The relationship between academic achievement and athletic participation of female and male athletes at the NCAA Division III level

Date of Completion

January 1997


Psychology, Social|Education, Physical|Sociology, General|Education, Higher




The purpose of this study was two-fold. The primary purpose was to compare the relationship between academic achievement and athletic participation of male and female athletes, partial athletes, and non-athletes at the NCAA division III level. The second purpose was to identify the sport related variables that could influence the academic performance of athletes. The literature on academic performance and athletic participation consists of studies that have produced conflicting results, with researchers often unable to conclude, with certainty, whether athletic participation has a beneficial or detrimental effect on academic achievement.^ The study was an exploratory study based on an ex post facto design. The sample consisted of 483 male and female students from Connecticut College. Two null hypotheses, the first with two sub hypotheses and the second with twelve sub hypotheses, were developed and tested in the study. Discriminant, one-way ANOVA's, and regression were used in the analysis.^ A four-stage procedure was devised to organize and test the data. At stage I the number and percentage of athletes, partial athletes and non-athletes were compared on academic achievement and sport specific variables. At the second stage, hypothesis testing of male and female athletes, partial athletes and non-athletes on academic achievement was conducted. The third stage consisted of testing male and female athletes on sport specific variables that included time commitment, pressure and stress, and type of athlete. Stage four, consisted of a follow-up test to measure the relationship between sport specific variables and academic achievement.^ The results showed a difference between athletes, partial athletes and non-athletes with respect to academic achievement when four measures of academic performance were analyzed. However, when grade point average at graduation was isolated from the other measures of academic achievement it was concluded that a relationship between the three groups was not evident. In addition, it was revealed that although more athletes, both male and female, were categorized as performing at a lower academic level than partial athletes and non-athletes, the relationship between the groups on grade point average was not significant. ^