Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Larry McNeal

Committee Member

Reginald Leon Green

Committee Member

Charisse Gulosino

Committee Member

Momodou Keita


A dramatic gap in the academic achievement of African American males and the academic achievement of Caucasian males across this country continues to exist. African American males fail to complete high school at an increasingly high rate or are ill-prepared for postsecondary education upon completion of high school. The disengagement of African American males in schools has been associated with the continuance of this achievement gap. The influence on academic performance that participating in high school athletics had on African American male students who participated in an athletic program as compared to African American male students who did not engaged in any type of athletics from 2008 to 2012, was investigated in this study. The foundational theories of this study are Bechtol’s Sports Participation Theory and the Self-Determination Theory, which indicate that participating in athletics has a positive and lasting effect on academic outcomes for students.The findings of this study provide educators and researchers further insight into some of the contributing factors of the achievement gap and a significant means of improving the secondary educational outcomes of African American males. This secondary analysis of existing data was conducted using categorical data, with the independent variables of participation or nonparticipation in athletics and socioeconomic status (SES) being measured against dependent variables of academic achievement. The results were measured by the cumulative grade point averages (GPA), the composite results of the American College Test (ACT) exam, and high school completion type of the African American males who participated in athletics and those African American males who did not participate in athletics while in high school.The findings of this research indicate that participation in high school athletic programs does have a significant influence on the academic performance of African American males. Results of this study further indicate that athletic participation proved to have a substantial impact on the completion of high school and the cumulative GPAs of African American male students and can significantly influence the academic success of African American males. This study also highlights that SES further impacts the academic achievement of African American males. The findings of this study show that athletic participation should be considered a viable means of engaging African American males and moving them toward high school completion and postsecondary readiness. 


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.