Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 157 pages) : PDF file

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Heinz-Dieter Meyer

Committee Members

Pamela J Théroux, Cornelius V Robbins


Academic Performance, Athlete, College Athletics, Leadership Performance, Selective Colleges, College sports, Academic achievement, Leadership

Subject Categories

Educational Administration and Supervision | Sports Management


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of various intensity levels of athletic participation on academic and leadership performance in a selective institution. For the purpose of this study a retrospective analysis of existing admissions and student performance data was conducted. The continuous dependent variables were academic and leadership performance scores. The categorical independent variables were the three intensity levels of athletic participation (high commitment athletes, moderate commitment athletes, general population students), gender and race. The subjects for this study included 4977 of the 4998 students that graduated from a selective institution from 1992 through 1996. Results of this study provide evidence that participation in college athletics did not hinder student academic performance in a selective institution. Even athletes that participated in high commitment athletics were found to reach their academic potential in this setting. These findings are attributed to the institutional policies that allowed athletes to remain integrated within the student body as a whole. It remains unclear; however, which policies had the greatest impact on the academic success of athletes in this investigation. In a separate analysis, athletic participation was found to negatively influence high commitment athlete's leadership performance scores in a selective institution. Given the scarcity of published research examining the influence of athletic participation on leadership development, the findings of this investigation may form the foundation upon which future studies will build upon. The implications for this study provide insight for future research and allow for the advancement of current theory on the complex role of intercollegiate athletics and its influence on the academic and leadership performance of college students.