In the commercialised and professionalised world of elite sport, issues associated with career pathways and post sporting career options have a particular resonance. In various football codes, an unexpected knock, twist, bend or break can profoundly impact a player's career. In this high risk and high consequence environment, a number of sports entertainment industries have instituted player development and education programmes to educate and prepare elite level performers for life after football. Drawing on Foucault's later work on governmentality and the care of the self, this paper will discuss findings from a research project funded by the Australian Football League (AFL). The paper presents data that suggests that, elite performers are so focused on establishing and prolonging a career as an elite performer, that other aspects of identity are seen as something to be complied with as a consequence of industry expectations. An industry emphasis on higher education raises issues for the sports industries that promote player enrolment in higher education and for the higher education institutions that must manage this lack of engagement.
This is an electronic version of an article published in Hickey, Christopher & Kelly, Peter (2008). Preparing to not be a footballer: higher education and professional sport. Sport, Education and Society, 13 (4), 477-494. Sport, Education and Society is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/13573320802445132
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