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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Sport Sciences

First Advisor

Becky Beal

First Committee Member

Glen Albaugh

Second Committee Member

Linda Koehler

Third Committee Member

John Phillips


The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between basketball participation and academic integration at one NCAA Division Ill school. Research on the college experiences of NCAA Division I male student-athletes in corporate sports has demonstrated that athletic participation does not enhance academic integration. Conversely, Division I women athletes have become academically integrated despite participating in intercollegiate athletics. Therefore, this study sought to discover integration differences between males and females at the Division Ill level and made comparisons with the Division I literature. Academic integration was defined as a belief in the academic goals of an institution based on academic involvement, peer interaction, faculty interaction and involvement in work, sport or other extracurricular activities. Nine male and five female Division Ill basketball players from one liberal arts college were interviewed. Based on qualitative analyses, three major themes were identified. First, the student-athletes were predisposed to academic integration based on their high school grade point averages, test scores, parent's education and social class. Second, once in college, they became academically integrated through academic planning, extracurricular involvement, and peer and faculty interaction. Finally, through their coach's assistance with academic planning and the social interaction it created, basketball played a partial role in the integration process for men. Women, however, did not use basketball as their primary means of establishing social ties and did not receive academic assistance from their coach. These were the only differences between genders. The school's academic climate and structure were the most significant factors impacting academic integration. The coach's ability to support these was a secondary factor. When compared to Division I males, these male student-athletes were much more integrated. The females in the current study were similar to their Division I counterparts with respect to academic integration.



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