Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Sherwood Thompson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Administrators often scrutinize extracurricular involvement in college as an unnecessary financial strain on dwindling university budgets. Student Affairs practitioners must constantly justify programs as adequate additions to the in-class learning students receive on a daily basis. The experiential education students receive through extracurricular programming is well documented, and an essential part of the college experience. Varsity athletes and intramural participants gain valuable skills through their participation in sports activities and are consequently present some of the highest group success rates on campus.

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between involvement in collegiate varsity and recreational sports and student success and persistence. The two major variables analyzed in the study were college grade point average and credits completed. Regression models were constructed using predictors including socioeconomic status, ACT score, college major, gender, and involvement hours. The results of the regression analyses and other statistical tests revealed interesting data in terms of extracurricular involvement.

Analysis of the data yielded involvement hours as a significant single predictor of both college grade point average and credits completed. In the regression models involvement hours was a significant, but weak, predictor of variance in college grade point average, and a significant and strong predictor of credits completed. Implications for practice include the increased use of ACT as a predictor of student success and a focus on early major selection for college freshmen. Additionally increased support of varsity athletics and recreational sports is supported by the research, as these students performed well in the classroom, and were more likely to persist to graduation.