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1 NCAA ACADEMIC REFORM AND GRADUATION RATES OF DIVISION I FBS BLACK MALE STUDENT ATHLETES: MOVING FROM REFORM TO EXPECTATION By DONNA L. DOMIKAITIS MATTHEWS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Donna L. Domikaitis Matthews
3 I dedicate this t o my parents for giving me the greatest gift that could ever be given to someone. You believed in me!
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I want to take this opportunity to convey my thanks and appreciation to all my friends, colleagues, students, instructors, and extended family everywhere for providing me with your unconditional love and patience through this passage of my life. I am so grateful for my parents, Stan and Rhoda Domikaitis. I love you! Thank you for your abiding love, guidance, and support not only in my youth and throughout my ad ult life, but especially over the past four years. You provided me with the foundation of knowledge and a love of learning that powered me through the challenges and energized me through the successes of my doctoral studies. Mom, your enthusiasm and optimi sm pushed me forward through the tasks. Dad, your encouragement and laughter helped me to keep my head above water when the going got tough. I must give special thanks to my sister, Diane, who has provided me comic relief during our entire lives together, visits to Florida actually provided me physical and mental renewal when I needed it most. My heartfelt gratitude goes to my doctoral chair, Dr. Luis Ponjuan, who always remained calm in the midst o f the storm of my concerns and tears. I so appreciate your guidance, instruction, encouragement, and the time you provided to me. You challenged me to be a better student, writer, and researcher. I would also like to thank my other committee members: Dr. P ilar Mendoza, Dr. Cyndi Garvan, and Dr. Michael Sagas. Each one of you has challenged me to think more deeply about my research and to consider other points of view. I am so grateful that you agreed to help me through this project. I would like to extend a shout out to the LEAD cohort, especially Jillian, Amy, Lisa, Louise, and Becky. It has been an incredible gift to work with each one of you and to get to know all of you. You have provided me friendship and counsel in every aspect of my life: professiona lly, academically, personally, and spiritually. The hours we spent together have
5 guided me in so many ways! I need to thank my former colleague and dear friend Kerry for shared experiences of doctoral work. I could always count on you to provide me real insight into what likely lay ahead of me. Thank you also for your willingness to review my writing. I would be remiss if I did not been an amazing friend, innkeeper, and dance partner. Our conversations have always reinforced my beliefs in how intelligent and wonderful young people can be. Tracy, how lucky was it that I needed a football ticket three years ago? Our times together before, during, and after football games have helped me to find my inner Gator and to renew an old friendship. Finally, I would like to express my love and appreciation to my children, Danise Weber and Dan Matthews. Danise, over the pa st four years you have always afforded me time that fit into my schedule: time to talk, time to shop, and time to chill on the boat. That time together and your constant encouragement helped to sustain me through the challenges and exhaustion of my busy li fe. Dan, I am thankful that you so eagerly welcomed me to your home away from home during my first year of traveling to Gainesville. After you left for far off places, you always managed to call me at the right time to provide me with your calm and unwaver ing support. I am especially grateful that you always somehow managed to find a way to come home when I needed you most. It is fitting that as I finish this project that a new one awaits me. Welcome to the world, Taytem Weber! I look forward to the time w e will share together
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 13 The NCAA and Recent Academic Reforms ................................ ................................ ........... 14 College Student athletes ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 18 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 21 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 21 Rationale for the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 22 Signific ance of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 23 Organization of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 23 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 24 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ........................ 26 Litera ture Related to the NCAA and Academic Standards ................................ .................... 26 Early NCAA Academic Guidelines and Standards ................................ ................................ 27 NCAA Standards from the 1950s to the 1980s ................................ ................................ ...... 29 NCAA Standards from the 1980s to the Present ................................ ................................ .... 31 Proposition 48 ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 32 Proposition 16 ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 33 Academic Performance Program ................................ ................................ ..................... 34 Other NCAA Mandates ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 35 Understanding College Student athletes ................................ ................................ ................. 37 The Unique Attributes of College Student athletes ................................ ................................ 37 Understanding Black male College Student athletes ................................ ............................. 39 Cognitive Factors in Academic Preparedness and Success ................................ .................... 40 Pre College Academic Preparation ................................ ................................ ................. 40 High Achieving Black male Student athletes ................................ ................................ .. 41 Social Factors in Achievement and Persistence ................................ ................................ ..... 42 Athletic Identity of Black male Student athletes ................................ ................................ .... 42 Background and Socialization ................................ ................................ ................................ 44 Athletic Performance and Self Esteem ................................ ................................ ................... 45 Career Focus of Black male Football and Basketball Student Athletes ................................ 46 athletes ......................... 49 Conceptual Model ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 53
7 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 53 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 56 Proposed Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 57 Data Sources ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 58 Measures ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 59 Dependent Variables ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 59 Independent Variables ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 60 Race/Ethnicity ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 61 Sports Team Affiliation ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 62 Institutional Types ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 62 Sports Conference Affiliations ................................ ................................ ........................ 63 An alytical Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 64 Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 64 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 66 Demographics ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 66 Descriptive Statisti cs ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 67 T Tests ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 67 Hypothesis One ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 68 Hypothesis Two ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 68 Hypotheses Three and Four ................................ ................................ ............................. 68 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) ................................ ................................ ..................... 69 Hypotheses Five and Six ................................ ................................ ................................ 69 Chapter Summary and Conclusions ................................ ................................ ........................ 70 5 DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................ 75 Graduation Success Rates of Division I FBS Male College Student athletes ........................ 76 Race and Ethnicity ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 76 Sport Team Aff iliation ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 77 Institutional Type ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 79 Conference Affiliation ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 80 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 81 6 IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 82 Policy Recommendat ions ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 82 NCAA Policy Recommendations ................................ ................................ ........................... 84 Increased Eligibility Standards ................................ ................................ ........................ 84 Freshmen Year Ineligibility ................................ ................................ ............................. 86 Restrict Offseason Training ................................ ................................ ............................. 88 Institutional and Athletic Department Policy Recommendations ................................ .......... 88 Further Directions for Research ................................ ................................ .............................. 90 APPENDIX
8 FBS INSTITUTION BY INSTITUTIONAL TYPE AND CONFERENCE MEMBER SHIP ..... 92 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 95 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 105
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 Frequency of students by race/ethnicity and sport ................................ ............................. 71 4 2 Descriptive statistics of Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for cohort 2002 ........................ 72 4 3 Paired t test between Black male student athletes and White male student athletes in all sports across the 1995 2002 cohorts ................................ ................................ ............. 72 4 4 Paired t test between basketball male student athletes and football student athletes in the 2002 cohort ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 72 4 5 Independent samples t test between public and private institutions for male basketball student athletes in the 2002 cohort ................................ ................................ ... 73 4 6 Independent samples t test between public and private institutions for football student athletes in the 2002 cohort ................................ ................................ .................... 73 4 7 Analysis of variance comparing GSR for conference affiliation (SEC, Big 12, Big Ten) for male basketball student athletes ................................ ................................ .......... 73 4 8 Analysis of variance comparing GSR for conference affiliation (SEC, Big 12, Big Ten) for football student athletes ................................ ................................ ....................... 74
10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Conceptual model: Graduation success rates of Division I FBS Black male student athletes ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 55 4 1 Racial/ethnic percentages of the 2002 male student athlete cohort ................................ ... 70 4 2 Racial/ethnic percentages of the 2002 football student athlete cohort .............................. 71 4 3 Racial/ethnic percentages of the 2002 basketball student athlete cohort .......................... 71
11 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education NCAA ACADEMIC REFORM AND GRADUATION RATES OF DIVISION I FBS BLACK MALE STUDENT ATHLETES: MOVING FROM REFO RM TO EXPECTATION By Donna L. Domikaitis Matthews December 2011 Chair: Luis Ponjuan Major: Higher Education Administration This quantitative study sought to examine the graduation success rates of male student athlete s initially enrolled at N ational C oll egiate A thletic A ssociation (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Series (FBS) institutions from 1995 2002 Data from the NCAA Student athlete Experiences Data Archive were used to examine the relationship between the gra duation rates of Division I FBS male stud ent athlete s and their individual characteristics (i.e. r ace/ethnicity), sports affiliation, institutional characteristics, and conference affiliation Study results showed that the majority of male college student athletes from NCAA Division I FBS institu tions are persisting to graduation, including Black male student athletes on graduation rates of Division I FBS Black and White male student athletes. The results of the study demonstrated that individual characteristics, sports affiliation, and institutional characteristics are related to the persistence of Division I FBS male student athletes. No significant differences were found in the NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of male college student athletes when considering their conference affiliation. The results of this study provided support for the ongoing use of the NCAA Academic Performance Program (APP) in promoting the academic success and persistence of NCAA
12 Division I FBS college student athletes. Recommendations were made for NCAA policy changes that might further improve the GSR of Division I FBS college student athletes and for further research that examines and evaluates th e connections between all the perceived problems of college athletics in a sociological and comprehensive context.
13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION moving in the right direction. The ultimate success is in the changed lives of student athlete s. The so a myth. Myles Brand, NCAA New s Release College athletics in institutions of higher education in the United States have grown to become an integral part of the college experience, and by 2010 there were more than 430,000 student athlete s participating in sports on college campuses acr oss the country (National Collegiate Athletic Association, 2010 a ). The academic performance of college student athlete s has always received a vast amount of attention from the media and in the literature much of it negative (Fountain & Finley, 2009; Gaston Gayles, 2004; Hyatt, 2003). Extant studies (e.g., Jameson, Diehl & Danso, 2007; Simons, Bosworth, Fujita & Jensen, 2007 ; Yopyk & Prentice, 2005) have indicated that when college student athlete s perform the student role in their student athlete status, t hey have often been stigmatized as illegitimate students who will not progress to graduation because they are seen as academically unqualified or unmotivated. Simons, Bosworth, Fujita, and Jensen elaborated that student athlete in minimum effort, do little academic work, take easy classes and have others do their work for 252). Academic researchers (e. g., Benford, 2007; Craughron, 2001; Gerdy, 200 6; Gill & Goff, 2008 ) have suggested that issues surrounding academic s tandards and institutional accountability for educating college student athlete s, including academic fraud and questions of compliance, have permeated the national landscape of college athletics since the mid 1800s when college students first began playing sports in the name of their institutions. As intercollegiate athletics have grown to be an integral part of the contemporary college experience, these concerns have
14 concomitantly increased in both scope and significance (Knight Commission, 1991; Knight C ommission, 2001). Gill and Goff college athletics researchers, 37). Over the past two decades and in response to several academi c scandals, academic reformed minded groups such as the Knight Commission, the Drake Group, and the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA), have offered strategic plans to help increase academic standards and bolster academic integrity within colleg e athletics (Benford, 2007; Ridpath, 2008; Ridpath, 2010). Despite continual reform efforts over the years and a multitude of reports, the academic experiences and successes of college student athlete s continue to be questioned and examined by universit y f aculty groups and the media This dissertation research study is an attempt to better understand the persistence of college student athlete s through empirically based examination of national NCAA institutional level data. This study will examine the diff erences in graduation rates of Division I FBS male student athlete s by individual characteristics (e.g. race/ethnicity), collegiate sports affiliation, institutional characteristics and conference affiliation. This preliminary examination will begin with a brief discussion of the most recent NCAA rules and standards established for student athlete s in Division I. I will then examine the distinct characteristics of male college student athlete s at Division I FBS subdivision universities. The NCAA and R ecent Academic Reforms The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the primary governing association for most intercollegiate sporting events in the nation, has initiated and implemented rules and standards for college student athlete s since its constitution was established in 1906 (Davis, 2006; Baxter & Lambert, 1990). Although the NCAA serves as a governing association for college athletics, complete with administrators and staff members, it lacks actual institutional control and
15 oversight of at hletics at colleges and universities ( Newman & Miller, 1994 ) The actual responsibility for the regulation of the NCAA lies in its membership: the member institutions and conferences in which th ey might participate (NCAA, n.d.a ). The NCAA was initially fo rmed as a discussion group and rules making body to encourage colleges and universities to oversee college athletics by developing standards for student athlete xter & Lambert, 1990) Since then the NCAA has developed and tra nsformed a multitude of guidelines, regulations, and standards for its member institutions in order to help maintain academic integrity at colleges and universities For example, after establishing the academic guidelines and standards, it then monitors, c ollects, and publishes the academic performance data by institutions, sports, and athletic conferences. Although academic reform efforts have been ongoing since the inception of the NCAA, reform efforts at the end of the 20 th century were developed mostl y from controversies surrounding academic deficiencies and questionable academic practices that persisted through the 1980s at many high profile programs at various universities ( Black man, 2008; Benford, 2007). Initially, NCAA academic reform guidelines focused primarily on the pre collegiate academic preparation of student athletes In 1986 the NCAA implemented Proposition 48 in order to heighten academic standards for incoming freshman student athlete s with intentions to improve thei r college graduation rates ( Sack, 1984 ). This academic reform package increased academic standards for incoming freshman by using minimal levels of academic qualifications that included 1) earning a score of at least a 700 on the SAT or a 15 on the ACT, 2 ) completing eleven core academic courses while in high school, and 3) achieving a minimum GPA of 2.0 in those core courses in order to be eligible to participate in collegiate athletic programs (Sack, 1984 ).
16 In response to a 1991 report by the Knight Com mission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the NCAA instituted an even stronger NCAA academic re form package in 1996 ( Smith, 2010). Like Proposition 48, Proposition 16 established initial academic eligibility standards for student athlete s who wanted to participate in NCAA athletic comp etitions and receive student athlete financial aid (Smith, 2010). Like before, academic standards required that freshman s tudent athlete s earn a minimum SAT score and a minimum GPA in core high school cours es in order to be eligible to compete and receive athletic financial aid. However, the NCAA developed academic minimum standards on a sliding scale so that students with a higher high school GPA can still be eligible with a lower SAT requirement. In additi on, NCAA also added two additional courses to the core high school requirements already established in Proposition 48. The Knight Commission and other academic reform minded groups have continued to revisit the issue of academic integrity in college athletics through the new millennium. A C oalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) report in 2001 called for a greater emphasis on increasing the graduation rates of student athlete s. In r esponse to this call for greater emphasis on persistence to graduation, the most recent and impacting academic reform package for academic eligibility requirements was adopted in 2004 by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors. It was hoped that these highe r academic standards would influence academic success culture and responsibility in the athletic department and institutionally by placing heavy emphasis on degree completion. Myles Brand, the NCAA president at the time of the adoption, called the reform In order to help increase the graduation rates of student athlete s, especially for those participating in foot the NCAA began implementing the Academic
17 Performan ce Program (APP) in 2005 (Christy, Siefried, & Pastore, 2008). The APP is comprised of two main components, the Academic Progress Rate (APR) and the Graduation Success Rate (GSR), which would be measured against critical academic benchmarks to ensure that student athlete s are academically successful and progressing towards graduation. The APR, considered to be the centerpiece of the APP, is an annual methodology that progress towards academic benchmarks (e.g. degree completion rates) (Gill & Goff, 2008 ) The APR is essentially a points system that evaluates progression towards graduation by using the eligibility, retention, and graduation factors of student athlete s. Penalties are assessed against member institu tions rather than on individual student athlete s. Institutions not meeting the se standards face sanctions under a penalty structure that includes public warnings, loss of scholarships, bans from postseason competition, and restricted membership status (Bel and, 2004). Conversely, institutions that performed well or improved on their NCAA academic performance rates might receive a package of public relations and additional financial incentives. The Division I GSR is a more long term methodology used to measu re student athlete academic success by measuring grad uation rates (Gill & Goff, 2008) This measure is unique in that it differs from federal education guidelines by measuring graduation rates without penalizing the institutions of student athlete s who l eave school while still academically eligible and also accounts for student athlete s who transfer into an other institution (Paskus, 2011). This process student athlete s (Gill & Goff, 2008). In addition to measuring academic success and graduation success rates, the NCAA also put forward new requirements for measuring ongoing progression towards a degree with the implementation of the 40/60/80 rule (Beland, 2004; Gill & Goff, 2008). After two ye ars a
18 student athlete graduation must be completed. The literature on the history of the NCAA and the ever present impetus for the establishment of academic standards for college student athletes shows how entrenched college sports must start at its stated purpose seeks to determine whether the plethora of calls for academic reform in college athletics and the implementation of more stringent standards for the persistence of college student athle tes by the NCAA have indeed impacted the academic success of college student athletes as measured by the NCAA Graduation Success Rates. College Student athlete s Student athlete s have been a special population on college campuses since the mid 1800s and so me researchers even consider college student athlete students because of their unique academic and athletic participation demands ( Crom, Warren, Clark, Marolla, & Gerber, 2008; Ferris, Finster, & McDonald, 2005; Gaston Gayles & Hu 2 009; Greer & Robinson, 2006 ; Jolly, 2008). College student athlete s and their non student athlete peers face similar issues relating to adjusting to the demands of college coursework, but student athlete s must also cope with the pressure of participation in athletic activities, public scrutiny and the physical and mental exhaustion that comes from their daily practices and workouts (Greer & Robinson, 2006). They face greater time management issues, isolation from other students, and other personal difficu lties that affect their lives as students ( Gaston Gayles & Hu, 2009; Simiyu, 2010; Watt & Moore, 2001).
19 One study suggested that women at institutions of higher education have higher graduation rates than men in general, and when comparing the graduati on rates of student athlete s at Division I FBS institutions, the gender gap is even more disparate (Rishe, 2003). The study indicated that m ale college student athlete s, especially those on highly visible and revenue s basketball, are especially vulnerable to lower graduation success rates when compared to female student athletes Rishe postured that these student athlete s are likely to have greater emphasis placed on their athletic performance and intense pressure to perform at high levels which may lead them to spend greater time preparing for athletics and less time studying academics. Male student athlete s are also more likely than female student athletes to see their continued participation in professional sport s as a post college option. A 1985 study by Adler and Adler examined the academic performance and commitment to completion of degree of d that these student athlete s arrived at their institution with enthusiasm and optimism towards their academic experiences and viewed basketball as the mean s towards earning their degrees. Unfortunately, their athletic and academic experiences over their time as student athletes gradually led them to place greater emphasis on basketb all as a career and they became detached from their academic commitments. These factors are especially significant in student athlete s from underrepresented racial/ethnic populations on college and university cam puses. Several research studies publishe d over the past fifteen years sugges te d that Black male student athlete s are a unique subgroup of student athlete s with distinctive academic and social experiences requiring specialized programs for student academic success (Killeya, 2001; Beamon & Bell, 2 006; Melendez, 2008). A 1987 study by the American Institute for Research (as cited in Person & Lenoir, 1997) showed that
20 m any Black male student athlete s come to college with lower standardized test scores and grade point averages when compared to all stu dent athletes Due to these factors, t hey are often labeled academically at risk and are more likely to struggle academically (Cuyjet, 1997 ; Hrabowski, 2002 ). Researchers suggest ed that these student athletes may often face a larger challenge academically because the gap between their prior academic abilities and their actual preparedness do not adequately prepare them for the demands of college coursework. This academic preparation disparity may often leave Black male student athlete s with a daunting tas k as they strive for academic success in addition to their heavy demands of college athletic participation, especially for those on football and basketball teams. When compared to the enrollments of all Black male undergraduates in higher education, Black male student athlete s are greatly overrepresented on these teams. A study for the Dellums Commission found that while 10.3% of the male undergraduates at colleges and universities across America in 2004 were Black more than 30 % of all male student athlete s at these institutions were Black (Harper, 2006). Researchers argue that t his enrollment disparity may suggest that Black male student athlete s believe in the ir potential of a greater financial gain from a professional sports career than from a car eer stemming from a college degree (Rishe, 2003). They may often focus on their particular sport as the means to achieve their definition of success. Consequently, they may develop negative perceptions about non athletic professions, which may lead them to focus less on their educational success and career needs during their college years and affect persistence (Harrison, Harrison, & Moore, 2002; Harrison & Lawrence, 2003). This raises additional questions and concerns about the current plight of Black mal e student athlete s in American higher education in general and in their participation in athletic programs, specifically
21 performanc e in collegiate sports programs and the growing presence of Black m ale s in college athletics, these contrasting trends require additional in terrogation. In particular, there is a greater need to examine how these students academically perform (e.g. graduation rates) compared across different institutional types, sports co nferences, and sports team affiliation. Purpose of the Study Towards that end, the intent of this dissertation research is to conduct a quantitative study to examine the graduation success rates of male student athlete s initially enrolled at NCAA Division I FBS institutions from 1995 2002. This study will utilize NCAA GSR rates that compare the number of student athlete s who enter a university in a given year and the number of student athlete s who graduated within six years of their initial enrollment (Pas kus, 2011). In particular, this study examines high profile/ high revenue sports (e.g. football, basketball) across the nation. Research Questions The study will address the following specific research question: How do individual characteristics (i.e. race/ethnicity), sports affiliation, institutional characteristics, and conference affiliation relate to the gra duation rates of Division I FBS male st udent athlete s? Accordingly, the following research sub questions will guide the focus of this empirical study: 1. What is the relationship between race/ethnicity (e.g. Black, White) and the graduation rates of male student athletes at NCAA Division I FBS schools? 2. What is the relationship between collegiate sport affiliation (e.g. football, basketball) and the graduation rates of male student athlete s at NCAA Division I FBS schools ? 3 What is the relati onship between instituti onal type (e.g. public/private) and the graduation rates of male student athlete s at NCAA Division I FBS schools ? 4 What is the relationship between conferences affiliations (e.g. Southwestern, Big Ten) and the graduation rates of male student athlete s basketball at NCAA Division I FBS schools ?
22 Rationale for the Study There is only a limited amount of extant literature that addresses recent trends in the graduation rates of Division I FBS stude nt athlete s, specifically after the most recent academic reforms were initiated in 2004 by the NCAA. The NCAA has always collected a wealth of information about its student athlete s, but it has provided limited access to the information for the public or t o academic scholars. Much of the earlier literature published before and through the first half of this decade was likely based upon non representative and incomplete samples, allowing for limited and negative critiques (Ferris, Finster, & McDonald, 2004). In 2008, then NCAA President Myles Brand initiated the formation of a student athlete data archive, now called the NCAA Student athlete Experiences Data Archive, to enhance college student athlete research by scholars in academia and to affect highe r edu cation policy development related to both general student populations and student athletics ( Paskus, 2011 ). These data sets, both aggregate and individual data, were released in late spring 2011 by the NCAA through the University of Michigan. These data s ets and those to be released later will allow for more empirically supported discussion of the academic success of college all student athlete s at Division I universities. The primary rationale for this study is to critically examine this data and provid e initial discussions about the academic performance of Black male student athletes participating in Moreover, this study relies on national level data that answers earlier critics of incomplete and limited datasets. Finally, there is a need to explore what characteristics are related to graduation rates, especially for underrepresented student athlete s that are less academically prepared to succeed in many institutions in American higher education.
23 Significance of the St udy Student persistence is an intended assessment outcome of every university because it highlights the overall success of the higher education institution. It is particularly important to examine student athlete tic career. Myles Brand, the president of the NCAA until his death in 2009, had made academic reform and increased graduation rates for college student athlete s his overall primary focus. It is especially vital to examine Division I Black male student athlete s progression towards graduation since they often are highly visible through collegiate sports such as football they are often the least academically prepared. The primary purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which college male student athlete s at Division I FBS schools persist to graduation. Accordingly, this study seeks to make a contribution to literature by: 1) focusing on the graduation rates of Black male student athlete s at Division I FBS scho ols; 2) providing an analysis of the individual, squad, institutional, and conference affiliation background graduation success rates using NCAA longitudinal multi institutional data; 3) proposing a view of college male student athlete gh a framework of social and academic institutional systems to better understand the extent to which they might impact graduation success rates. Organization of the Study This research will empirically examine the factors related to the persistence t o graduation that male student athlete s at NCAA Division I FBS institutions experience. Chapter 1 included a brief background and overview of the problem, the purpose of the study, the research questions, and the rationale for the study. Chapter 2 provid e s a detailed review of the literature pertaining to college student athlete academic success and persistence to graduation. It also include s literature related to the implementation of NCAA academic standards and the
24 significance in their enforcement. Cha pter 2 concludes with a presentation of the theoretical framework guiding this research study. Next, C hapter 3 present s a detailed overview of the methodology utilized to study the re search questions. Chapter 4 report s the research findings of th e investig ation. Chapter 5 provide s a discussion of the results in relation to the current literature and the theoretical framework Finally C hapter 6 discuss es implications for higher educational institutions and make recommendations for further research on the pe rsistence of college student athlete s to graduation. Definition of Terms For the purpose of this study, the following definitions were used: FBS A subdivision of NCAA Division I. It includes 12 0 institutions that play in the Bowl Championship Series. It is administered by 11 FBS conferences D IVISION I D competition purposes. Division I members sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for women (or six for men and eight for women) wit h two teams sports for each gender. G RADUATION S UCCESS R ATE (GSR) A measure of graduation rates at NCAA Division I institutions and includes student athlete s transferring into the institutions. It also allows institutions to exclude student athlete s who leave the institutions before graduation from the computation, so long as they would have been academically eligible had they remained there. I NTEGRATED P OSTSECONDARY E DUCATION D ATA S YSTEM (IPEDS) A system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. N ATIONAL C OLLEGIATE A T HLETIC A SSOCIATION (NCAA) T he governing body which oversees and governs intercollegiate athletics and student participation at four year institutions. P ERSISTENCE T at an institut ion. This is the 150% standard adopted by the NCAA and the federal government to measure student graduation rates.
25 S TUDENT ATHLETE A designation for any individual who is on the roster of an intercollegiate s port at a four year institution, regardless of institutional aid received.
26 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERA TURE The purpose of Chapter 2 is to provide a better understanding of the persistence of NCAA Division I FBS Black male college student athlete s to graduation and to review the theoretical framewo rk guiding this study. C hapter 2 begins by providing a review of the history of NCAA standards and their effect on college student athlete persistence. In the second section, attention will be given to extant literature on college student athlete s, with p articular attention given to Black college male student athlete s. The theoretical framework, Comeaux and student athlete s, and a conc eptual model guiding this study will be presented and discussed in the subsequent section. The literature review concludes with a summary of the h ighlights presented through C hapter 2 Literature Related to t he NCAA and Academic Standards Issues surrounding academic standards and inst itutional accountability for educating college student athlete s have existed since the mid 1800s when college students first began playing sports in the name of their instituti ons (Craughron, 2001 ). Despite continual reform attempts over the years and a mu ltitude of reports, the academic experiences and successes of college student athlete s continue to be questioned and examined by faculty centered groups the media and the NCAA As intercollegiate athletics have grown to be an integral part of the contemp orary college experience, these concerns have concomitantly increased in both scope and significance. As mentioned earlier, over 100 years ago, t he NCAA created a constitution to implement rules and standards for college student athlete s since its constitution was established in 1906 (Newman & Miller, 1994). These academic standards have been developed and imposed on its member institutions in order to emphasize the academic component of being a college student
27 athlete and to legitimize the link bet ween athletic sports participation and academics in colleges and universities (Heck & Takahashi, 2006). Although the NCAA serves as a governing association for college athletics, it lacks real institutional control and oversight of athletics at these colle ges and universities. Instead, compliance to NCAA rules and standards is left to staff members and administrators within the athletic departments at individual institutions ( Peach, 2007 ). Early NCAA Academic Guidelines and Standards Investigating the re form movements throughout the history of intercollegiate athletics NCAA reform efforts, Sociologist Robert Benfor depth reports, the past 100 years have addressed everything from amateurism and commercialism to cheating scandals and academically unqualified student athletes. The latest reform movement, implemented in 2005, centers on student primarily on the graduation rates of student athletes, especially in foo the two high profile revenue generating sports. The earliest reform directives for college student athlete s were developed by academic leaders at Harvard and Brown Universities prior to the inception of the NCAA (Benford 2007). The principles proposed by these groups provided a significant framework of guidelines that continue to impact current NCAA standards and regulations, including eligibility benchmarks, academic integrity, amateurism, and the roles of higher educat ion faculty and staff in athletics (Newman & Miller, 1994). Unfortunately during those early years, most universities refused to support the guidelines and few approved or put these principles into practice for their student
28 athlete s. Newman and Miller sug gested that t his allowed some student athlete s who were receiving athletic scholarships to essentially be paid for attending a particular university without necessarily attending classes. When the NCAA was first established, it adopted those academic e ligibility standards already put forward by academic leaders as its own and supported institutional faculty control of athletic programs in order to put student athlete educational standards within athletics (Ne wman & Miller, 1994). The NCAA did not exercise control over the enforcement of their adopted standards. Instead, member institutions were expected to enforce academic standards for their student athlete s, police themselves for violations, and then provide the NCAA with reports on academic eligibility for both new and continuing student athlete s (Hawes, 1999). Without fear of real retribution, these institutions seldom conformed to these expectations. Hawes noted that e ventually the NCAA recognized that mem ber institutions were not effectively policing themselves and that a better system of enforcement of eligibility guidelines needed to be established. One of the central tenets of the NCAA is the classification of amateur status of college student athlete s. In order to emphasize their commitment to this, the NCAA has been regulating athletic scholarships throughout their existence. Athletic scholarships have been used by American universities as early as the 1890s in order to entice student athletes to bec ome students at their institutions to increase the chances of having successful athletic teams, which in turn, might bring them greater prestige (Bensel Meyers, 2003). Four year athletic scholarships were initially provided as educational gifts only to tho se student athletes with financial needs, and they could not be revoked by the universities even if the student athlete did not play due to injury or by choice. Without a real supervising authority, many of the institutions recruited
29 student athletes who p layed at several schools during their college career depending on the scholarship offer they received. Growing concerns about ongoing financial aid abuse and aggressive recruiting led the Eckard, 1998). It banned scholarships related to athletic ability and required student athlete s to be held to the same academic standard as the non student athlete s in their student cohort. Eckard suggested, h owever, that colleges and universities continued to circumvent the NCAA rules, and because the rules could not be enforced effectively the code was repealed in the early 1950 s. NCAA Standards from the 1950s to the 1980s The idea of college student athletes as students first and foremost be came an issue of concern once more in the 1950s when student athletes began to receive scholarships again. These four year athletic scholarships were not need based, and they provided student athletes with funding for tuition, room, board, and textbook cos ts (Bensel Meyers, 2003). By 1973, athletic scholarships were reduced to binding contracts given as annual renewable grants controlled and assigned by coaches and athletic directors. Until the 1980s, the primary concern of coaches and athletic directors wa s merely keeping student athletes academically eligible. Little emphasis was placed on student student ath lete s to achieve a predicted first year college grade point average (GPA) of at least a 1.6 before they could receive athletic scholarships (Newman & Miller, 1994). This rule used a predictive methodology to pre screen student athlete giate academic success. If it was predicted that a student athlete would earn a 1.6 GPA as a freshmen in college, that student would still be elig ible to participate in athletic programs
30 earned grades rather than predictive methodologies (Newman & Miller, 1994). Student athlete s were required to graduate high school with at least a 2.0 GPA. Ironically, this actually weakened the academic standards for some student athlet e s because the lack of place an overarching meaning to a 2.0 GPA. College graduation rates for student athlete s decreased consistently after the 1.6 Rule was rep laced by the 2.0 Rule. Newman and Miller noted that a cademic standards eroded to the point where severely unqualified student athlete s were gaining admission to universities and awarded scholarships with little chance to be succes sful in the classroom or t o earn a degree. Student athlete s continued to perform below their non student athlete peers, and many failed to progress to graduation. In 1985, Adler and Adler conducted a four year participant size private Division I university that explored how these college student athlete educational experiences. The researchers followed the academic progression of the student athlete s over the full length of their college careers and ascertained that although the student athlete s arrived at their school with optimism and strong expectations for academic success, they and participation in athletic programs the social isolation from the general student body, and a gap between many student athlete abilities and classroom expectations led to a diminution in academic per formance and progression to graduation.
31 NCAA Standards from the 1980s to the Present eligibility standards, and utilizing centralized governance w as well established by the 1980 s. Although the NCAA did have some successes enforcing its rules, controversies surrounding academic deficiencies and questionable academic practices at universities considered by others to be athletic powerhouse universi ties persisted through the 1970s and the 1980 s. A multitude of NCAA violations continued to occur at these institutions; some of the most serious infractions included inappropriate recruiting, financial aid abuses, and academic fraud especially related to student athletes receivin g passing grades for classes they never attended and institution wide cheating scandals (Blackman, 2008). These prob lems persisted through the 1990 s and even into the new millennium bringing about a call for even greater oversight of student athlete demic achievement and academic integrity (Benford, 2007). National reform minded groups such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA), and the Knights Commission called for a greater fa culty role in athle tic governance so that athletic programs could help to augment the academic missions of institutions rather than undercut them (Lawrence, Ott, & Hendricks, 2009). Student athlete s at major Division 1 universities continued to lag be hind the general student cohort in academic success. A recent study using 3 years of data collected in the mid 1980 s on all students at Clemson University showed that student athlete s did not achieve academic success at the same level as their nonathletic peers (Maloney & McCormick, 2003). The researchers found that the average GPA of student athlete s was statistically significantly different from the GPA of non student athlete s. By controlling various background factors, the researchers found that the reas ons for this disparity included student athlete s arriving at college
32 with far lower SAT scores, inferior high school ac ademic preparation, and below average high school academic performances. Graduation rates for all student athlete s were about 10% lower t han the rest of the student body and the grades of football and male basketball players were considerably lower than their athletic peers from nonrevenue sports (p. 562). Proposition 48 Proposition 48 was implemented by the NCAA in 1986 to heighten aca demic standards for incoming freshman student athlete s and produce a higher graduation rate for them (Davis, 2006). Student athlete s had to meet these standards in order to gain initial eligibility. This academic reform package required that potential stud ent athlete s have a minimal level of academic qualifications that included 1) earning a score of at least a 700 on the SAT or a 15 on the ACT, 2) completing eleven core academic course while in high school, and 3) achieving a minimum GPA of 2.0 in those co urse courses in order to be eligible to participate in athletic programs (Sack, 1984). A study by Heck and Takahashi (2006) examined the graduation rates of the freshman student athlete s in 105 NCAA Division 1A (now called Division I FBS) football programs before and after Proposition 48 was implemented. Using a time series structural equation model football players at these programs rates in t he years just before Proposition 48 was implemented had averaged around 42%. They also found that t he graduation rates of the first set of freshmen in the football programs enrolled after the implementation of Proposition 48 were higher (53.5%) than pre po licy levels. This corresponded closely to a 1999 NCAA report that listed graduation rates for these Division 1 football programs in 1992 to be approximately 51%. This same report ood at 41%. These rates compared to a 54% overall male student body graduation rate at Division 1 schools.
33 The implementation of Proposition 48 appeared to have a positive impact on student athlete academic performance. However, as a result of Proposition 48, the amount of eligible student athlete for athletic programs at average prestige and low prestige institutions (Heck & Takahashi, 2006). In o rder to fill the gaps caused by fewe r eligible athletes these institutions changed their recruiting strategies and recruited more aggressively from junior colleges. Proposition 48 did not impact the athletic recruitment of freshmen at high prestige universities. Although the overall pool of eligible freshmen became smaller, student athlete s that were eligible continued to look at these high prestige universities first and foremost for their future participation in college athletic programs. Proposition 16 In response to a 1991 report by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the NCAA instituted an even stronger NCAA academic ref orm package in 1996 Proposition 16 established higher initial academic eligibility requirements for student athlete s who wanted to participate in NC AA athletic comp etition and receive athletic financial aid. The NCAA added two additional courses to the core requirements already established in Proposition 48. As with Proposition 48, the standards required that freshman student athlete s earn a minimum S AT score and a minimum GPA in core high school courses in order to be eligible to compete and receive athletic financial aid. However, these minimums were created on a sliding scale so that a higher high school GPA would allow for a lower SAT requirement. Like Proposition 48, Proposition 16 affected which students would realize the opportunity to participate in athletics at Division 1 schools ( Amato, Gandar, & Zuber, 2001 ). These more stringent college ent ry standards resulted in a greater percentage of Bl ack male student athlete
34 financial aid. A National Center for Edu cational Statistics (NCES) (1996 ) study revealed that while 67% of the White college bound seniors would have met standards only 46% of their Black peers would have met those same standards. Student athlete s from lower socio economic classes were also affected disproportionately. Several legal challenges were brought against the implementatio n of Proposition 16 claiming that it had an intentional discriminatory impact (Waller, 2003). In response to the lawsuit, in 2003 the NCAA lowered the academic requirements of Proposition 16 and amended the sliding scale initial eligibility index to be les s restrictive and less discriminatory. Since the NCAA put these more stringent standards into p lace in the mid 1980 s, all student athlete s at Division I universi ties, on average, have match ed or exceed ed the graduation rates of their corresponding stud ent cohorts (Ferris, Finster, & McDonald, 2004). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for football and male basketball players at these same have trended up ward slightly, a large gap continues to exist between the graduation rates of these players and other student athlete s in non revenue generating sports. Academic Performance Program The Knight Commission has continued to revisit the issue of academic integrity in college athletics through the new millennium. A report in 2001 called for a greater emphasis on increasing the graduation rates of student athlete s (Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics). In response to this call for greater emphasis on per sistence to graduation, the most recent and impacting academic reform package for academic eligibility requirements was adopted in 2004 by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors In order to help increase the graduation rates of student athlete s, specifi cally football and student athlete s, the NCAA began implementing the Academic Performance
35 Program (APP) (Christy, Seifried, & Pastore, 2008). As mentioned previously, the APP is a comprehensive reform package comprised of two main componen ts, the Academic Progress Rate (APR) and the Graduation Success Rate (GSR). Both the APR and the GSR are components of continued movement towards graduation persist ence. academic d on a points system. Low team APR scores can lead to loss of scholarships and inaccessibility to postseason play. Gill and Goff a ls o described the GSR provide graduation data that The GSR takes into account the academic e ligibility of student athletes who transfer so that the schools from which the student athletes are transferring are not punishe d for non persistence. Other NCAA Mandates Over the past two decades, the NCAA has also considered other factors of college success in the lives of student athlete s beyond their athletic commitments and academic eligibility and persistence. Additional di rectives by the NCAA have been established so as to help student athlete s balance their lives as college athletes and students (Carodine, Almond, & Grotto, 2001; Gaston Gayles & Hu, 2009). To specifically facilitate their social and academic integration on campus, the NCAA stipulated that student athlete s should live and socialize with their non student athlete peers on campus (Norton & Howard Hamilton, 2000). To encourage this, the NCAA stated that less than half of the residents in any institutional resid ence halls were allowed to be student athlete s. It was believed that this student integration would help with the development of both the student athlete s and the non student athlete s (Watt & Moore, 2001).
36 The NCAA also addressed the intense time demands o f the athletic training and competition of college student athlete s by restricting the amount of time student athlete s are allowed to spend participating in athletics both on a daily and week ly basis In addition, the NCAA developed other programs to help student athletes. For example, t he NCAA Student athlete Affairs program (form erly the NCAA CHAMPS/LifeSkills and Student athlete Development) offers student development and life skills support to its member institutions (NCAA, n.d. b ). Several programs hav e been developed and supported by the NCAA over the past two decades to help college student athlete s integrate socially and academically on campus. These programs, both supported and financed partly through the NCAA, provide student athlete s opportunities to further enhance their experience and growth, personally and professionally, through classes, workshops, community service and leadership opportunities. Student athlete s are also encouraged to examine career options and participate in community service. Another program the NCAA helped to establish and fund is its Degree Completion Award Program. This program provides financial assistance for tuition, fees, and the cost of books for student athlete s at Division I schools who have exhausted their eligibil ity for institutional financial aid and are within 30 hours of graduation (NCAA, n.d. c ). The key goals of the program are to track relevant information about non completing former student athlete s, identify former coaches and mentors who have personal and influential relationships with the student athlete s so they can encourage non completers to return to school, and disperse funds in support of the program. The literature has shown that the high visibility of Division I athletic programs warrants tha t these institutions must focus on using NCAA academic standards and programs as
37 guideposts for providing academic support and guidance to their student athlete s at every step of their college lifespan. In the next section, the unique challenges and needs that theses college student athlete s face are examined. Understanding College Student athlete s Intercollegiate athletics permeate university tradition and are tied to the ideals of a holistic higher education where the value of discipline, perseverance, a nd collaboration can be learned by both the spectators and the student athlete s (Duderstadt, 2003). Student athlete s, connect the playing fields to the student body, faculty, and alumni. Their high visibility may bring with it notoriety and preferential treatment, but there are also inimitable issues that these student athlete s experience while in college that can produce sizeable challenges to their academic suc cess (Crom, Warren, Clark, Marolla, & Gerber, 2008). While college student athlete s and their non student athlete peers face similar development issues, student athlete s must also cope with the athletic culture on campus and the pressure of athletic performance and the public scrutiny that comes with it from alumni, the media, and their peers (Greer & Robinson, 2006; Jolly, 2008). These differences make it important then to review extant literature that specifically addresses college student athlete s when investigating their academic success and persistence. The Unique Attributes of College Student athlete s College student athletes have unique experiences that often great ly impact their day to day lives. They face greater time management issues and rigid scheduling, isolation from other students, and other personal difficulties that affect their lives as students (Watt & Moore, 2001). After attending their daily classes, they must also face the physical and mental exhaustion that comes from their daily practices and workouts (Greer & Robinson, 2006). For many
38 student athlete s, attendance at scheduled study halls after practice is mandatory so that they can earn good enoug h grades to main tain their athletic eligibility and meet the appropriate NCAA progression requirements tow ards graduation (Gaston Gayles, 2009 ). The pressure to continually find both athletic and academic success can cause college student athlete s to feel tremendous strain (Carodine, Almond, & Gratto, 2001). In fact, as Miller and Kerr (2002) suggested, many student athlete 347). In a 2008 literature review on the unique att ributes of college student athlete s, Jolly pointed out that the challenges that these student athlete s face on campus, especially their rigid time constraints, can often lead to extensive emotional stress and physical exhaustion. The intense demands that c ollege student athlete s often experience can negatively affect their identities as students and student athlete s, and impede their opportunities to interact meaningfully with their teachers. Jolly noted that although stereotypes of student athlete s as student athlete s to be to student athlete experiences and academic fa ilures in the late 1990s, more recent studies have indicated that participating in college athletics does not impact the academic and psychosocial experiences of college student athlete s adversely. A study by Ferris, Finster, and McDonald (2004) suggested that when Division I college student athlete student athlete s. The authors proposed that these norma tive experiences derive from the similarity in college student athlete
39 culture in which they are immersed from the moment they arrive on campus. The vast academic support services available for stude nt athlete s at Division I universities become what the graduation rates for all college student athlete s. A 2006 study by Umbach, Palmer, Kuh, and Hannah found that in spite of the st ressors and hardships that male student athlete s on highly visible revenue generating teams might face, they generally have similar or better overall educational experiences than their non student athlete peers. Despite earning sli ghtly lower grades than their peers, these student athlete s are as engaged in educational activities as their non student athlete peers, and this engagement often leads them to develop greater feelings of overall support from the campus community and grea ter overall satisfaction with their college experiences. Understanding Black male College Student athlete s This part of the literature review will focus on the experiences of Black male student athlete s at institutions of higher education and the fact ors that affect their retention and persistence. It will be presented in the following sections: cognitive factors in academic preparedness and success, social factors in achievement and persistence, policies and programs of support for Black male student athlete s and institutional support and funding. Participating in college athle tics appears to help Black male student athletes persist to graduation. Although Black male student athlete s at many public universities and colleges across America progress and graduate at rates higher than their non student athlete Black peers on campus (Harper, 2006) a disparity continues to exist between White and Black male student athlete Black male and female student athlete raduation rates (Benson, 2000; Franklin, 2005; Harper, 2006; Hyatt, 2003; Lapchick, 2010 ). Many factors likely influence the persistence of Black male student athlete s to graduation including academic
40 under preparedness, academic failure and ineligibility, social background, socialization and identity awareness, and professional career plans. Cognitive Factors in Academic Preparedness and Success Research indicates that academic success and educational achievement is not a reality for the majority of B lack male s in the United States (Bailey, 2003). Nearly a quarter of Black male s leave school without a high school diploma and recent data indicated that only 33% of Black male on Statistics, 2011). Pre College Academic Preparation Low academic performance in high school is often a strong indicator of the risk of non high school grade poi nt average has the strongest correlation with college performance, retention, and persistence (Lotkowski, Robbins, & Noeth, 2004). As noted previously, a 1987 study by the American Institute for Research (as cited in Person & Lenoir, 1997) indicated that m any Black male student athlete s come to college with lower standardized test scores and grade point averages when compared to all student athletes They are often labeled academically at risk because of this and because of the likelihood that they will st ruggle academically through their coursework (Cuyjet, 1997 ; Hrabowski, 2002 ). These student athlete s face a larger challenge academically because the gap between their academic abilities and prepare dness and the demands of collegiate coursework and athleti cs can leave them with a daunting task as they strive for academic success without support (Benson, 2000). Although much of the available extant literature on student athlete s points to the negative effects athletic involvement plays in the academic perf ormance of all student athlete s, more recent studies show that sports participation does not necessarily negatively impact the grades or
41 graduation rates of Black male student athlete s (Baker, 2008; Martin, Harrison, Stone, & Lawrence, 2010). student athlete s receive a wealth of institutional support. Since the NCAA first used recommendations by the Knight Commission for implementing higher standards of persistence for all student athlete s, institutions of higher educat ion have developed specialized student success programs for student athlete s in order to address the new standards (Hyatt, 2003). With this profusion of additional academic support available to student athletes, p articipating in college athletics may actua lly help Black male student athlete s persist to graduation. Although Black male student athlete s have the lowest graduation rates of all student athlete s, some researchers argue that these academic support services help these student athlete s to persist since their graduation rate is much higher than their Black non student athlete peers (Kane, Leo & Hollerin, 2008). Academic support is an essential element of higher graduation rates. Hollis (2002) noted that schools admitting academically wea ker student athlete s more often provide more student services, and graduation rates of all student athlete s are positively correlated with the amount of student ser vices provided. High Achieving Black male Student athlete s While the majority of research o n Black male student athlete s at PWI paints a homogenous group of underprepared students, there are high achieving Black male student athlete s at universities and colleges across the nation These Black male student athlete s provide a counterpoint to the embedded stereotypes facing all Black male student athlete s. A 2006 study by Martin and Harris that examined 27 high achieving Black male student athlete s at four Division I universities found that all of the participants placed a high value on their acad emic success some even more than their athletic success. The student athletes often credited their strong self concepts and identities to their achievements ou tside of athletics. Several of the
42 nges by staying focused on their academic pursuits and long 372). They also indicated that their personal commitments to academic success were quite different from the majority of their teammates. Social Factors in Achievement and Persistence Psychosocial development and the social interactions within and among the entire college setting highly influence the academic achievement and persistence of Black male student athlete s. Research has shown that non cognitive factors may provide a greater influence on their overall academic success and persistence (Killeya, 2001; Watt & Moore, 2001; Lotkowski, Robbins, & Noeth 2004; Beamon & Bell, 2006; Melendez, 2008) Individual, family, team, and campus issues and distractions may affec t the emotional experiences of these students which might then impact their academic achievement and persistence (Melendez, 2008). A thletic identity, backg round/socialization and athletic performance and self esteem are some of the social factors relate d to academic achievement and persistence of Black male student athletes. Athletic Identity of Black male Student athletes Black male student athlete s and their non student athlete peers face similar issues relating to establishing racial identity, but Black male student athlete s also face additional challenges to their sense of identity because of the profound impact their athletic ability makes on their overall identity (Howard Hamilton & Sina, 2001). Despite the fact that their racial and athletic ide ntities are unconsciously linked, many Black male student athlete s focus primarily on their athletic identity and disregard other identities (Harrison & Lawrence 2003). A study by Brown, Ja ckson, Brown, Sellers, Keiper, and Manuel (2003) determined that athletic and racial identities were negatively correlated for Black student athlete s. The authors noted that while White
43 student athletes with great athletic identity had corresponding levels of racial identity, Black student athletes with a strong athleti c identity most often conveyed lower levels of focused racial identity. Black student athlete s may face additional issues of identity development because their racial and ethnic development is often tied closely to their self esteem (Harrison, Harrison, & Moore, 2002). The literature consistently showed that the negative and positive re inforcements that these student athlete s receive for their athletic endeavors can both facilitate and impede the development of their identities and their successes as stu dent athlete s and as students (Brown, et al., 2003; Watt & Moore, 2001). Brown et al. also found that Black student athlete s were less willing than White student athlete s to hear negative feedback from their coaches and more likely than White student athlete s to believe that coaches should earn the respect of their players (Brown et al.). Black male student athlete s playing in revenue producing sports (e.g., football identity development because o f stereotype threat (Steinfeldt, Reed, & Steinfeldt, 2010). The lack of progression in the identity development of Black male student athlete s and emphasis on athletics might impede their academic progress. Beamon and Bell (2006) suggested that during the socialization of Black male student athlete s, greater emphasis is placed on their athletic abilities than on their academic abilities Other research further substantiates the premise that academic performance by Black mal e student athlete s decreases as their focus on athletics incr eases (Brown, Jackson, Brown, Sellers, Keiper, & Manuel, 2003; Beamon & Bell, 2006). Black male student athlete s are especially surprised by their perceptions that some of their professors, co aches, and classmates hold and express a negative view of their academic abilities (Melendez, 2008). I n their 2006 study of an entire football team at a Division I
44 University, Beamon and Bell found that the Black student athletes experienced higher rates o f academic probation, suspension, and ineligibility than their White counterparts despite the fact that White players were academically performing worse Beamon and Bell speculated that this might be due to lower expectations by instructors or racism, perc eived or actual, against the Black male student athlete s. The researchers argued that s tudents at higher levels of Black identity development would likely be more able to diffuse the perception of racism. Otherwise, academic success m a y decline, and the Bl ack male student athlete could be hampered. Howard Hamilton and Sina (2001) suggested that since the athletic ability of Black male student athlete s so profoundly impacts their holistic identity, they need specialized assistance in developing an identity and personality based on all of their strengths. Harrison and Lawrence (2003) noted that role models can be especially useful in encouraging student athlete s to develop both an athletic and academic identity. Background and Socialization Black male student athlete s come from diverse socioeconomic and academic backgrounds, yet there are demographic tendencies that can be ascribed to this population in general (Person & Lenoir, 1997). A 1987 study by the American Institute for Research (as cited in Person & Lenoir, 1997) revealed that many Black male student athletes are more likely to be first generation college students (i.e. students who are first in their family to attend a postsecondary institution). The study also indicated that the families of Black male football and basketball student athletes are more likely to be from a lower socioeconomic status (SES) and are more often headed by women than th eir White peers Finally, the study noted that Black male student athletes are quite often academically underprepared for college; they score in the lowest quartiles in both standardized testing and their high school grades prior to beginning college.
45 Pers on and LeNoir (1997) suggest ed that while Black male student athletes are more likely to have stronger ambitions about attending and completing college, earning a postsecondary degree is not necessarily the primary goal of their college experiences. O nce in college, Black male student athlete s may fa ce socialization issues that might impede their academic progress. Beamon and Bell (2006) suggested that Black male student athlete s in college place grea ter emphasis on their athletic identity than their academic identity during their initial socialization into their academic and student athlete roles Research further indicate d that academic performance by Black male student athlete s decreases as their focus on athletics increases (Brown, Jackson, Brown, Sellers, Keiper, & Manuel, 2003; Beamon & Bell, 2006). Beamon and Bell (2006) suggested that the parents of Black male student athlete s can profoundly affect the academic success of their sons in college. Their research indicated that t always receive guidance and support from their parents towards academic success although the more that Black parents emphasize academic performance over athletic achievement, the greater the player will succeed in their courses (Hyatt, 2003; Beamon & Bell 2006). Beamon and Bell also found that when Black parents and are more involved in their lives, their Black male student athlete sons find greater success both academically and socially. Athletic Performance and Self Esteem Black male student athlete s must often cope with the pressures of athletic performance and public scrutiny (Greer & Robinson, 2006). These student athlete s might feel more closely connected to and valued by their institutions because their team membership creates a direct and visible atmosphere of inclusion and support and because their athletic successes may provide recognition and acclaim among the genera l student population (Melendez, 2008).
46 On the other hand, their athletic prowess may prove detrimental in how their non student athlete peers consider them. A study by Knapp, Rasmussen, and Barnhart (2001) evaluated the responses of 1028 college studen ts at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in order to determine student body perceptions about their athletic teams. While not necessarily representative o f all American universities, this study provide d a reasonable model on which to assess non student attitudes and beliefs about student athlete s at all Division I universities with expansive athletic programs. The study showed that student athlete s were perceived negatively by the student body, with over half of those surveyed i ndicating that student athlete Black male student athlete s are 2008). In turn, these negative perceptions can influence their self esteem since it is so closely bounded with their racial and ethnic development (Harrison, Harrison, & Moore, 2002). Their overall self esteem and anxiety, including that derived from both academic and athletic performance, is especial ly tied to their academic success and persistence (Killeya, 2001). Career Focus of Black male Football and Basketball Student Athletes When compared to the enrollments of all Black male undergraduates in higher education, Black male student athlete s are greatly overrepresented basketball squads Black student athlete s in football and basketball, in particular, have poorer academic performance and lower graduation rates because they o ften believe more in their post collegiate athletic careers than their academic options (Jameson, Diehl & Danso, 2007 ). A 1996 study by DeBrock, Hendricks, and Koenker investigated the graduation rates of Divis ion I football student athletes and male and female basketball student athletes The study found that male basketball student athletes have lower persistence compared to their female peers because they are the most likely to leave college for
47 opportunities have a significant impact has suggested but rather because ost students who fail to graduate do so by rational economic (p. 516). Edwa rds (2000) found fa ult with the role that athletic programs have played within the Black community because so many Black male student athlete s either place their focus more profoundly on their athletic ability with little focus on academic success or leave college early to play professionally. He noted that the stereotype of superiority in athletics for Black male student athlete s often leads to a general societal stereotype of their i nferiority in academics. This disparity between emphasis on academic athletic ability over academic ability may lead Black male student athlete s to believe in a greater financial gain from a professional sports career than from a career stemming from a co llege degree and then focus on their particular sport rather than on academics as a means to achieve success (Rishe, 2003). They may develop negative perceptions about non athletic professions, and this may lead them to focus less on their educational succ ess and career needs during their college years (Harrison, Harrison, & Moore, 2002; Harrison & Lawrence, 2003). A study by Person and LeNoir (199 7 ) reported that findings from a NCAA study showed that nearly half of the Black football and basketba ll players came from the lowest socio economic quartiles and most of them received either financial aid or an athletic scholarship. Since the majority of Black male college student athlete s at Division I universities play on the ll teams, then one of the most important factors in support of the persistence Black male student athlete s may be the receipt of financial aid in the form of institutional need based aid rather than scholarship awarded solely on athletic ability (Gerdy,
48 20 06). Cuyjet (1997) noted that as early as the 1950s, faculty led college athletics reform groups have suggested that it would be in the best interest of all student athlete financial support so that they are on campus, first and f oremost, to persist to graduation. Gerdy further suggested that the overall college experiences of student athlete s can become more well balanced, and a greater opportunity to integrate both academically and socially into their university would be realize d. A 2009 study by Mendez, Mendoza, and Archer used a student level dataset that took into account all students enrolled in four year regional colleges and research universities in Oklahoma that completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ). The researchers noted that financial aid packages in the form of grants were specifically most important in the retention of low income minority student athlete s. However, contradictory information showed that Black student athlete s who received similar financial aid packages (grants or loans) were less likely to persist than their White peers Institutional su pport for the retention of male college student athlete s is essential at all levels within the in s t itu tion, but structured support specifically f or h elping Black male student athlete s achieve academic success and persist to graduation must begin at the highest institutional levels. Howard Hamilton and Sina (2001) suggested that senior academic, student affairs, and athletic department administrat ors must develop policies and research based programs which support both the cognitive and psychosocial identity development of these student athlete s and their persistence to graduation. They further elaborate d that collaboration must be developed between the athletic department and the rest of the institution so that the policies and programs enacted for all student athlete s correlate with the academic goals of the institution and the overall developmental needs of all students. The expertise of college
49 a dministrators, faculty, student affairs professionals, counselors, and athletic department personnel must converge and be used to assist both the cognitive and psychosocial development of student athlete s especially Black male student athletes, in order t o increase retention and persistence (Valentine & Taub, 1999). All of the support for student athletes, along with the real costs of running athletic programs, obviously requires a sizeable amount of funding. Costs for athletic department personnel, bot h for coaching and non coaching personnel, as well as large insurance costs for student athletes are just some of the items that drive athletic spending increasingly upward (Knights Commission, 2010). Cunningham and Sagas (2002) suggested that college athl etic programs require extensive support from e xternal individuals and groups. Recently, this drive for earnings and the amount of spending on athletics has become an issue of concern not only because of the sheer amount spent but also due to the rate at which the spending is growing. A 2010 Knights Commission report on Division I FB S athletic spending showed that the athletics spending on student athletes at all 11 FBS conferences was vastly outpacing the academic spending on student athletes Consequently, financial support from ticket sales and television broadcasts must be used to help fund these costs. Major FBS conferences have become money making powerhouses simply by participating in the BCS, because t eams that play in Bowl Championship Series (BCS) football bowl games can earn millions for their conferences and, therefore, als o for their institutions. The report further elaborated that the athletics spending cannot be met through athletics income alone, and most institutions must support their athletic programs with additional funding. Success for Student athlete s Comeaux and Harrison (2011) noted that theoretical models that specifically explain the academic success of college student athlete
50 researchers have relied, instead, on the previously mentioned models of academic success and Model of Academic Success for Student athlete s (2011), a theoretical framework that contains variables that have been foun d to be connected specifically to the college persistence of Division I student athlete student athlete s while still considering other theoretical models of retention, such as model, that take into account the ideas of social and academic integration (2011, p.235). atest academic reform standards. These interacting and progressive layers include: precollege characteristics (individual attributes, family background, and educational experiences); initial commitments (goal, sport, and institutional); college environment al factors (social and academic systems and integration); and developed commitments (goal, sport, and institutional). The focus of this study will be on the two layers of the model that include precollege characteristics and college environmental factors, including institutional social and academic systems and their role in student athlete persistence. Goals, institutional, and sport commitments will not be considered in this study. l is precollege characteristics. According to the authors, college students arrive on campus with an array of precollege characteristics that will directly and indirectly shape their college experiences. These characteristics include family background, edu cational experiences and preparation, and individual characteristics. As mentioned earlier, s tudent athlete is a characteristic often associated with the academic success of college student athlete s. The quality of the undergraduate experi ence for historically underserved students, such as Black
51 male s at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) can diverge dramatically from the experiences of White male students at these same institutions (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008). Black ma le student athlete s are often the least prepared academically, particularly those who play on revenue Comeaux and Harrison (2011) proposed that academic progression and persistence are the results of long term development that stems from interactions in the school environment. These environmental characteristics in another layer include the extent to which students integrate both socially and academically into the campus surroundings on physical and emotional levels. Social integration advances and evolves through encounters with new opinions, feelings, and ideals, and how student athlete s respond to these encounters is essential to their academic success in college. Social integration into the general student population for student athlete s occurs primarily through their involvement in campus extracurricular activities, connections with faculty, and interactions with peers other than their teammates in the classroom and out of it (Comea ux and Harrison, 2011). Involvement in student organizations on campus can facilitate greater social awareness and academic successes for student athlete s. These organizations, including academic honors groups, Greek letter organizations, religious groups, and political groups facilitate social adjustment by serving as settings for expression, advocacy and validation (Museus, 2008). Chickering and Gamson (1987) offered seven principles that would enhance student learning in higher education. One of the pri nciples, student faculty contact, is a key factor in student motivation and sense of belonging. Knowing faculty members on a more personal level learning and thei r future goals.
52 The social integration of Black male student athletes attending PWIs is a fundamental contributin g factor to their academic achievement and persistence. Black male s at PWI often have issues with self concept, racism, building support relationships, and membership in relevant communities (Sedlacek, 1999). It is then essential that Black male student athlete s at colleges and universities socialize with their peers so that they gain a sense of belonging and satisfaction with their overall college experience. Diverse interactions in college are particularly useful in developing both cognitive and psychosocial development (Chang, Witt, Jones, and Hakuta, 2003, as cited in Strayhorn, 2008). According to the model, academic integration comes p rimarily through academic success and intellectual development (Comeaux and Harrison, 2011). Although interactions with faculty have been previously discussed in terms of social integration, it bears saying that these interactions can also contribute to ac ademic success and academic integration. Harrison (2002) co created the Scholar Baller program which is meant to provide options and ideas for interactions for college student athlete s so as to improve their social and academic integration into their col lege environments. This program utilizes faculty and staff at all levels across the college campus to create and implement athletic and ethnic culturally relevant curriculum for student athlete s. Some researchers have suggested that Black male college stud ent athlete s are often seen as lacking a commitment to their academic success. They do not use their out of class time wisely, and they do not spend an adequate amount of time studying and preparing for their classes (Harper, 2005). When they do study, the y often study alone and seldom socialize with students from their classes, even other Black students (Gordon and Bridglall, 2004). Faculty who place a heavy emphasis on effective teaching, value scholarly thought, and hold high academic
53 expectations for Bl ack male s are more likely to have a greater impact on their cognitive growth (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991, as cited in Seifert, Drummond, & Pascarella, 2006). Effective teaching is enhanced by significant faculty interactions with students both in and out of the classroom. In fact, positive faculty student classroom interactions are likely the most important factor in academic achievement and persistence for Black male s at PWI (Davis, 1994, as cited in Dawson Threat, 1997). Conceptual Model The conceptu al model of this study (Figure 2.1 ) Model of Academic Success for Student athlete s as a framework to illustrate the relationship between selected individual, team, institutional, and athletic conference factors that may i nfluence the persistence of Division I FBS male college student athlete s. Comeaux and Model of Academic Success for Student athlete s is a comprehensive model that takes into account both quantitative and qualitative attributes of college studen t athlete s, thereby exc eeding the scope of this study. In particular, I used data derived from the NCAA Student athlete Experiences Data Archive, in particular, the data set, NCAA Division I and II Graduation Success Rate and Academic Success Rate, 1995 20 02 [United States] which does not include any data about the qualitative attributes of college student athlete s. Therefore, I selected only relevant Model of Academic Success for Student athlete s that are found in the data set to be used for the study. Chapter Summary This extensive literature reviewed provided empirical data on the historical background of the NCAA academic standards, the unique characteristics of college student athlete s, and the cognitive, social, and institutional characteristics of Black male college student athlete s that are connected to their persistence. A theoretical framework of college student academic success was
54 then reviewed and utilized to build a conceptual model to be used to investiga te the graduation success rate of Division I male college student athlete s, with particular emphasis on Black male student athlete s.
55 Figure 2 1 Conceptual model: Graduation success r ates of Division I FBS Black male s tudent athletes Precollege Characteristics NCAA Standards Individual Attributes Academic and Social System Sports Affiliation Institutional Types Conference Affiliation Graduation Success Rate
56 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The objective of C hapter 3 is to describe the research methodology used to conduct this study. I begin C hapter 3 by reintroducing the purpose of the study. The next section will present the research questions and the associated hypot heses that will guide this inquiry. I will then provide an overview of the data sources, descriptions of the dependent and independent variables and their operational definitions, and the quantitative analytical methods used in this study. Chapter 3 will c onclude with a discussion of the limitations inherent to the study. The intent of this dissertation research is to conduct a quantitative study to examine the graduation success rates of male student athlete s initially enrolled at National Collegiate Athl etic Associati on (NCAA) Division I F ootball Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions from 1995 20 02. This study will utilize the federal graduation rates (FGR) based on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Graduation Rates (IPEDS GRS) as well as t he NCAA Graduation Success Rates (GSR) The FGR considers the six year proportion of those students and student athletes who graduated from the institution in which they initially enrolled. Specifically, the FGR for student athletes uses a proportion of s tudent athletes who graduated from the institution in which they initially enrolled compared to those who entered an institution on institutional aid. The GSR compare s the number of student athlete s who enter a university in a given year and the number of student athlete s who graduated from any institution within six years of their initial enrollment (Paskus, 2011). This study will analyze the institutional level data wi across the nation. To that end, there is a primary research question and four sub questions guiding this study:
57 How do individual characteristics (i.e. race/ethnicit y), sports team affiliation, institutional characteristics, and conference affiliation relate to the graduation rates of Division I FBS male student athlete s? 1. What is the relationship between race/ethnicity (e.g. Black, White) and the graduation rate s of male student athletes at NCAA Division I FBS schools? 2. What is the relationship between collegiate sport affiliation (e.g. football, basketball) and the graduation rates of male student athlete s at NCAA Division I FBS schools ? 3 What is the relatio nship between instituti onal type (e.g. public/private) and the graduation rates of male student athlete s at NCAA Division I FBS schools ? 4 What is the relationship between conferences affiliations (e.g. Southwestern, Big 12, Big Ten) and the graduation ra tes of male student athlete s basketball at NCAA Division I FBS schools ? Answers to these research questions will be addressed with an examination of conference, institutional, squad, and student level data from the NCAA S tudent athlete Experiences data archive. The resultant findings are intended to provide a better understanding of contemporary trends in the academic persistence of male college student athlete s, specifically those in high profile/high revenue sports (e.g. behind those from other intercollegiate sports teams in t he past two decades Proposed Hypotheses As previously noted, there is only a limited amount of contemporary extant literature that addresses recent trends in the graduation rates of Division I FBS student athlete s, specifically after the most recent academic reforms were initiated in 2004 by the NCAA (NCAA, n .d.d) Furthermore, it appears that some researchers may even look beyond recent trends in graduation rates by ignoring the latest NCAA graduation success rates for student athlete s and rely ing on older data (Eitzen, 2009; Baker 2008) Other researchers might acknowledge the academic progress of student athlete s in r ecent years, but then point more fervently to gaps that might
58 exist between student athlete s from differing gender, racial or ethnic groups, or between different college teams/squads (Lapchick, 2010). Based on the research questions guiding this study and the contradictory results found in the extant literature, the following null hypotheses are proposed: Hypothesis 1: There are no significant differences in the graduation success rates of Division I Black and White male student athlete s Hypothesis 2: T here are no significant differences in the graduation success rates of Division I student athlete s par basketball. Hypothesis 3: There are no significant differences in the graduation success rate s of Division I male bask etball student athlete s based on institutional types (public/private). Hypothesis 4 : There are no significant differences in the graduation success rate s of Division I football student athlete s based on institutional types (public/private). Hypothesis 5: There are no significant differences in the graduation success rates of Division I male basketball student athlete s based on conference affiliations (Southeastern/Big 12/Big Ten). Hypothesis 6: There are no significant differences in the graduation success rates of Division I football student athletes based on conference affiliation (Southeastern/Big 12/Big Ten). Data Sources Data for this study were derived from the NCAA Student athlete Experiences Data Archive. In particular, the data set, NCAA Division I and II Graduation Success Rate and Academic Success Rate, 1995 2002 [United States] includes the federal graduation rate for all NCAA member institutions who participated in Division I sports beginning from 1995 through 2002 and the Graduation Success Ra te (GSR) for all Division I institutions (Paskus, 2011). As stated previously, the NCAA has always collected an abundance of varying information about its student athlete s, yet it has only recently provided access to academic scholars and the general publi c The NCAA Student athlete Experiences Data Archive encompasses the most comprehensive and recent aggregate level data released by the NCAA to date. Its release is
59 meant to help answer research questions posed by higher education administrative staff, fac ulty members, athletic staff personnel, the media, student athlete s, and all others in higher education. The dissemination of the data allows researchers and administrators the opportunity to understand the graduation trends in NCAA athletic programs, adva nce discussions about these trends, and offer new policy and programmatic recommendations to improve these trends. Measures Dependent Variable s The educational experiences of college student athlete s have become an increasing concern to the NCAA over the past two decades, and these concerns have evolved from a primary focus on meeting entrance standards and maintaining player eligibility status to a more centralized spotlight on successful academic degree completion (Gayles & Hu, 2009; Satterfield, Croft, & Godfrey, 2010). Graduation rates have become the primary measure of academic success for college student athlete s at NCAA member institutions ( Watt & Moore, 2001). The primary focus of this study is the graduation success rates of male student athlete s initially enrolled at NCAA Division I FBS institutions from 1995 2002. In this study, student athlete s are considered to be any individuals who are on the roster of an intercollegiate sport at a Division I FBS four year institution, regardless of institut ional aid received. Student athlete The dependent variable s for this study are measured as continuous variables based on the percentage of students who complete a college undergraduate degr ee. The variables represent the federal graduation rates (FGR) based on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Graduation Rates (IPEDS GRS) and the NCAA graduation success rate s (GSR) of college student athlete s at NCAA Division I FBS schools. The data set utilized in this study provides
60 both the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Sy stem ( IPEDS ) Graduation Rates and the NCAA Division I Graduation Success Rates for the 1995 2002 cohorts. Graduation rates data are collected on the number of students entering the institution as full time, first time, degree/certificate seeking undergraduate students in a particular year (cohort) who graduate within six years of entry (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). These six years are equiva lent to 150% of what is considered the normal time required to attain a T he Division I Graduation Success Rate (GSR) includes student athlete s who transfer into an institution while exclud ing student athlete s who separate from the institution and would have been academically eligible to compete had they returned. These differences from how the federal government interprets graduation rates for college students are likely more accurate since they point to final graduation attainment regardless of student transfers (Satterfield, Croft,& Godfrey, 2010). Independent Variables This study is unique in that it focuses primarily on Black male Division I FBS football and basketball student athletes The independent variables include the race/ethnicity of the student athlete s which is consistent with Come precollege individual attributes. Sports affiliation, institutional characteristics, and conference affiliation are c onsistent with Come Finally, the model depicts the sole dependent variable: the NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) which fa lls under academic success The i ndependent variables utilized in this study were provided by the NCAA Student athlete Experiences Data Archive, including institutional data from IPEDS GSR Independent variables were separated into the following categories: 1 ) race/ethnicity, 2 ) sports team affiliation, 3 ) institutional type, and 4) conference affiliations.
61 Race/Ethnicity The rationale for including race/ethnicity in this study comes from higher education literature. Research indicates that academic success and educational ach ievement is not a reality for the majority of Black male s in the United States (Bailey, 2003). In 2008, nearly 55% of all first year institution completed their degree within 6 years (Nat ional Center for Education Statistics, 2011). As noted previously, during that same time period, only 33% of corresponding Black male college investigate this disparity more thoroughly in recent years (Diprete & Buchmann, 2006; Harper, 2006; Strayhorn, 2008). Conversely, extant literature (e.g. Carter, 200 1 ; Hamilton, 2005; Hollis 2002) has suggested that participating in college athletics appears to help Black male s pers ist to graduation, student athlete s at major universities receive a wealth of institutional support both academically and socially. Black male college student athlete s at most NCAA FBS schools are graduating at significant ly higher rates than their non athletic peers (Harper, 2006). For example, by 2010, the NCAA GSR of Black football players at Division I FBS bowl bound schools reached nearly 60% (Lapchick, 2010). Despite the fact that Black male student athlete s at many public universities and colleges across America may progress and graduate at rates higher than their non athletic Black peers on campus, extant literature and recent NCAA reports on persistence indicate that a disparity continues to exist between White a nd Black male student athlete 2008; Harper, 2006; Martin, Harrison, Stone & Lawrence, 2010 ) The study intends to investigate these differences.
62 Sports Team Affiliation basketball) in this study is established in the higher education literature. While the NCAA has recently presented the graduation rates of student athlete s at all time high s (Paskus, 2011) extant literature has pointed to the graduation rates of male student athlete s who participate in Gayles, 2004; Miller & Kerr, 2002; Sack, Park, & Thiel, 2011). None of these studies have utilized recent NCAA data in their investigations. Therefore, it is important to use recent NCAA data to investigate whether significan tly from the student athlete population. It is also relevant to determine whether Black and White student athlete s on these teams have significantly different graduation success rates. Institutional Types Although individual background characteristics and institutional experiences are more likely to play a greater role in college student persistence, higher education persistence theory and retention models also indicate that certain institutional characteristics of 4 year universities and colleges also have contextual effects on studen t persistence (Berger & Millem, 1999 ; Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayek, 200 7 ; Mangold, Bean, & Adams, 2003; Titus, 2004). Kuh, Kinzie, B uckley, Bridges, and Hayek (2007 ) suggested that institutions with smaller enrollment, primarily non profit private schools, are more likely to engage students since lower faculty student ratios and smaller class sizes provide greater opportunities for interaction between faculty members students, and their peers. Other extant literature has noted that college higher education than at similar public institutions (LaForge & Hodge, 2001; Scott, Bailey, & Kienzl, 2006).
63 Conversely, Mangold, Bean, and Adams purported that when comparing only large universities and excluding smaller liberal arts college, size is positively related to persistence. The inconsistencies in these studies indicate that f urther research is needed. In this study, I will specifically look at the graduation success rates of Black and White male student athlete s at public and private FBS institutions in order to determine if a significant difference can be found between them. Sports Conference Affiliations NCAA Division I FBS athletic conferences and teams receive high media exposure through participation in bowl games in football and in the NCAA basketball tournaments at the end of each season. Highly successful and visibl e college athletics can often cultivate positive perceptions about institutional quality and prestige, especially to prospective students, college alumni, and financial supporters (Fisher, 2009). A number of extant studies (e.g., Clopton, 2008; Fisher, 200 9; McEvoy, 2005; Rhoads & Gerking, 2000; Rishe, 2003; Tucker, 2005) have basketball programs, at universities or colleges can increase institutional graduation r ates. These studies have provided inconsistent and mixed results, and when considered collectively, little can be inferred. In this study, I will seek to determine whether the graduation rates of Black and White male student athlete s at FBS institutions a re significantly different based on conference affiliation. I will also seek to determine how these graduation success rates compare between the conferences. According to a 2010 report by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the SEC conferen ce, the Big 12 conference, and the Big Ten conference spent the most in athletic spending per student athlete in 2008. For this reason, they are included for evaluation in this study.
64 Analytical Methods This section provides an overview of the analytical m ethods that will be performed to address the research questions. I will use a quantitative approach to answer the research questions and hypotheses about the graduation success rates of male college student athlete s at Division I FBS schools. Data analysis will be conducted to generate the results presented in Chapter 4 The data analysis for this study will include a preliminary analysis of graduation success rates using descriptive statistics that illustrate trends in graduation rates for male student at hlete s these rates over time. Analysis will include t test comparisons on the dependent variable, graduation success rates, with respect to rac e/ethnicity, sports affiliation, and institutional characteristics. The purpose of ANOVA statistical methods (F tests) is to examine sample variances to test the equality of three or more population means (Triola, 2010). In this study, ANOVA statistical methods will be utilized to determine whether any observed differences exist between the mean graduation rates of student athlete s according to conference affiliations. If differences are found, t he Scheffe post hoc comparison test, using orthogonal contrasts, will be utilized to determine decrease the possibility of Type I errors when examining these contrasts (Huck, 2008). Study Limitations The intent of this empirical study is to examine the graduation success rates of male student athlete s initially enrolled at NCAA Division I FBS i nstitutions from 1995 2002. Data were made available through the NCAA Student athlete Experiences Data Archive. Although these data sets are likely the best available today, in order to follow the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and ensu re confidentiality, the data sets were
65 altered in order to limit the risk of disclosure (Paskus, 2011). These alterations in the data sets limit the specific tests that might be conducted or may lead to erroneous results and/or findings in this study. Specifically, this study will provide a critical analysis of the persistence of Black and White male college student athlete s at NCAA FBS institutions and will especially highlight those on highly visible and revenue basketball. Therefore, the study is somewhat limited in its generalizability to male student athlete s in other Division I institutions, as well as to all other male student athlete s competing in s tate colleges, junior colleges, and community colleges acro ss the county.
66 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the relationship between the graduation success rates of male student athletes initially enrolled at N ational Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions in the 2 002 cohort and selected characteristics of those student athletes. The characteristics explored in this study were race/ethnicity, sports affiliation, insti tutional characteristics, and conference affiliation C hapter 4 presents the results of descriptive statistics and inferential analyses of study data accomplished using SPSS 19.0 for Windows (2010) statistical package. I begin C hapter 4 with a presentatio n of the descriptive statistics followed by the results of t tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The descriptive statistics from the data set include frequency distributions, categorical descriptions, and time series representations of key variables. T his preliminary analysis section will be followed by a presentation and discussion of the results of the conducted t tests and ANOVAs. The data was analyzed to address the following research question: How do individual characteristics (i.e. race/ethnicity ), sports affiliation, institutional characteristics, and conference affiliation affect the gra duation rates of Division I FBS male student athletes? Demographics The sample consisted of a total of 120 institutions of higher education from the NCA A FBS c onferences The FBS is comprised of eleven conferences geographically located throughout the country that include 103 public institutions and 17 private institutions. The data set consisted of 11,602 male student athletes of which 4114 were football player s and 932 were ( Table 4 1) When considering the data by race/ethnicity, White student athletes comprised the majority ethnic/racial group for the entire male student athlete
67 2002 cohort ( Figure 4.1) However, Black student athlete s comprised the majority ethnic/racial ( Figures 4.2 and 4.3) Specifically, 57.3% (n = 6648) of the entire male student athlete cohort were White, 49.3% (n = 2028) of the male student athletes participating in football were Black, and 62.4% (n = 582) of the male student According to the data set, Black male student athletes only participated in 12 of the 16 sports in which NCA A FBS institutions participate. No Black male student athletes participated in fencing, skiing, water polo, or ice hockey for the 2002 cohort. Descriptive Statistics Table 4 3 provides descriptive statistics regarding t he NCAA Graduation Success Rates (GSR) for the 2002 student athlete cohort. As can be seen on the table, all male student athletes at Division I FBS in stitutions for the 2002 cohort had a mean GSR of 69.93 (SD = 13.71). The mean GSR f or Black male student athletes was 57.56 (SD = 14.35) while t he mean GSR for White male student athletes was 76.07 (SD = 10.47). The mean GSR for football student athletes was 65.11 (SD = 12.38) while the mean GSR for male basketball student athletes was 59.53 (SD = 22.12). The apparent gap between the GSR of Black and White male student athletes, as well as the apparent gap between football student athletes and male basketball student athletes supports further testing of the differences between their mean GSR T Tests Independent t tests were cond ucted in order to i nvestigate whether significant differences existed between student race/ethnicity, team sport, and institution t ype. Independent sample t tests were conducted on a basis of belief that the four unde rlying assumptions of independent t tests (randomness, independent data, normal distribution of the data, and same degree of variability of the data)
68 were not violated (Huck, 2008). In order to ensure that no violations have occurred, the results do not as sume groups have equal variances. The results of the t tests are presented in this section. Hypothesis One In order to investigate whether significant differences existed between student GSR for male student athletes based on race/ethnicity, a pa ired samples t test for related means was conducted for Black male student athletes and White male student athletes in all sports across the 1995 2002 cohorts ( Table 4 3 ) For the conducted t tests, significant differences were found for mean GSR between Black male student athletes and White male student athletes in all sports at the 0.001 alpha level ( t (119) = 21.29, p = .000). These results suggest that Black male student athletes have significantly lower GSR than White male student athletes. Hypothesis Two In order to investigate whether significant differences existed between student GSR for male student athletes based on sport a f filiation a paired samples t test for related means was conducted for male student athletes who played basketball and football ( Table 4 4 ) For the conducted t tests, significant differences were found for mean GSR between male basketball pl ayers and football players sports at the 0.0 1 alpha level ( t (119) = 3.23 p = .002 ). These results suggest that male basketball student athletes have significantly lower GSR than football student athletes. Hypotheses Three and Four In order to investigate whether significant difference existed between student GSR for student athletes w ho attended public institutions and private institutions, between group mean comparisons were made between public and private institutions for both male basketball student athletes (Table 4 5) and football student athletes ( Table 4 6 ) There were significant differences found for the mean GSR between male basketball student athletes attending public
69 institutions and private institutions at the 0.001 alpha level ( t (118) = 3.60, p = .000). There were also significant differences found for the mean GSR between football student athletes attend ing public institutions and private institutions at the 0.001 alpha level ( t (118) = 5.45, p = .000). The results suggest that both male basketball student athletes and football student athletes attending public institutions have significantly lower GSR th an their peer male basketball student athletes and football student athletes attending private institutions. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Between groups comparisons were also utilized in this present study in order to examine whether differences in the G raduation Success Rate (GSR) of male basketball student athletes and football student athletes were significantly different across conference affiliations. These ANOVA models were intended only to compare differences in graduation rates at the conf erence l evel and not the GSR of student athletes specifically. One way ANOVA tests were conduc ted to compare the GSR of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Big 12 Conference, and the Big Ten Conference. These conferences were selected for comparison because the ir individual Athletics, 2010). Hypotheses Five and Six The first ANOVA m odel provides an analysis of the graduation success rates (GSR) of male basketball players in the SEC, Big 12, and Big Ten (Table 4 8 ). T he ANOVA for GSR did not suggest that significant differences in GSR were present between male basketbal l student athl etes in the S EC, Big 12, and Big Ten (F=1.53, p = .22 3). A second ANOVA provides an analysis of the graduation success rates (GSR) of football student athletes in the SEC, Big 12,
70 and Big Ten (Table 4 10). The ANOVA results indicated that there are no sign ificant differences in GSR athletes in the SEC, Big 12, and Big Ten (F=.1.57 p = .233 ). Chapter Summary and Conclusion s The primary purpose of this study was to address questions regarding how individual characteristics (i.e. race/ethnicity), sports affiliation, institutional characteristics, and conference affiliation affect the gra duation rates of Division I FBS male student athletes. The findings from the descriptive and inferential analyses presented in Chapter 4 gen erated answers to the research questions in this study. In sum, there is evidence that there are some significant differences in GSR between male student athletes. When compared on whole, Black male student athletes have significantly lower GSR than White male student athletes. Chapter 5 will further discuss the results of the conducted analyses, weighed against the previous literature on this topic. Figure 4 1. Racial/ethnic percentages of the 2002 male student athlete c ohort 27.7 57.3 15 0 20 40 60 80 100 BLACK WHITE OTHER
71 Figure 4 2. Ra cial/ethnic percentages of the 2002 football s tudent athlete c ohort Figure 4 3. Racial/ethnic percentages of the 2002 basketball student athlete c ohort Table 4 1. Frequency of students by race/ethnicity and sport Frequency (Percentage) Race/ethnicity Black White Other All male student athletes 3214 (2 7. 7% ) 6648 ( 57.3% ) 1740 ( 15.0% ) Football student athletes 2028 ( 49.3% ) 1758 ( 42.7% ) 328 ( 8.0% ) Male basketball student athletes 582 ( 62.4% ) 225 ( 24.2% ) 125 ( 13.4% ) 49.2 42.8 7 0 20 40 60 80 100 BLACK WHITE OTHER 62.4 24.2 13.4 0 20 40 60 80 100 BLACK WHITE OTHER
72 Table 4 2 Descriptive statistics of G ra duation Success Rate (GSR) for c ohort 2002 Mean N Standard Deviation All male student athletes 69.93 120 13.71 All Black male student athletes 57.56 120 14.35 All White male Student athletes 76.07 120 10.47 Football student athletes 65.11 120 12.38 Male basketball student athletes 59.53 120 22.12 Table 4 3 Paired t test between Black male student athletes and White male student athletes in all sports across the 1995 2002 cohorts Mean GSR N Standard Deviation t df p value Black male student athletes 57.56 120 14.35 t = 21.29 119 P = 0.000 White male student athletes 76.07 120 10.47 Table 4 4 Paired t test between basketball male student athletes and football student athletes in the 2002 cohort Mean GSR N Standard Deviation t df p value Male basketball student athletes 59.53 120 22.12 t = 3.23 119 P = 0.002 Football student athletes 65.11 120 12.38
73 Table 4 5 Independent samples t test between public and private institutions for male basketball student athletes in the 2002 cohort Mean GSR N Standard Deviation t df p value Public 56.72 120 21.37 t = 3.60 11 8 P = 0.000 Private 76.59 120 19.20 Table 4 6 Independent samples t test between public and private institutions for football student athletes in the 2002 cohort Mean GSR N Standard Deviation t df p value Public 62.86 118 10.85 t = 5.45 11 8 P = 0.000 Private 78.71 120 12.65 Table 4 7 Analysis of variance comparing GSR for conference affiliation (SEC, Big 12, Big Ten) for male basketball student athletes Mean GSR N Standard Deviation F d f 1, df2 p value SEC 50.75 12 21.73 F = 1.53 2, 32 P = 0.223 Big 12 64.00 12 14.70 Big Ten 54.25 11 17.94
74 Table 4 8 Analysis of variance comparing GSR for conference affiliation (SEC, Big 12, Big Ten) for football student athletes Mean GSR N Standard Deviation F d f 1, df2 p value SEC 62.83 12 10.65 F = 1.57 2, 32 P = 0.233 Big 12 61.42 12 8.32 Big Ten 68.55 11 11.73
75 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSIONS AND CONC LUSIONS Until recently, much of the extant literature on student athletes in NCAA Division I schools painted a picture of academic failure, academic fraud, and illegitimate college student athletes (Benford, 2007; Eitzen, 2009; Simons, Bosworth, Fujita, & Jensen 200 7 ). This debasement of college student athletes has pervaded the national perspective of college athletics since the earliest stages of intercollegiate competition (Craughron, 2001; Gerdy, 2006; Sack, 2009). Over the past decade, academic reform, mea sured primarily in the form of college persistence, has become the primary concern and greatest focus of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and reform minded faculty (Benford, 2007; Gil l & Goff, 2008 ; Ridpath, 2008; Ridpath, 2010). This r esearch study examined national NCAA institutional level data in order to better understand the current graduation trends of Division I college student athletes. This study extends the literature base by challenging assumptions that there are no inherent d ifferences in the GSR among NCAA Division I FBS college student athletes. Research has contended that participating in athletics is positively correlated to academic success (Pascarella, Edison, Hagedorn, Nora, & Terenzini, 1996). There are four issues tha t were explored in the study: the relationship between race and ethnicity and the graduation rates of male student athletes; the relationship between collegiate sport affiliation and the graduation rates of male student athletes; the relationship between i nstitutional type and the graduation rates of male student athletes; and the relationship between conference affiliation and the graduation rates of male student athletes. Findings for this empirical study reveal that the majority of Division I college s tudent athletes are persisting to graduation, including Black male student athletes on highly However the study also finds that a significant
76 difference exists between the graduation rates of Black male student athletes and White male student athletes. This investigation updates and broadens the literature on the persistence of college student athletes at Division I schools and brings further awareness to the graduation success rates of Black male college studen t basketball. In C hapter 5 I will focus on the relationships between individual and institutional characteristics of college student athletes and their graduation success rates (GSR). This includes a look at the relationships between GSR and race/ethnicity, sport team, institutional type, and Model of Academic Success for Student Athletes as a framework to help to craft my research questions and to construct a conceptual model for this study. Specifically, three significant factors from the framework were considered: precollege characteristics, social integration and academic integration. F or this study, the corresponding measures that were studied included college student attributes related to race or ethnicity, sport and conference affiliations, and institutional types. This framework will consequently be utilized th roughout C hapter 5 as I interpret and connect the results of the study with the available extant literature. Graduation Success Rates of Divis ion I FBS Male College Student a thletes How do individual characteristics (i.e. race/ethnicity), sports affiliat ion, institutional characteristics, and conference affiliation relate to the graduation rates of Division I FBS male student athletes? Race and Ethnicity The results of this study rejected the null hypotheses that stated there are no significant difference s in the graduation success rates of Division I Black and White male student athletes. Specifically, the results suggest that White male student athletes at Division I institutions have
77 higher graduation success rates than Black male student athletes. Thes e results are in support of previous literature that suggested that Black male s in college have lower graduation rates (Bailey, 2003; Diprete & Buchmann, 2006; Harper, 2006; Strayhorn, 2008) Literature on Black male student athletes also suggested that th ey graduate at lower rates than their White peers (Benson, 2000; Franklin, 2005; Harper, 2006; Hyatt, 2003; Lapchic k, 2010; Lewis, 2010 ). In fact, much of the literature specifically addressed the lower graduation rates of Black male football and basketba ll student athletes (Franklin, 2005; Kane, Leo, & Holleran, 2008; Lewis, 2010; Maloney & McCormick, 1993). An assortment of explanations offered in the literature may illuminate why Black male student athletes have a lower graduation success rate than Whi te male student athletes. Black male student athletes are often at a disadvantage when they arrive on campus, because they are more likely to be academically under prepared for college level academic work than their White peers (Cuyjet, 1997; Hrabowski, 20 02). As a result of this their awareness of academic inadequacy might then exacerbate negative feelings about motivation to succeed academically (Gaston Gayles, 2004). Harper (2005) noted that Black male student athletes are not always committed to their academic achievement ; therefore Finally, pressure to perform athletically, especially for those student athletes participating in Black male student athletes to focus primarily on athletic success and to lose their focus on academics (Bell, 2009). Sport Team Affiliation The education and academic success of student athletes participating in football and rge amount of consideration in the research literature in recent years (Benson, 2000; Donnor, 2005; Ridpath, 2010; Splitt, 2007). As mentioned previously in
78 this study, much of the literature points directly to the lower graduation success rates of these s tudent athletes, particularly the Black male student athletes playing these sports (Franklin, 2005; Kane, Leo, & Holleran, 2008; Lewis, 2010; Maloney & McCormick, 1993). The study results indicate that there is a statist ically significant difference be tween the graduation success rates of Division I male student athletes participating in football and male student athletes participating in basketball. Football student athletes graduate at higher rates than basketball student athletes. These results are i n congruence with extant literature that has indicated that basketball student athletes have the lowest rates of all student athletes (Benson, 2000; Franklin, 2005; Gaston Gayles, 2004; Harper, 2006; Hyatt, 2003; Lapchick, 2010; Lewis, 2010; Miller & Kerr, 2002; Paskus, 2011 ; Sack, Park, & Thiel, 2011). The lower GSR of male basketball student athletes should likely be looked at as a comprehensive problem, but one reasonable explanation for this trend is that male college student athletes playing Division I basketball believe that they have a great opportunity to play basketball professionally, dismissing their need for a college degree. In fact, they likely detach themselves from academics because of their profound belief that they can play their sport pr ofessionally (Adler & Adler, 1991). DeBrock, Hendricks, and Koenker (1996) suggested that male basketball student athletes have lower persistence because they are the most likely to leave college for professional careers, and that their non persistence was due less to academic inadequacy and more because they can have a career playing basketball. Another plausible explanation for the lower graduation success rates of basketball student athletes is the time commitment that their in season play requires o f them. Simiyu (2010) suggested that student one of the major barriers between student athletes and their academic success. This is especially
79 true for football student athletes and male basketball student athletes. The NCAA 2010 GOALS and SCORE Studies of the Student Athlete Experience reported that Division 1 FBS football players spend over 40 hours a week on athletics during in season competition while basketball student athletes spend about 39 hours per week on athletics during in season competition. This time amount may appear to be nearly equivalent for both groups, but in season competition for basketball student athletes is different from in season competition for football stu dent athletes. Not only does in season play for basketball student athletes last longer, but it likely crosses two academic semesters. This means that two semesters worth of classes can be affect ed by in season competition. Ma ngold, Bean, & Adams (2003) v alidated this idea when they asserted that basketball is more disruptive of academic integration than football. Social integration, a key factor in the persistence of college student athletes according to the conceptual model used for this study, can also be affected by these time constraints. Gaston Gayles and Hu (2009) found that student basketball) had such limited time availability that they interacted less often with students outside of their s port team. As noted earlier in this study, social integration advances and evolves through encounters with other college students, especially non student athletes, and how student athletes respond to these encounters with other college students is essenti al to their academic success in college (Comeaux & Harrison, 2011). Institutional Type The study found consistent significant differences in the graduation success rates of Division I male student athletes based on institutional types (public/private ). In fac t, the results suggest that both male basketball student athletes and football student athletes have higher graduation success rates when they attend private institutions of higher education. The somewhat limited existing literature on the persist ence of college students at institutions of higher education
80 has mostly suggested that six institutions are lower than similar private institutions of higher ed ucation ( LaForge & Hodge, 2011; Scot t, Bailey, & Kienzl, 2006). Much of the extant literature that addresses higher graduation rates between public and private higher education institutions points more specifically to the higher selectivity of students at elite private colleges (Brewer, Eide, & Ehrenberg, 1999; Titus, 2004) These studies suggested that the academic ability of the students that attend those institutions and the positive impact of working with other academically able peers might be the specific impacting factors of attendin g private colleges and universities. Additionally, student athletes generally follow the graduation trends of the schools that they attend. Titus noted that t he top five schools in graduation rates have nearly matching graduation for its student athletes. Conference Affiliation Limited literature exists on the relationship between conference affiliation and college persistence. A 2010 Knights Commission report on Division I intercollegiate athletics investigated the most recent costs of competing and the rate at which these costs were increasing. Athletics spending for student athletes was found to be rising while at the same time academic spending for student athletes was flattening out. Institutional spending on high profile sports (e.g., football and me academic spending at those institutions. The top three conferences in Division I FBS athletics in athletic spending per athlete included the Southeastern (SEC), the Big 12, and the Big Te n. T he study sought to determine if there were any significant differences in the graduation rates of the male student athletes in the SEC Big 12, and the Big Ten The study results support the hypothesis that there are no significant differences in the g raduation success rates of Division I student athletes based on conference affiliation. There
81 we re no significant differences between the mean GSR of both male basketball student athletes and football student athletes in the SEC, Big 12, and Big Ten. The 2 010 Knights Commission finance showed that in 2008 that the median academic spending for all 11 conferences were within approximately $1000 of each other. surprising to f ind that the GSR of the stude nt athletes in these conferences are not significantly different. Chapter Summary Chapter 5 offered a discussion of the results of this study. Specifically, this discussion explored the relationship between the graduation success rate (GSR) of Division I FBS college student athletes and the individual and institutional characteristics of race/ethnicity, sport team, institutional type, and conference affiliation. The results were described for each dependent variable and by themes across the conceptual mo del. Chapter 6 provides a discussion of policy recommendations and future research focus.
82 CHAPTER 6 IMPLICATIONS Policy Recommendations A multitude of highly palpable scandals have plagued several NCAA Division I FBS institutions over the past year The most prominent scandals included a parent looking for pay t o play money for his son in trade for his return to Division I football (Owens 2011) football players at Ohio State University selling awards, gifts, and their athletic clothing for cash (Mu rschel, 2011) and most recently, the revelations against University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro who provided improper benefits, including financial and sexual, to student athletes while also collaborating with coaches in recruiting violations (Wolff, 2 011) In fact, it appears that the major academic scandals of years past may have become overshadowed by scandals related to recruiting and financial compliance rather than academic cheating and lack of academic persistence These recent scandals notwithst anding, the truth is that academic reform is still at the forefront of concern for college student athletes. C alls for greater improvement in the persistence of college s tudent athletes, especially Black male student athletes who pl f ootball still remain in the spotlight of higher educational persistence policy. In his 2010 report on bowl bound college football teams, Richard Lapchick, the director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, noted that although graduation success rates for Division I FBS football players are continuing to show gains, the gap between Black football student athletes and White football student (p. 1). In a 2011 report on the college basketball teams reaching the NCAA Sweet 16, Lapchick reported an even larger gap in graduation success rates between Black male basketball
83 student athletes and White male basketball student owl bound football players. While it may be striking to note that Black male student athletes graduate at rates higher than their Black non athletic pe ers, many Black leaders such as Syracuse professor Boyce Watkins (2011) intensely vocalize that the disp arity gap between White and Black male student athletes is too wide and must be lessened as a matter of civil rights In a March 25, 2010 commentary he wrote for ESPN.com, Arne Duncan, the U. S. Secretary of Education, addressed ams that seem largely indifferent to the academic success of their student season play. He specifically graduated a single player who had entered between 1999 and 2002. Despite the great progress in graduation success rates over the past two decades, one of the primary focal points discussed at the most recent meeting of NCAA leadership and university presid ents in August centered on the ongoing push for academic success and reform in Division I athletics (Potter, 2011). In an NCAA online report, Potter noted that president, Mark Emmert, the day, our mission is to requirement that its Academic Progress Rate (APR) indicates that at least 50% of their players are on track to graduate (Knights Commission, 2011). The results from this study have shown that graduation success rates (GSR) have improved for student athlet es since stronger standards for college admittance were initially established in the 1980s and more recently when increased focus was placed on the persistence
84 of college student athletes when the most recent and impacting academic reform package for acade mic eligibility requirements was adopted in 2004 by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors in 2004. However, while the results of the study showed that no significant differences were found for mean GSR between all male basketball players and football play ers collectively that male basketball players have significantly lower GSR than football players and that Black male student athletes still have significantly l ower GSR than White male student athletes. The results of this study provide for policy implications for higher education policy makers, leaders, and administrators at the federal, state, and institutional level. This includes officials at the NCAA, college presidents, senior academic and student affairs officers, athletic administrators and the athletic department staff. Policies and programs that continue to increase the graduation success of all student athletes, particularly Black male student athletes, are needed to ensure that these students have opportunities to become active and productive members of the communities to which they return when they have finished playing sports. The policy recommendations that I will propose are primarily centered on increasing persistence for Black male student athletes but would apply to all student athletes. Based on the findings and expositions of this study, I would like to suggest the following four policy recommendations. NCAA Policy Recommendations Increased Eligibility Standards The NCAA must continue to utilize the A cademic Performance Program (APP) in pro moting the academic success and persistence of NCAA Division I FBS college student athletes. A policy recommendation that addresses the GSR disparity gap between Black and White male student athletes is that the initial academic eligibility standards for all Division I student athletes should be increased. Adelman (1983) defined standards in terms of expectations
85 of performance and meeting objectives. Specifically, he contrasted the idea of standards with the notion of requirements, remarking that require ments refer strictly to credentials rather than accomplishments of learning. The NCAA uses both credentials and standards i n its NCAA Freshman Eligibility Standards (NCAA, n.d.e ). For Division I student are 16 core courses that must be completed in high school, including English, mathematics natural/physical science, social science and other coursework. In addition to these requirements, the NCAA uses a sliding scale standard that utilizes both the core grade point average (GPA) and a test score index based on SAT or ACT math and verbal scores. These standards are quite low. For example, the minimum SAT score needed for a corresponding 2.0 GPA is a 101 0, below the year 2010 median SAT score of 1 017 for all seniors taking the test that year Even more indicative of remarkably low standards for eligibility, the minimum SAT score of 400 needed for a corresponding 3.550 GPA and above is actually the minimum score a tester can receive for the SAT by merely showing up and handing in a blank form. A 2000 qualitative study by Benson relayed detailed descriptions from Black male high school athletes who described their academic experiences as inadequate or non e xistent. These athletes were given grades they never earned for classes they rarely attended. With a high school GPA so subjective (grade inflation) and so inconsistent, the standardized test score must be used more honestly to predict college success. The Knights Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics (1991) recommended that student athletes should not be considered for enrollment at a c ollege or university unless the student athletes demonstrate a reasonable promise of being successful at that institutio n in a course of study leading to an academic degree. In order to better correlate the determination of eligibility with standards based values, I recommend that the standardized test score indices for the NCAA Division I Sliding Scale be enhanced so to fa ll within the mean
86 interquartile range of the normal admission scores for the middle 50% of all Division I institutions. This measure would exclude the academically selective colleges and universities with the lowest acceptance rates, such as Ivy League sc hools and other elite schools from consideration while including the many Public and Land grant universities that dominate many of the NCAA Division I sports. There are members of the Black community who continue to assert that using standardized test s cores as part of eligibility for Black student athletes is racially biased (Rosen, 2000). In order to address the issue of the possible disparate discriminatory impact of standardized testing, the NCAA, in conjunction with the major FBS conferences, should establish funding programs that provide additional assistance (tutoring/SAT prep coursework) to all high school students who have registered through the clearinghouse but are unlikely to meet the new initial eligibility standards. This would provide stude nt athletes who may not meet eligibility standards the opportunity to become eligible while placing the onus on the student athletes themselves. It would also show a more serious intent on the part of the NCAA when considering academic progress in meeting requirements and standards. Freshmen Year Ineligibility Another policy recommendation that can be put forward from the results of the study is for the NCAA to reinstate policy that makes freshmen college student athletes ineligible to play during their freshmen year. A study by Pascarella, Bohr, Nora, and Terenzini (1995) found that athletes was well below the academic performance of other male student athletes and non athlete stu dents. In fact, basketball student athletes. The res these freshmen male student athletes lacked the time management skills needed for academic success and were likely influenced by
87 football and basketball subculture that placed a lower value on academic achievement than on athletic achievement. Freshmen year of college is a stressful, yet important time for social and academic adjustment and int egration in the campus (Lubker & Etzel, 2007). Freshmen ineligibility would, in a sense, red shirt these student athletes for the year while still providing them with four years of eligibility beginning in their sophomore year. Freshmen student athletes wo uld continue to train and practice with their sport squads, but they would not be able to compete with their teams or even participate on the sidelines. It would be especially vital that freshmen student athletes not travel to away competitions that interf ere with their scheduled courses or coursework. This campus and provide them with greater potential to integrate both academically and socially on their college camp first year on campus would especially help Black male college student athlete s who, as noted previously in this study, are often seen as lacking in their motivation for academic success. As students fir st, they would attend games as a student spectator, especially away games. This would limit their absences from classes and allow them to have greater time for studying and preparing for class. According to the summary of finding s from the NCAA 2010 GOALS and SCORE Studies of the Student Athlete Experience Division 1 FBS football players report that they spend over 40 hours a week on athletics and an additional 40 hours a week on academics during in season. This provides further substantiation for making freshmen student athletes ineligible since this amount of time commitment just to athletics and academics allows no real time for freshmen adjustment and social integration into the campus environment.
88 Restrict Offseason Traini ng Another NCAA policy change recommendation that would likely help Black male college student to persist to graduation is to suspend or greatly diminish informal competitions and rigorous off season training for all student athletes on all athletic squad s. In a recent series of three studies by Scott, Paskus, Miranda, Petr, and McArdle (2008) that investigated the academic performance of college student athletes both during their season of competition and their off season the performance of student athle tes was shown to be better for off season coursework than for in season. The difference was even more significant for highly visible and time consuming sports such as football, as well as among those college student athletes who were academically under p repared when they first entered college. As mentioned previously, a 1987American Institute for Research study (as cited in Person & Lenoir, 1997) noted that Black male student athletes are quite often academically underprepared for college; they score in t he lowest quartiles in both standardized testing and their high school grades prior to beginning college Also noted earlier, findings from the NCAA 2010 GOALS and SCORE Studies of the Student Athlete Experience Division 1 FBS football players report that they spend over 40 hours a week on athletics during in season. The report also noted that 22% of Division I football student athletes would prefer to spend less time on athletics. Undoubtedly, Black male student athletes, especially those playing football, may benefit from this off season policy that allows them to focus on their academics with greater time availability and with less distractions from required informal competitions and rigorous off season traini ng. Institutional and Athletic Department Policy Recommendations An institutional level policy recommendation is that all Division I FBS institutions implement formalized mentoring programs for student athletes that utilize faculty and staff from both in side and outside the athletic department. The study results indicate that institutions of
89 higher education should continue to develop and improve support programs that address the overall experiences of Black male student athlete s and contribute to their s uccessful academic endeavors on campus. The NCAA currently offers student athlete affairs programs and grants to its member institutions that are designed to provide life skills support to promote the overall development and well being of coll ege student a thletes (NCAA, n.d.b ). However, more personalized institutional mentoring programs can likely help Black male college student athletes find greater academic success by helping them successfully integrate both academically and socially. A mentoring relationship can provide health and emotional support that centers on developing a strong self image (Howard Hamilton & Sina, 2001). Faculty mentors can especially help Black male student athletes integrate both socially and academically into t heir college campus by spending time with them outside of class time (Swail, Redd, & Perna, 2003). Informal discussions on academic topics and special social events can help to create a bond that helps student athletes focus more on their academic developm ent and success. This informal contact between faculty members and students can help to build confidence, motivation, and collaboration. C ongruence also exists within the literature regarding greater academic and social success in college for student athl etes who have mentoring professionals from the same race or ethnicity serving as role models in their lives (Campbell & Campbell, 2007). Campbell and Campbell noted that by pairing student athletes with mentors of similar race or ethnic backgrounds, mento ring becomes especially effective for Black male student athletes They suggested that student athletes in these types of mentoring relationships are more likely to persist and often hold more deep rooted commitments to their careers and lives after sports
90 Further Directions for Research This study found evidence that there are some significant differences in the graduation success rates (GSR) between male student athletes. Black male student athletes have significantly lower GSR than White male student athletes. Due to this disparity, u nderstanding the distinctive academic and social issues affecting the graduation success rates of Black male colle ge student athletes is of great importance within and across higher education, and this gap should continue to be highly scrutinized by higher educational leaders and policy makers, leaders in the Black social community, and the media until the difference becomes negligible. In spite of the robust attempts made by the NCAA to address the academic succe ss and persistence of college student athletes through measures like Proposition 48, Proposition 16, the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and the Academic Progress Rate (APR), academic integrity and other issues affecting college student athletes should conti nue to be examined and evaluated (Fountain & Finley, 2009). Benford (2007) suggested that investigating the connections between all the perceived problems of college athletics in a sociological context is the future trend of research in college athletics, and he called this ongoing and cyclical research agenda an enormous task. There are few centers of research that provide higher education scholars from divergent institutions and distinctive points of view the opportunities to cooperatively investigate th ese types of issues (Sack, 2009). While the NCAA has undertaken a vast amount of research pertaining to the graduation success of all of its athletes, it can hardly be considered unbiased when reporting the results of that research. Additionally, the data sets released by the NCAA do not afford access to the individual level of data that would provide more exact information on the academic performance of college student athletes. Athletic reform minded groups who continually call for changes in policy for college student athletes might also have limited access
91 to proper data and narrow perspectives when considering educational research on college student athletes. Therefore, college student athlete research consortiums should be formed and organized by stat e or by athletic conference.
92 APPENDIX A FBS INSTITUTION BY INSTI TUTIONAL TYPE AND CO NFERENCE MEMBERSHIP Name of Institution Type Conference Membership Arizona State University Public Pacific 10 Arkansas State University Public Sun Belt Auburn University Public SEC Ball State University Public MAC Baylor University Private Big 12 Boise State University Public Mountain West Boston College Private ACC Bowling Green State University Public MAC Brigham Young University Private Mountain West California State University, Fresno Public WAC Central Michigan University Public MAC Clemson University Public ACC Colorado State University Public Mountain West Duke University Private ACC East Carolina University Public Conference USA Eastern Michigan University Public MAC Florida Atlantic University Public Sun Belt Florida International University Public Sun Belt Florida State University Public ACC Georgia Institute of Technology Public ACC Indiana University, Bloomington Public Big Ten Iowa State University Public Big 12 Kansas State University Public Big 12 Kent State University Public MAC Louisiana State University Public SEC Louisiana Tech University Public WAC Marshall University Public Conference USA Miami University (Ohio) Public MAC Michigan State University Public Big Ten Middle Tennessee State University Public Sun Belt Mississippi State University Public SEC New Mexico State University Public WAC North Carolina State University Public ACC Northern Illinois University Public MAC Northwestern University Private Big Ten Ohio State University Public Big Ten Ohio University Public MAC Oklahoma State University Public Big 12 Oregon State University Public Pacific 10 Pennsylvania State University Public Big Ten Purdue University Public Big Ten
93 Rice University Private Conference USA Rutgers, State Univ of New Jersey, New Brunswick Public Big East San Diego State University Public Mountain West San Jose State University Public WAC Southern Methodist University Private Conference USA Stanford University Private Pacific 10 Syracuse University Private Big East Temple University Public MAC Texas A&M University, College Station Public Big 12 Texas Christian University Private Mountain West Texas Tech University Public Big 12 T roy University Public Sun Belt Tulane University Private Conference USA U.S. Air Force Academy Public Mountain West U.S. Military Academy Public CSFL U.S. Naval Academy Public CSFL University at Buffalo, the State University of New York Public MAC University of Akron Public MAC University of Alabama at Birmingham Public Conference USA University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa Public SEC University of Arizona Public Pacific 10 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Public SEC University of California, Berkeley Public Pacific 10 University of California, Los Angeles Public Pacific 10 University of Central Florida Public Conference USA University of Cincinnati Public Big East University of Colorado, Boulder Public Pacific 10 University of Connecticut Public Big East University of Florida Public SEC University of Georgia Public SEC University of Hawaii, Manoa Public WAC University of Houston Public Conference USA University of Idaho Public WAC University of Illinois, Champaign Public Big Ten University of Iowa Public Big Ten University of Kansas Public Big 12 University of Kentucky Public SEC University of Louisiana at Lafayette Public Sun Belt University of Louisiana at Monroe Public Sun Belt University of Louisville Public Big East University of Maryland, College Park Public ACC University of Memphis Public Conference USA University of Miami (Florida) Private ACC University of Michigan Public Big Ten University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Public Big Ten University of Mississippi Public SEC
94 University of Missouri, Columbia Public Big 12 University of Nebraska, Lincoln Public Big Ten University of Nevada Public WAC University of Nevada, Las Vegas Public Mountain West University of New Mexico Public Mountain West University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Public ACC University of North Texas Public Sun Belt University of Notre Dame Private Big East University of Oklahoma Public Big 12 University of Oregon Public Pacific 10 University of Pittsburgh Public Big East University of South Carolina, Columbia Public SEC University of South Florida Public Big East University of Southern California Private Pacific 10 University of Southern Mississippi Public Conference USA University of Tennessee, Knoxville Public SEC University of Texas at Austin Public Big 12 University of Texas at El Paso Public Conference USA University of Toledo Public MAC University of Tulsa Private Conference USA University of Utah Public Pacific 10 University of Virginia Public ACC University of Washington Public Pacific 10 University of Wisconsin, Madison Public Big Ten University of Wyoming Public Mountain West Utah State University Public WAC Vanderbilt University Private SEC Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Public ACC Wake Forest University Private ACC Washington State University Public Pacific 10 West Virginia University Public Big East Western Kentucky University Public Sun Belt Western Michigan University Public MAC
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105 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Donna L. Domikaitis Matthews was born to Stan and Rhoda Domikaitis in 1962 in Oak Lawn, Illinois. The youngest of three children, Donna grew up in Chicago and graduated from Luther High School South in 1980. Upon co mpletion of her high school diploma, she attended and participated on the varsity volleyball team at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. She left West Point before finishing her degree and attended the University of Illinois at Chic spent over 20 years providing philanthropic assistance to many military and educational organizations as she lived all over the country and the world. Donna received her ba chelor of science degree in mathematics from Methodist (College) University in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1990. She immediately began her professional career as a high school mathematics teacher and a volleyball and soccer coach. In 1997, Donna receiv ed her master of education in mathematics degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Since then she has taught at several community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and universities across the south. She is currently a professor of mat hematics at the Oviedo Campus of Seminole State College of Florida. Donna was a member of the 2007 LEAD cohort at the University of Florida and completed her doctorate in higher education administration and policy in December of 2011.