Participation Constraints of University Student-athletes in Selected Sports in Kenya
Participation in sports plays an important role in university students’ lives, such as the development of a healthy lifestyle and the promotion of education. However, there is low participation in sports in universities which may be due to various constraints experienced or perceived by university students. The purpose of this study was to examine constraints hindering university student-athletes participation in sports activities. The study used a cross-sectional survey design and questionnaires to collect data. Respondents were male (n=198) and female (n=191) student-athletes from public and private universities in Kenya, participating in six selected sports. T-tests and One-way analysis of variance were used to test hypotheses at a 0.05 level of significance. The findings indicated that participation in sports was most affected by structural constraints and least affected by social-cultural constraints. There were significant differences between male and female student-athletes in regard to structural constraints, (t = -2.21, p=0.03) and interpersonal constraints t = 1.14, p = 0.02). There was a significant difference of private and public institutions with regard to structural (t = .39, p=0.01) and intrapersonal constraints (t = 0.69, p=0.03). Female students significantly experienced more constraints than male student-athletes. Student-athletes from public universities experienced more constraints than those from private universities. Universities should encourage students to use sports facilities by coming up with more facilities and a favorable environment. Secondly, Kenyan universities should put in place structured sports programs for student-athletes. University students’ perceptions about sports should be enhanced in order to reduce the constraints that hinder their participation in sports. A longitudinal study is recommended to investigate sports participation constraints of student-athletes throughout their campus life and thereafter.