Date of Award:

12-2009

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

Advisor/Chair:

Dr. John M. Kras

Abstract

Numerous studies have been completed on the academic ability of student athletes. Since the mid 1980s, the NCAA has emphasized the importance of academics and mandated more stringent requirements to be able to participate in intercollegiate athletics. These initial-eligibility standards have been successful in increasing overall graduation rates of student-athletes, but there remain a number of concerns. The purpose of the study was to determine if an NCAA D-I freshman student athlete's place of residency on campus, as opposed to off campus, while attending college during his/her freshman year had a statistically significant relationship to achievement as it relates to academic performance. The continued purpose of the study examined the relationship between selected socio-demographic components to academic performance in NCAA D-I freshman student athletes and how this relationship may have directly related to their academic performance during their freshman year. Participants completed the informed consent along with a questionnaire to aid in determining what academic and socio-demographic variables were related to academic performance (N = 205). Based on the results of this study, it was concluded that living on or off campus had no relationship with how the freshman student athletes performed academically. The best individual correlations with academic performance were high school GPA, gender, and ACT scores. These relationships proved to be a moderate relationship because an r value of .75 or greater was not reached. High school GPA, ethnicity, gender, absences unexcused, and ACT scores did enter a stepwise multiple regression equation, but could only explain 55% of the variance for that equation. Statistically 60% is an acceptable level for predicting academic performance in the study. However, it should be noted that 55% of the variance is relevant for those individuals who deal with the academic performance (i.e., athletic administrators, academic advisors, university faculty, parents, etc.) of student athletes to encourage the use of these variables to predict a student athlete's academic success. The other remaining variables showed only a low or very low relationship to a freshman student athlete's academic performance.

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