Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

College Graduation Rates of Student Athletes and Students Attending College Male Basketball Games: A Case Study

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

College Graduation Rates of Student Athletes and Students Attending College Male Basketball Games: A Case Study

Article excerpt

The relationship between college sport involvement as either an athlete or a "fan" and the 6-year graduation rate was studied for 3,145 1983 Ball State University freshmen. Eighty-nine of the students were identified as varsity athletes, 564 as having attended a sample of two male basketball games, and 2,492 as neither being an athlete nor having attended the sample of games. Gender, race, local residence, location of hometown, academic major, college academic preparation, attained grade point average, and Myers-Briggs Type Inventory characteristics were used as control variables in analyses of the relationship between sport involvement and graduation rate. Tinto's contention that "social integration" is an important factor in retention of college students served as the basis for predicting that the graduation rates would be higher for athletes and "fans" than for "other" students and this was confirmed. While the sampling of basketball games was limited to many athletes had advantages not provided for most "other" students, the results were consistent with the predictions of Tinto's attrition model.

The present study examined the 6-year graduation rate of students from the 1983 Ball State University (BSU) freshman class who were identified as being a BSU varsity athlete, having attended a sample of BSU male basketball games (i.e., "direct sport consumers;" McPherson, 1975), or neither being a BSU athlete nor having attended a game. The study was a follow-up of two prior studies conducted at BSU (Schurr, Ruble & Ellen, 1985; Schurr, Wittig, & Ruble, 1988) that examined factors associated with college student attendance at male basketball games. Results of the prior BSU studies supported the theory of Edwards (1973) about characteristics of "sports fans" and extended his theory to include social factors and additional personal characteristics. Edwards proposed that fans have high interest in sports because they identify with characteristics of sport competition and participants; in particular, businessmen have high interest because "...sport competition is a microcosm of their everyday secular lives" and blacks have high interest because of the special significance of sports in black society.

The BSU studies did find disproportionately high attendance at the basketball games for students having academic majors in business fields and for blacks. In addition, the studies linked game attendance to gender and a preference for action-oriented activities, with high attendance for males and a group identified as "sensing" types by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI; Myers & McCaulley, 1985). Most relevant for purposes of this study were results indicating that few students attended games alone and attendance was relatively high for students who lived in residence halls and/or were from hometowns located farther distances from the university. These findings suggested that students attending the games had developed a stronger identification with the university and were more involved in its social system than students not attending the games. Generally, results reported in the BSU studies were consistent with results of other studies that included the same types of variables (e.g., Doyle, Lewis, & Malmisur, 1980; Lowe & Harrold, 1972; McPherson, 1975).

The possible implication of the BSU studies with respect to graduation is found in the three general facets of Tinto's (1975) well-known college attrition model: (a) students enter college with different levels of academic preparation and other attributes; (b) they develop different levels of integration into an institution's academic social system, including the attainment of different grade point averages (GPA) and the development of different attitudes about academic programs; and (c) they develop different levels of integration into an institution's social system, including the establishment of different levels of interaction with peers through formal, semi-formal, and informal groups and with adult members of the academic community. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.