NCAA survey: Over 25 percent of college athletes 'feeling sadness and a sense of loss'

More than a quarter of college athletes say they’re feeling sadness or a sense of loss amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent NCAA survey.

The NCAA released its latest survey of college athletes on Friday. The survey was taken by over 37,000 athletes on a variety of topics including mental health and well-being from April 10-May 1.

“Over a third of respondents reported experiencing sleep difficulties, while more than a quarter reported feeling sadness and a sense of loss, and one in 10 reported feeling so depressed it has been difficult to function ‘constantly’ or ‘most every day,’” the NCAA said in a statement.

“Mental health concerns were highest among respondents of color, those whose families are facing economic hardship and those living alone. Additionally, college seniors reported a sense of loss at 1.5 times the rate of underclassmen. In most instances, the rates of mental health concerns were 150 percent to 250 percent higher than that historically reported by NCAA student-athletes in the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment.”

It’s sadly unsurprising that seniors would be experiencing lows at a greater rate than other college athletes. The cancellation of spring sports across the country cost many seniors their chances at a final season of college sports. While those athletes who had sports canceled are able to return to school for another year of eligibility during the 2021-22 academic year, some schools, like Wisconsin, are telling their senior athletes that they don’t have room for them.

Basketball players and other winter sport athletes are unable to return for an extra year of eligibility. That means that seniors on basketball teams who were denied final postseason appearances won’t get a second chance.

80 percent of respondents now living with family

Nearly every respondent to the survey said that his or her classes had gone online as schools across the country also closed their campuses. Just 51 percent of those surveyed said they felt “positive about their ability to keep up with classes.”

Per the survey, approximately 80 percent of athletes are living with family members or a significant other while about 90 percent of athletes say they are in a stable housing situation and have enough food. 

Food accessibility, however, did have a racial disparity. 

“Of note, 75 percent of black male student-athletes surveyed, compared with 92 percent of white males in the sample, said they have access to enough food, and 61 percent reported that healthy food options are readily available to them, as compared with 81 percent of white male participants,” the NCAA said.

You can view the full results of the NCAA’s survey here.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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