differences did exist across dependent variables (Λ = 0.898, p = 0.002). For all variables except amotivation, the championship-level team had significantly higher scores than the non-championship-level teams. Members of NCAA Division III championship-level football teams have higher motivation to participate in their sport compared with members of non-championship teams. These results could have an impact on player morale, coaching strategies, and future success in athletic-related activities.