Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Kasey L. Mueller

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet L. Deck

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery


The purpose of this non-experimental, quantitative, associative/predictive study was to evaluate the relationship between participation in high school athletics and grade point averages (GPAs) for graduated cohorts in a rural Title I school district. Study data were collected in archival form from three graduating cohorts of students from a rural Title I school district in Florida. Study findings indicated that senior students who were identified as student-athletes had a mean GPA that was significantly higher than students who were identified as non-athletes. Furthermore, when considering the effect of GPAs by gender, both female and male student-athlete GPAs were statistically higher than their non-athlete counterparts, with female student-athlete GPAs being marginally greater. Additionally, the findings of an ancillary analysis confirmed the predicted likelihood of high school graduation among student-athletes from a rural Title I school district increased the odds of graduating by approximately 3726% as compared to non-athlete students. For rural Title I school district administrators, this study’s findings provide evidence that supports the promotion of school-based athletics as a possible intervention to improve student GPAs and graduation rates.