Competing in elite sport and practicing intensive training are characterized by several challenges for youth elite athletes when it comes to combining their sport and educational qualifications (Conzelmann & Nagel, 2003). As results, several student-athletes often need to drop out from sport, to promote their education and preparation for future job opportunities, or from sport competition (Amara, Aquilina, & Henry, 2004). In light of these difficulties, the European Parliament is supporting several policy actions to conciliate sport and education bodies to establish effective “dual career” (i.e., combination of sport and education) pathways for student-athletes. In particular, European Commission (2012) highlighted the Guidelines on Dual Careers, i.e., the importance of disseminating the dual career awareness among national sport agencies and councils, and educational institutes; and monitoring and evaluating current dual career actions at national and EU level. In fact, relevant differences in dual careers can be found in European Member States (Aquilina & Henry, 2010), ranging from state-centric regulations (i.e., France, Hungary, Luxemburg, Poland, Portugal and Spain) to laissez-faire/no formal structures (i.e., Malta, Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia). In particular, the Italian education system offers elite athletes few special rights, constraining student-athletes to personally (and not always successfully) negotiating with the teachers a flexible attendance to courses and evaluation schedules.

According to the European Commission guidelines, this research area has been focused on monitoring and evaluating the Italian educational system with particular reference to the student-athletes attending the University of Turin. In particular, factors such as student-athletes’ motivation, identity, educational schedule, and actual and wished supports to promote a successful dual career have been deeply analyzed.


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