The role of intercollegiate athletics in the retention of first-time, first-year students at NCAA Division III institutions with football

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Clay E. Harshaw (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Katherine Jamieson

Abstract: The retention of first-time, first-year students to their sophomore year is important to institutions of higher education because this retention predicts the students' persistence through graduation at their institutions (Bean, 1990; Tinto, 1993). Tinto (1993) suggested that academic integration and social integration lead students to persist. One aspect of the social milieu that has received little attention in retention research is intercollegiate athletics. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of intercollegiate athletics in the retention of first-time, first-year students and to determine how intercollegiate athletics are incorporated in the retention practices of institutions with NCAA Division III athletic programs with football. Within the social milieu of an institution are practices that foster a sense of community in the institution (Braxton & Hirschy, 2004); a sense of belonging to the institution (Freeman, Anderman, & Jensen, 2007; Hausmann, Schofield, & Woods, 2007; Tinto, 1987, 1993); a social support system within the institution (Tinto, 1993); student interactions with faculty (Tinto, 1993); student interactions with staff (Tinto, 1993); and student interactions with peers (Tinto, 1993). Through an online questionnaire, student affairs professionals from NCAA Division III institutions with football rated the extent to which intercollegiate athletics contribute to the social integration of first-time, first-year students and to the six variables that lead to social integration using a 5-point rating scale. Respondents described how intercollegiate athletics contribute to the six variables on their campuses. The respondents described retention practices of their institutions that intentionally incorporate intercollegiate athletics and rated the effectiveness of those practices using a 5-point rating scale. Respondents rated the effectiveness of their overall intercollegiate athletics programs and ten sports in retaining students. Findings indicated that the role of intercollegiate athletics in the retention of first-time, first-year students at institutions sponsoring Division III athletics with football is focused on the athletes. Most of the described retention practices were focused on assisting the athletes with their social integration on their campuses. Athletes at the respondents' institutions made up as much as 59% of the total enrollment; thus, specific retention practices focused on athletes at these institutions may influence the overall retention of first-time, first-year students at the institutions. Effective retention practices incorporating intercollegiate athletics are discussed and recommended.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Athletics, First year, First-year, Student retention
Subjects
College dropouts $x Prevention.
College sports $x Psychological aspects.
Academic achievement.
College athletes $x Psychology.
College athletes $x Social networks.