Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Stephen Draper

Second Supervisor

Dr. Byron Hargrove


College student-athletes have to navigate unique challenges in order to graduate on time primarily due to their dual roles on campus (Beron & Piquero, 2016; Cooper et al., 2017). While previous research has primarily explored predictors of academic success (e.g., graduation within 150% of the standard completion time) among student-athletes at NCAA Division I institutions,

this study addressed the significant gap in knowledge specific to NJCAA Division I student- athletes. This quantitative study extended the work of Autry (2010) by investigating the

precollege and college predictors of academic success among 2-year student-athletes at a NJCAA Division I institution in the Midwest United States from 2013 to 2018. Similar to Autry (2010), the precollege predictors included high school grade point average (HSGPA), socioeconomic status (SES), first-generation status, race, and gender, while the college predictors encompassed residency status, athletic participation (team or individual), scholarship status, GPA for the first three semesters, major, Pell Grant eligibility, degree hours, and course withdrawals during the freshman year.

Using multivariate logistic regression analyses, the key findings identified key precollege variables such as gender, race, residency, first-generation status, Pell Grant eligibility, and HSGPA to impact NJCAA student-athletes' on-time graduation. Notably, the study revealed disparities in graduation rates based on gender and race, where female student-athletes and those with higher HSGPAs exhibited a higher likelihood of graduation, highlighting the pivotal role of precollege academic preparedness. Conversely, students from out-of-state or lower socioeconomic backgrounds, as inferred from Pell Grant eligibility, demonstrated a lower probability of graduating. The study also identified the influence of academic factors such as chosen major, college GPA, and course withdrawal patterns on their likelihood of graduating, with particular sports showing a positive impact on graduation rates.

These findings hold significant implications for educators, administrators, and athletic programs, offering valuable insights to design targeted interventions and evidence-based strategies aimed at enhancing graduation rates and academic success within the NJCAA Division I context. Furthermore, the results contribute to the broader conversation on policy and student support practices, with potential applications in various educational settings.

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