Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Marvin P. Dawkins

Second Committee Member

Jomills H. Braddock

Third Committee Member

George Wilson

Fourth Committee Member

Eddie Comeaux


The purpose of this study was to quantitatively and longitudinally examine the cumulative effects of individual student characteristics, pre‑college backgrounds and college environmental factors and how they interact to influence whether college athletes feel prepared for the future upon graduation from college. Based on an extensive review of the existing literature, a conceptual model was developed and tested using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen (NLSF), which was specifically designed to test theoretical explanations of minority students. This study found that athletes at academically selective colleges and universities differ from their non‑athlete peers but not in the manner and not to the degree often portrayed by the media. Most importantly, the study found that while graduation from college was positively associated with feeling prepared for the future for non‑athletes, there was no significant relationship between graduation from college and feeling prepared for life after college for athletes. These results, which held true when controlling for race and gender, highlight the importance of extending the measure of academic success beyond earning a college degree.


college athletes; graduation; prepared for future; life after sports; compared to non-athletes; NCAA