Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Burnis Hall Jr.


The purpose of the study was to examine the academic value of interscholastic athletic participation, to appraise how such participation affected educational aspirations, and to ascertain, within selected motivational factors, why high school students play sports. A non-experimental descriptive research design that included descriptive and inferential statistics was used. Survey methodology that incorporated student records was also included in the design. The variables were not manipulated and no treatment was provided to the participants. Schools were selected by use of cluster random sampling and athletes from four high schools were asked to fill out a seventeen-item Athletes Questionnaire that solicited reasons for participation, the degree of participation, and aspirations for collegiate and professional sports. It appears that a positive relationship exists between interscholastic athletic participation and academic achievement as defined by grade point averages. Students who participated in interscholastic athletics had higher grade point averages than the general student population and overwhelmingly would like to and are planning to attend college. Students are motivated to participate in interscholastic athletics for a variety of reasons. Student-athletes in this study possess both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation at high levels; however, the primary factor for participation was enjoyment, an indicator of intrinsic motivation.