Community college athletes: The influence of the chance to compete on college choice

Rinke, Patricia
Major Professor
Daniel C. Robinson
Committee Member
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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Intercollegiate athletes are an important and viable group of students for many colleges, including community colleges. These students can add to the student life experience, increase exposure of institution to the community, and enhance enrollment. Despite the large number of community college athletes, there is little literature on the experiences, recruitment, and college choice patterns of community college athletes.

Currently, there are a few studies on college choice of college athletes; however, most of this literature focuses on athletes in powerhouse programs. There are also studies on college choice of community college students; however, this literature generally does not focus on particular segments of traditional aged students. Thus, there is a paucity of literature on the college choice patterns of community college athletes. Given the trend for smaller four-year colleges to use athletics for enrollment management and the declining population in some areas where community colleges are struggling to diversify enrollment, it seems prudent to understand the factors influencing community college athletes' college choice.

This study developed a survey and identified factors that influenced college choice of community college athletes. It also examined the relationship between college choice factors and affirmation of choice of college. The study was conducted at eight community colleges and descriptive statistics were used to determine the background of participants. Factor analysis was conducted to reduce the 47 items into fewer, related variables and logistic regression was used to examine the relationship of college choice factors to affirmation of choice.

Results of the study identified the background and characteristics of the athletes, the factors influencing college choice, differences in the factors with various populations, and then the relationship of the factors to affirmation of choice. Results indicated that various attributes associated with the opportunity to engage in intercollegiate athletics were critical to college choice.