Factors Related To The Academic Success Of College Football Players

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Educat.D.)


Elementary Education


Purpose. The purpose of this study is to identify significant factors that are related to the academic success of a group of college student-athletes. The study examines factors which may explain why certain student-athletes integrate and succeed in college, whereas others detach themselves academically and, in effect, drop out mentally.Many other studies have been conducted to predict academic success versus attrition. However, only a few researchers have focused on student-athletes as potential dropouts. Many previous investigations have been limited to and focused on high school GPA and SAT scores as predictors of an athlete's persistence in college. Most research literature indicates that this model is far too restrictive in the case of student-athletes. While there has been much discussion concerning the role of student-athletes in revenue-producing sports, very little research has been done in this area.Procedure. A questionnaire was developed and administered to 94 players on scholarship with the 1986-87 University of Miami football team. A broad range of possible factors related to the academic success of college student-athletes was examined. These factors included: demographic background; motivation toward school; educational background in addition to high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores; misbehavior in school; peer associations; academic support program involvement; and athletic background. One hypothesis was generated from each of the seven areas and tested for statistical significance at the .05 level. One-way analysis of variance was selected to examine the relationship among cumulative college GPA, the single dependent variable, and various independent variables included in the hypotheses.Findings. Twenty-six variables were found to be significantly related to the academic success of the football players in this study.Conclusions. High school GPA and SAT/ACT scores appear to be only two of several measures which need to be explored to explain one's academic success. The results of this study confirm that the traditional predictive model is too restrictive in the case of marginal student-athletes. While the impact of demographic factors on academic success cannot be ignored, the involvement of student-athletes in an academic support program appears to be a viable means of lessening the effect of socio-cultural differences.


Education, Sociology of

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