Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The purpose of this study was to investigate the assumption that intercollegiate student-athletes are poor students with weak academic preparation and performance. Scholarship student-athletes entering Iowa State University in 1977 through 1980 to play football were matched to non-athletes by entry date, race, and major. Hypotheses were tested for significant differences (p (LESSTHEQ) .05) in the areas of (1) academic preparation (high school rank, high grade-point average, semesters of high school mathematics, ACT score, Minnesota Scholastic Aptitude Test Score, and Mathematics Placement Examination scores), (2) academic performance after two years of college (grade-point average, credit hours, English grade, and courses dropped and repeated), (3) changes in majors, (4) distribution among colleges, and (5) persistence rates;The findings suggested that student-athletes playing football, on the average, were less prepared academically; however, they performed as well academically as similar non-athletes during their first two years of college (without controlling for differences in preparation), they changed majors as often and they persisted at a similar rate. Student-athletes appeared to more often than similar non-athletes major in the colleges of Education and Home Economics and less often in Sciences and Humanities and Engineering after two years;The results of this study supported the findings of others in reporting that student-athletes are capable of college academic performance similar to that of non-athletes. The comparable performance occurred when controlling for racial background and academic interests, but without controlling for a significantly lower level of academic preparation. It appears that the university provided adequate student services to assist the poorly prepared student-athletes.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Debra L. Stuart



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82 pages