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«This study examined whether the academic success, specifically the grade-point average, NCAA progress-towards-degree, and freshman to sophomore ...»

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Research question 3 asks if there were significant differences between the firstyear retention rates of student-athletes in Group A compared to the student-athletes in Group B. Descriptive statistics, specifically percentages were used to determine the firstyear average retention rate for student-athletes in Group A and Group B.

Research question 4 asks if there were significant mean differences in academic performance, specifically grade-point average between student-athletes by gender, sportprofile type, and ethnicity in Group A and Group B. A univariate factorial ANOVA was used with the dependent variable being grade-point average and the three independent variables being the groups (A, B), gender, sport-profile type, and ethnicity.

Research question 5 asks whether there were there significant differences in the percentage of student-athletes retained at the conclusion of the first academic year between Groups A and B among student-athletes by sport, gender, and ethnicity who participated in a first-year experience course.

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Human subjects were the focus of this research. There were no risks to the subjects involved in the study, and the methods used were conducted with the permission of Eastern Kentucky University in accordance with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of North Carolina Greensboro. All student information including student identification numbers, demographic information, and academic information was kept confidential and secured in a locked environment at the home of the researcher.

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether the academic success, specifically the grade-point average and freshman to sophomore retention rates, of student athletes was influenced by participating in a first-year experience course populated exclusively by student-athletes and taught by athletic-academic personnel (Group A) compared to student-athletes in an integrated first-year experience course populated by the general student body and taught by a faculty member not associated with the athletic-academic support staff (Group B).

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The general research question asks: What was the impact of a first- year experience course on student-athletes’ academic success who participated in a course populated exclusively by student-athletes and taught by athletic-academic personnel (Group A) compared to student-athletes in an integrated first-year experience course populated by the general student body and taught by a faculty member not associated with the athletic-academic support staff (Group B)?

The research questions below address some of the key areas that are related to this

overall question:

1. What impact did participating in a student-athlete specific first-year experience course have on maintaining NCAA eligibility and meeting the NCAA progress-towarddegree completion guidelines after completing the first-year?

2. Were there significant mean differences in the grade-point average at the conclusion of the first semester and at the conclusion of the first academic year between Group A and Group B?

3. Were there significant differences in the percentage of student-athletes retained at the conclusion of the first academic year between Group A and Group B?

4. Were there significant mean differences in academic performance as measured by grade-point average between Groups A and B among student-athletes by sport, gender and ethnicity who participated in a first-year experience course?

5. Were there significant differences in the percentage of student-athletes retained at the conclusion of the first academic year between Groups A and B among studentathletes by sport, gender, and ethnicity who participated in a first-year experience course?

A distribution which included the high school grade-point averages (Table 1) and ACT scores (Table 2) were examined to ensure that Group A and Group B were similar.

Research Question 1: NCAA Progress-Toward-Degree What impact did participating in a student-athlete specific first-year experience course have on maintaining NCAA eligibility and meeting the NCAA progress-towarddegree completion guidelines after completing the first-year?

The number and percentage of student-athlete enrolled in Groups A and B who successfully met the NCAA progress-toward-degree completion guidelines were identical (Table 3). In Group A, 91% (50/55) of student-athletes met NCAA progress-towarddegree completion guidelines after completing their first year. In Group B, 91% (50/55) of student-athletes met NCAA progress-toward-degree completion guidelines after completing their first year. There was no significant difference between the groups.

Table 1 High School GPA: A Two-sample t-test

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Difference = mu (Group A) - mu (Group B) Estimate for difference: 0.1604 95% CI for difference: (-0.0266, 0.3473) t-test of difference = 0 (vs not =): t-value = 1.70 p-value = 0.092 df = 108 Table 2 ACT Scores: A Two-sample t-test

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Difference = mu (Group A) - mu (Group B) Estimate for difference: 0.491 95% CI for difference: (-0.628, 1.610) t-test of difference = 0 (vs not =): t-Value = 0.87 p-Value = 0.386 DF = 108 Table 3 NCAA Progress-Toward-Degree

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Before Questions 2 and 3 are addressed the following demographic data characteristics were compiled regarding gender (Table 4), ethnicity (Table 5), and sport (Table 6).

Group A and Group B were very different in terms of gender (Table 4). There were more females (65%) than males in Group A (35%) and more males (58%) than females (42%) in Group B. One of the factors that caused this difference was the addition of women’s soccer as a varsity sport during the year Group A students were studied.

Table 4 Demographic Characteristics by Gender

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A Chi-Square Test was run to determine whether the difference observed between Group A and Group B relating to gender was significant. The student-athletes in Group A and Group B were not homogeneous with respect to gender, χ2 (1, N = 110) = 0.01, p.05.

Group A and Group B were both populated by predominantly White studentathletes (Table 5). Group A had one Hispanic student-athlete and six Black studentathletes, while Group B had one Hispanic student-athlete, one student-athlete identified as Other, and 12 Black student-athletes. In total, there were more minority studentathletes in Group B (25.4%) than in Group A (12.7%).

Table 5 Demographic Characteristics by Ethnicity

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A Chi-Square Test was run to determine whether the difference observed between Group A and Group B relating to ethnicity was significant. The student-athletes in Group A and Group B were homogeneous with respect to ethnicity, χ2 (3, N = 110) = 0.31, p.05.

Due to the small numbers in certain sports, student-athletes were divided by sports into two groups to measure retention. High profile sports were identified as men’s football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball. Low profile sports included men’s baseball, men’s golf, men’s tennis, men’s track, women’s track, women’s golf, women’s soccer, women’s softball, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.

Group A and Group B had student-athletes from a variety of sports (Table 6).

Table 6 Demographic Characteristics by Sport

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Group A had 10 High Profile male student-athletes and 9 Low Profile Male studentathletes, while Group B had 16 High profile male student-athletes and 16 Low Profile male student-athletes. Group A included 6 High Profile female athletes and 30 Low Profile student-athletes, while Group B included 4 High Profile and 19 Low-Profile student-athletes.

A Chi- Square Test was run to determine whether the difference observed between Group A and Group B relating to sport-profile type was significant. Group A and Group B are homogenous with regard to sport-profile type. χ2 (1, N = 2) = 0.16, p.05.

Research Question 2: Mean Difference in GPAs Were there significant mean differences in the grade-point average at the conclusion of the first semester and at the conclusion of the first academic year between Group A and Group B?

A one-way ANOVA was run to determine whether there were significant mean differences between the first and second semester college grade-point averages of student-athletes in Group A and Group B.

To compare the GPA between the two groups after the first semester and the first academic year mean GPAs were examined (Table 7).

The significance value fo r the first semester (Table 8) and cumulative first academic year GPAs (Table 9) was 0.05. Although the cumulative first academic year GPA was much closer to the 95% criterion, the two groups’ mean GPA for the 1st semester and cumulative first academic year were not significantly different.

Table 7 Comparison of Mean First Semester and Cumulative First Academic Year Mean GPAs

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Research Question 3: Mean Retention Rates Were there significant differences in the percentage of student-athletes retained at the conclusion of the first academic year between Group A and Group B?

First year retention rates. Retention rates for student-athletes are recorded in the table below (Table 10).

Table 10 Retention Percentage by Group

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Following the second academic semester Group A had a retention rate of 72.7% (40/55) while Group B had a 67.3% (37/55) rate for the same period. Student-athletes in Group A were retained at a slightly higher rate than student-athletes in Group B, but the difference was not significant (Table 11).

Research Question 4: GPAs by Sport, Gender, and Ethnicity Were there significant mean differences in academic performance at the end of the first semester and at the end of the first academic year as measured by grade-point average between Groups A and B among student-athletes by sport, gender and ethnicity who participated in a first- year experience course?

Table 11 Chi-Square Test: Retention Group A, Group B Expected counts are printed below observed counts Chi-Square contributions are printed below expected counts

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Chi-Square = 0.390, df = 1, p-Value = 0.533 A univariate factorial ANOVA was used to compare the academic performance, specifically grade point average after the first and second semester, between studentathletes by group, sport-profile type, and ethnicity in Group A and Group B. The grade point average was taken as a dependent variable and group, gender and ethnicity as fixed factors.

The factor counts for ethnicity, group, sport-profile type, and gender are listed below (Table 12).

Table 12 Between-Subjects Factors

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For the 1st semester GPA (Table 13), a four factor analysis of variance was used to compare the academic performance, specifically grade point average after the first semester, between student-athletes by gender, group, sport-profile type, and ethnicity in Group A and Group B. The 1st semester grade point average was taken as a dependent variable and group, gender and ethnicity as fixed factors. The effect of ethnicity, F(3,107) = 2.79, p =.045 and the interaction between ethnicity and group F (2,108) = 3.86, p =.025 were both significant.

Table 13 Tests of Between-Subjects Effects for First Semester GPA

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R Squared =.233 (Adjusted R Squared =.092) For the cumulative GPA after the first academic year (Table 14), the four factor analysis of variance was used to compare the academic performance, specifically the cumulative grade point average after the first academic year, between student-athletes by gender, group, sport-profile type, and ethnicity in Group A and Group B.

Table 14 Tests of Between-Subjects Effects for Cumulative GPA after the First Academic Year

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R Squared =.281 (Adjusted R Squared =.148) The cumulative grade point average after the first academic year was taken as a dependent variable and group, gender and ethnicity as fixed factors. The effect of ethnicity, F(3,107) = 3.85, p =.012 and the interaction between ethnicity and group F(2,108) =4.43, p=.015 were both significant.



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