Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Scott Mcleod


The purpose of this research was to investigate the future value of interscholastic participation in extracurricular activities on the individual student level. In this study, two relationships were examined: (a) the relationship between high school student participation and postsecondary educational attainment, and (b) the relationship between high school student participation and future wage earnings. For decades, there has been an overwhelming sentiment that participation in athletics and other extracurricular activities is beneficial to the student. However, very little research has been conducted on extracurricular activities, let alone the relationship between activities and future benefits.

Four different analyses were used in this study: (1) correlational analysis relating participation in activities to future earnings; (2) correlational analysis relating participation in activities to educational attainment; (3) bivariate linear regression models accounting for the relationship between participation and both future earnings and educational attainment, with controls for student gender and race, and parental socioeconomic status, marital status, and education; and (4) a multiple regression model accounting for the effects of participation and family demographics while in high school on future earnings and educational attainment. Data were extracted from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NCES, 2002) from the second (1990), third (1992), and fourth (2000) follow-ups. The NELS:88 database was selected for this study because its variables were consistent with the purposes of the study and because it contained longitudinal data on a large number of students who participated in athletics and activities in high school. NELS:88 contained data on a large number of students across a wide variance of populations, mixing both public and nonpublic schools along with students of a variety of demographic categories.

This study indicated that no practical relationship exists between participation in interscholastic activities and future wage earnings and future educational attainment. Recommendations based on the findings of this study include an examination of the research related to activities and a critical examination of participation at the local level. Next, leaders must define the role of activities in their community and use that knowledge and understanding to formulate a mission statement that can serve their activities' program.


Copyright Owner

William Robert Watson



Date Available


File Format


File Size

160 pages