Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Student athletes have been identified as having difficulty achieving academically in the college setting due to their time commitment to athletics. Student athletes face demands from two separate bureaucratic worlds: the college’s academic setting and the national office that determines eligibility. Student athletes are expected to excel as athletes and to be adequate in academics. Concern about the balance between academics and athletics has been debated by educators for years. The purpose of this study was to bridge these two areas by developing an educational support program for student athletes at South Mountain Community College (SMCC) in Phoenix, Arizona. The educational support program was needed to guarantee equal opportunity in academic pursuits for student athletes, enhance the academic success of the SMCC student athlete, and assist in their adjustment to a life beyond athletics. The development of an educational support program incorporated the components as identified by the perceptions of those groups participating in the study. A plan for implementation and evaluation of the support program was developed as part of the Major Applied Research Project (MARP). A total of six survey questionnaires were distributed to generate results for the study. The study consisted of the firs three survey questionnaires being distributed to the athletic directors, Faculty Senate presidents, and counseling directors at the 12 community colleges in Arizona that have athletic programs and are members of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) (Apoendix A). Those community college maintaining educational support programs for athletes were also determined. The fourth survey questionnaire was sent to the athletic directors of the five local feeder high schools with the highest average student enrollment at SMCC for the last three years (Appendix B). those high schools maintaining educational support programs for athletes were also determined. The final two survey questionnaires for the study were distributed to 87 student athletes enrolled for the fall 1988 semester at SMCC and the 12 head coaches of the Athletic Department’s sports program (Appendix C). All respondents rated a variety of educational support components on a 5-point scale as follows: 5—Very Important; 4—Important; 3—Of Some Importance; 2—Of No Importance; 1—Not Applicable. A mean score for each component in the questionnaire was calculated, as was a significant factor score. The date was used to rank order components according to their mean score to determine what components would include in the educational support program for SMCC student athletes. An analysis of the results revealed that there was nine components considered essential by the respondents for the development of an educational support program. The following components were identified as essential: tutorial assistance, individual/personal counselling, basic skill development (reading, writing, English grammar), academic advisement, (conducted by counseling center), educational advisement, academic monitoring, during prevention, orientation classes, and initiation of an educational support program in high school or junior high school. The significance of this study is considerable. This research will add to the literature concerning support programs for students athletes at community colleges, which is minimal at this time. It is recommended that the results of this study be shared SMCC faculty members for their assistance in implementation. The results will also be shared with the membership of the ACCAC state athletic conference for implementation and evaluation at their institutions. In addition, the development of an educational support program should contribute to a more productive and successful SMCC students athlete.

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