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Luring College Athletes: Five-Step Problem-Solving


Since the tuition fees for education in the United States are rather high, athletes’ scholarships can become an appropriate solution. It can not only solve students’ financial difficulties but may also engage them in sports activities. Moreover, supporting young athletes would increase the success of an educational institution. Their participation in sports games may also positively influence the revenue of the school. Therefore, since athletes’ financial support is beneficial both for students and institutions, it is necessary to develop ways to attract future athletes. The five-step system is aimed to facilitate the process of problem-solving.

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The Problem and Alternatives

The first step of the problem-solving process is to identify the problem. As it was already mentioned, educational institutions need to attract athletes and engage them in sports activities. The second step is connected with selecting several alternative solutions. The first way of attracting prospective students is by using the school’s reputation. The good name of the school, its prestige, and positive feedbacks from current and former students may significantly influence prospective students’ choices. Another solution is to provide athletes with additional benefits besides financial aid. Such perks may include the accessibility of university services like medical care and free sportswear.

Decision and Implementation

The third stage of the five-step problem-solving approach implies choosing the best alternative among the existing options. This process requires the evaluation of desirable and non-desirable outcomes of possible decisions. Moreover, in the present case study, it is important to assess the problem from the athletes’ perspective. Since financial difficulties can prevent students from enrolling in a school, additional perks may be more effective than the prestige of an educational institution, which is not an immediate advantage. The fourth step is connected with the practical implementation of the plan. For example, a school may create a comprehensive system of benefits. Even for those students who were not offered the full equilibrium wage, additional perks may serve as compensation for their efforts.

Evaluation and conclusion

The final stage includes the evaluation of problem-solving effectiveness. This step allows assessing if the decision-making process resulted in positive outcomes, or if the problem still exists and requires further elaboration. For example, the school may compare the number of athletes attending the institution before and after introducing the system of benefits. A positive effect would mean that more students enrolled in the university. If the outcomes are neutral or negative, additional measures or alternative decisions will be needed to solve the remaining problem.

The five-step problem-solving system allows evaluating the problem from different perspectives. The present example demonstrates the importance of all five stages and proves the cyclical nature of the algorithm.


Schoppek, W., Funke, J., Osman, M., & Kluge, A. (Eds.). (2018). Complex problem solving beyond the psychometric approach. Frontiers Media SA.

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