I definitely think that student athletes are less academically engaged than nonathletes. It only make sense that student athletes aren't going to be that interested in their academic studies. The only reason they pay attention to it is because they need to maintain a grade to play sports and get a scholarship.
I think most students can easily admit that those involved in athletics can be less academically engaged. This is very much different for each individual student and it depends on how they view education and its importance. I know I have seen some students involved in athletics who think their sport replaces every important topic there is and that simply is not the case. At the same time I've seen athletes who devote just as much time to their studies and that should be seen as the prime example of what is suppose to happen.
Just because a student may play sports in the schools in the United States of America it does not mean that they are less academically engaged. In fact a student who plays sports while in school may be more academically engaged than those who do not participate in any sports.
I think that's a bit of a sweeping generalization. However, like all generalizations, there is a kernel of truth there. Most student athletes are fine academics. But the ones that are at the top, the ones who are praised for their feats on the field or court? Not so much. They sort of breeze through because they assume they'll make millions in the professional leagues one day.