Date of Award
Campus Access Dissertation
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Education/Higher Education Administration
NCAA data indicates that Division III student-athletes are graduating at higher rates than their non-athlete peers. Graduation rate data alone do not provide a full understanding of student-athletes' academic success. The data thus far simply show empirically that student-athletes have a higher federal six-year graduation rate, but quantitative data do not provide an understanding of the student-athlete experience. To better understand the results of the graduation rate data, there first needs to be a greater understanding of the athletic subculture that permeates the student-athlete experience. The educational problem that this study addresses is how the athletic subculture within the student-athlete experience affects students' academic success. The purpose of this study was to identify the ways that athletic participation positively affects the college experience of student-athletes, particularly in regards to academic success. To better understand the effects of athletic subculture on academic success, this study surveyed Division III student-athletes at four institutions and examined the formal and informal social and academic structures within the athletic subculture that holistically support student-athletes towards academic success and degree completion. The study found a significant level of engagement with the athletic subculture, with teammates and coaches as individuals for academic support. The student-athletes within the study also identified both formal and informal athletic subculture structures as figuring into educational decisions, including institutional selection and a desire to transfer. Student-athletes within the study experienced the athletic subculture differently based on their year in school and gender, and also based on their self-identified grade-point average.
Gilmour, Heather B., "College Athletic Participation and Academic Success: How Student-Athletes Compete for Graduation" (2013). Graduate Doctoral Dissertations. 110.