Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name

Sport Management-BA


Health & Sport Sciences


Gregory Sullivan, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Gregory Sullivan, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Shelley Payne, DHS, PT, ATC


Athletes Academics, Non-Athletes Academics, Division III, Perception of Athletes, Academic Achievement

Subject Categories

Education | Sports Management


This research examines athletes and non-athletes’ academic performance at the Division III collegiate level. The sample that was taken for this study was comprised of two groups of Division III college students. Athletes, that participate in intercollegiate athletics and non-athletes, that do not. Results of this study supports the following hypothesis: Division III college athletes have similar to lower academic success than those that do not participate in sports. A behavioral and demographic survey was administered to one hundred and sixty seven students and student-athletes (84 non-athletes and 83 athletes) at a Division III University, in the Midwest. A twelve question survey was given to the students and student-athletes which asked for: gender, academic class, the sport they currently participate in (if they indeed do participate in a sport), hours per week spent on classwork, classes missed per week due to participation in sport, hours spent socializing with friends, sports participated in during high school, composite ACT score, high school GPA, hours working (other than for academic credit), and cumulative college GPA. This research is significant for a number of reasons. It indicates that athletics do not play a negative role in academic achievement at the Division III level and that the negative perceptions of student-athletes are not accurate. Predetermined predictors such as ACT scores, and high school GPA, are useful in determining non-athletes academic success (non-athletes ACT: p < .05; p=.002; non-athletes GPA: p < .05, p=.001) and the high school GPA of a Division III college athlete was determined to be significant towards academic achievement in college, while their ACT score did not (athletes ACT: p > .05; p=.076; athletes GPA: p < .05; p=.000). Overall, there is not a significant difference between athletes and non-athletes based on their academic performance at the Division III level.