Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Scott A Myers

Committee Co-Chair

Dana Brooks

Committee Member

Alan K Goodboy

Committee Member

Matthew M Martin

Committee Member

Keith Weber


The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the socialization of Division I student-athletes prior to their arrival on campus via the framework of organizational socialization and assimilation stage models, and by specifically examining the content, characteristics, and functions of the memorable messages they receive during their anticipatory stage of socialization. Using first cycle, initial coding and second cycle, pattern coding, results indicated that the content of student-athletes' memorable messages include 10 topics that can be categorized as either addressing the characteristics or experiences of collegiate student-athletes. The results of frequency counts regarding the characteristics of memorable messages indicate that student-athletes mostly received messages in private, informal, and face-to-face conversations with their coaches and fathers that occurred during their high school. Using same coding procedures that were employed to examine memorable message content, the intentions behind memorable messages and the functions these messages serve during the anticipatory socialization stage and the assimilation stage were examine. Results indicated that sources communicated memorable messages with 13 intentions, which were categorized into five categories: to develop desired characteristics of collegiate student-athletes, to respond to student-athletes' circumstance, to share knowledge or feelings with student-athletes, to prepare student-athletes for their tasks and roles, and to influence student-athletes' participation in sport. During participants' anticipatory socialization stage, memorable messages served nine functions which were collapsed into three categories: guided student-athletes' decisions to participation in collegiate athletics, shaped student-athlete's expectations for future organizational experiences, and influence student-athletes' attitudes towards their team, sport, and self. During participants' assimilation stage, memorable messages served 11 functions which were grouped into three categories: forms student-athletes' relationships with collegiate coaches and teammates, shapes student-athletes' competence and productivity as team members, and influences student-athletes' attitudes towards their team, sport, and self. Collectively, the results of this dissertation demonstrate that memorable messages are important within student-athletes' organizational assimilation process, as these messages set their attitudes and expectations for their future organizational experiences with their teams and assist in the formation relationships, performance of tasks and roles, and development of attitudes after they join those teams.