An analysis of the antecedents of successful progress toward graduation by student athletes at Iowa State University

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Hansen, Roger
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Curriculum and Instruction

The publicity surrounding the low graduation rate of some collegiate student athletes has resulted in a number of studies attempting to discover significant predictors of student athlete graduation. Previous studies have relied upon relationships developed from zero-order correlation and multiple regression on a single dependent variable; either a dichotomously scored variable reflecting whether or not the student athlete graduated or cumulative grade point average (GPA). Too often, by the time the independent variables have manifested themselves, it was too late for the student athlete to successfully complete the academic requirements for graduation;This study hypothesized that (1) academic success consisted of two dependent variables: cumulative GPA and total college credits earned, (2) three variable groups could predict academic success, and (3) individual variables within the three groups found to be significant could be used to develop a causal model of academic success tested by path analysis. The three independent variable groups were pre-college variables, collegiate athletic success, and collegiate academic variables. Canonical analysis was used to study the effect of the variable groups on each of the dependent variables both individually and combined;Results indicated each of the variable groups was a significant predictor of student athlete academic success. Contrary to what would be expected based upon the established social theories of locus of control or attributional theory, athletic success as measured by amount of athletic grant-in-aid, conference standing of the team or athletic letters earned was a significant and negative predictor of academic success. The team graduation rate over a 6-year period was found to be a significant predictor of academic success of current team members. Each of the dependent variables was found to have different independent variables acting upon them, challenging the assumption that graduation is a unitary concept. The proposed causal model was not fully supported. Finally, this study suggests further research is needed to describe latent factors of academic success and graduation in order to understand student athlete and general student body attrition.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1993