Sports And American Culture Education Essay

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Chapter 1: Introduction

Sports is more than a highlight of American culture. It is also considered a crucial element of the personal development of young people so that the involvement of students in athletic activities is part of the educational experience. The emphasis on interscholastic sports is well-known. Collegiate and professional sports are provided 24-hour coverage in international sports networks such as Eastern Sports Networks (ESPN) (Yancey, 2007). Advertising in print, internet, cinema and television have significant roles to play in contributing to the explosive popularity of collegiate and professional sports. Billions of dollars are spent on the proliferating professional and collegiate sports industry; thus, it is no surprise that in American secondary schools, collegiate and professional sports are immensely popular (Din, 2005). However, sports networks have also shown to provide increasing media coverage on high school sports today. Athletic exposure has transformed high school sports into a lucrative business - a trend which has concerned educational leaders, policy makers, and athletic directors.

The biggest worry of the educational community is how the commercialization of high school sports could impact academic achievement of high school athletes. As early as the 1980s, a comprehensive national reform program was undertaken on the public schools system in order to address the failing standards of American education. These reforms also encompassed collegiate athletics. For instance, high school athletes aiming for a career in college sports were required to achieve a minimum ACT score and GPA (NCAA Eligibility Center, 2009). Further to this, student athletes who do not perform well in their academics may have their graduation prospects compromised as well as the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) 2 measurement of their respective high schools.

Studies have revealed both positive and negative impacts of involvement of high school students in competitive athletics. Yancey (2007) found that increasing participation of high students in sports enhance the overall scholastic experience. On the other hand, it has been revealed that winning the tournament as well as the allure of gaining wealth has constantly become a part of professional ranks and collegiate sports arena. The pressure of a victory is experienced by most athletic directors and college coaches and the possibility of a conflict between athletic and academic communities is highly likely (Din, 2005). In addition, Ting (2009) suggested that the pressure is oftentimes compounded by specific concerns in time management and absence from class due to competitive travel demands. This leads to the athletics-academics imbalance that has educational leaders and policymakers concerned.

Extended researches dealing with the significant determinants of high school athletes' academic achievement ranging from psychological, intellective, and demographic factors are huge; dozens upon dozens of dissertations are written about this. In fact this subject is the most passionately debated and discussed in the field of sports scholarship (Hartmann, 2008). Though the studies yielded considerable information regarding selected academic performance predictors in college-age athletes, few further investigated the life experiences and environmental factors influencing high school athletes while studying in the campus. On a similar note, it is credible that high school athletic communities have developed a negative reputation with respect to academic performance. While a number of researchers studied athletic participation and academic performance in college (Gaston-Gayles, 2005), few studies addressed the relationship between academics and athletics participation at the high school level.

The present study will shed light on the effect of athletic participation in the academic performance of high school athletes in an inner city school. Results of the analyses will be useful for future researches on how these variables are associated with academic success in these athletes which have current and future consequence in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) programming and policy.

Statement of the Problem

The problem being studied is the conflicting perspectives that exist in relation to the impact of high school athletics to a student athlete's academic achievement. The thrust and mandate of state education leaders is ensuring that in high school athletics, academics come first. Inherent to their position is the moral obligation to prevent exploitation of secondary school students. As the game has ended and the glory faded, the ultimate victors are the educated students. The rising professionalism in high school athletics, concerns surrounding the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs as well as other questionable practices that place athletic concerns over and above the main educational mission and vision of the school entails more efficient state monitoring of inter-school athletic events and comprehensive review on the athletic programs play in public education, and a blue-ribbon panel of policy makers at the local, state, and national levels. Despite the popularity of high school athleticism, studies that relate sports participation and academic achievement are not very in-depth. Moreover, little effort was accorded to the scrutiny of athletic events by officials in the state educational system who traditionally deferred supervision of local educators and athletic federations. NASBE faced the sometimes contradicting, and controversial sets of academic eligibility guidelines that critics viewed it too varied, too low, and too variably applied. The recommendation of the Commission states "athletic eligibility should be dependent on the student's progress towards the successful completion of high school education as defined by the state" (NASBE, 2010, para. 7). Through this study, high school administrators, principals, supervisors, coaches, athletic directors and other stakeholders would have solid and convincing evidence testing the prevailing hypothesis that participation in high school sporting events does not negatively affect academic performance of athletes.

This study will explore the relationship between athletic events participation and academic performance of high school athletes at an urban inner city school. Specifically, the study is designed to satisfy the following aims:

To describe the profile of the athletes in terms of:

Age

Gender

Sport

Racial background

To determine the grades obtained by the athletes during the pre- and post-season in:

English

Math

To determine statistical differences in the pre- and post-season grades of the high school athletes in:

English

Math

To find out statistical differences in the pre- and post-season grades when participants are grouped according to:

Age

Gender

Sport

The Topic

The topic of this proposed research is the relationship of high school athletics and academic performance of high school athletes at an inner urban city school. In public high school athletic programs across America, have different variations in the academic eligibility of high school athletes over the past two decades. How far has athletic programs increased the motivation of the athletes in the classroom? The word student-athlete suggests that the individual balances between academic work in the classroom and participation in the team. Theoretically, a higher academic standing is a requirement for participation in athletic events. Eitzen and Saga (1993, as cited in Olson, 2006) observed that high school athletes had better GPA's than their non-athlete counterparts. As athletic directors and school districts worked towards showing accountability to parents and taxpayers in their communities by revising the athletic codes, it is necessary that the issue of student athlete academic performance is addressed. There are many cities and states across the US that has implemented policies ensuring that the minimum academic requirements of student-athletes are met. The assumption policy makers have is that if the high school athletes were compelled to get good grades to play for their teams, then it is expected that the students' academic work is improved overall.

The Research Problem

High school athletic events play a major part in the lives of a number of high school students in the US who reside in the inner city, and certainly it affects the participating athletes in many ways. Participation is priceless for those who are taking part in high school athletics. White (2005) detailed the advantages of athletic participation as follows: self-discipline, teamwork, healthy lifestyle, high self-esteem, and social skills needed in forming long-term friendships. All these values and lessons learned from participating in athletics ultimately beneficially impact athlete's life decisions in the future.

It is held by many researchers that the importance and emphasis of American high school has deteriorated from the education of students, specifically those participating in more than one interscholastic sports (Din, 2005; Goldman, 1991 as cited in White, 2005). It is believed that athletic participation causes low self-esteem and unneeded stress, leading to alcohol and drug use, poor attendance in class, and delinquency (Din, 2005; Bem, 2006).

Background and Justification

Beem (2006) cited the pressure school districts encounter from parents and community members to produce winning programs. The pressure to win gives rise to lower academic expectation for student athletes. The National Association of State 3 Boards of Education (NASBE) concluded school systems must address and correct athletic and academic imbalances (Hoff, 2006).

Supporters of high school athletics refuted the negative effect of athletic participation on academic achievement. Reid (2005) stated high school athletic programs supplement the academic experience. Reid found participation in high school athletics galvanizes future academic and professional post-secondary success. Jones (2007) concluded a healthy balance between academics and athletics is achievable. Sitkowski (2008) cited the positive effects of athletic participation for student-athletes: self-discipline, self-confidence, lower dropout rates, and smaller percentages of drug and alcohol abuse.

Bukowski (2001, as cited in Muir, 2005) compared athletic programs of 125 randomly selected high schools in 48 US states and identified the current trends in high school athletics specifically on: 1) minimum grade point average needed for an athlete to participate in the athletic events; 2) maximum Fs an athlete may have which may allow him or her to participate, 3) the duration of time for athletic-academic suspension for those who did failed to satisfy the minimum requirements, and 4) adherence to state athletic association guidelines regarding academic eligibility. He found that the minimum grade requirement for an athlete to qualify for interscholastic sports ranged from none to 2.5. Some schools did not have a grade point requirement but demanded that in all classes attended, the athlete must have met at least 60% to 70%. Many schools considered included grade point in academic requirements but the coaches strongly disapproved of this move. Out of 125 schools, 31 indicated to have incorporated a minimum grade point requirement for eligibility and only 19 required athletes to have a grade of 2.0 or above. The student athletes in 94 out of 125 schools could participate in the sporting events if the grade is 1.0 and less. In some of the schools, an athlete may play for their school if he or she has passed at least four of the seven courses or Ds in four subjects and Fs in three subjects (GPA 0.71). Most stringent schools required an athlete to have GPA of 2.5 and no grades of F in all subjects for eligibility. Also mentioned in his study is that all the states required a minimum load students must enroll. Unique in only four schools is the policy that students should attend 80% of total class hours within the whole year. He added that another popular criteria adopted in many schools and decided whether or not the athlete is academically eligible is the number of Fs in academic load every semester. He found that it ranged from none (no pass no play) to three. In the 125 schools, 23 did not want athletes to play even if there is only one F incurred; some were not very strict because an athlete could participate if the number of Fs is between two to three; half of these schools included as a requirement the GPA. Most common as indicated in 87 schools is that the high school athlete may participate if he or she has only one F. In all schools in the study, a grade of incomplete is treated as an F.

The rules governing academic suspension from participating in the sporting events considerably differed from school to school. Duration of suspension may be short for one week or long for half the academic year. Ineligible athletes differed in the ways of regaining their eligibility status. Twelve schools performed weekly monitoring of grades; students who successfully brought their failing grades to passing status in a week or less could play in the interscholastic competition. Majority of schools imposed a three-week suspension or 15 school days; students under probation can become eligible if at the end of the probationary period, grades have finally met the minimal requirements. In the strictest schools, the ineligible athlete is suspended for the whole grading period which could be between six weeks to the entire semester. Others innovatively dealt with academic suspension by checking grades on a weekly basis, coordinating with the honor society in helping athletes cope with their studies, and having the coaches coordinate academic study halls for the ineligible athletes. All the 48 state athletic associations agreed with the recommendation to establish a mechanism for monitoring eligibility requirements. These requirements range from enrolment to the minimum number of courses to combination of minimum courses, no failing marks, minimum GPA, and attendance policy. Out of the total 125 schools, 75 followed the minimum requirement of their state associations while 50 exceeded the criteria of the state association. Only six of the 48 states had a policy for the minimum GPA included in the criteria for athletic academic eligibility. In the state of Ohio, guidelines of the athletic association stated that it is the discretion of the school to set their GPA requirements. In four states, all secondary schools followed academic eligibility rules set by the athletic associations; in others, individual schools had their own participation policies varying in stringency.

In 2006, Hoch observed that most associations, counties, or leagues currently have eligibility standards governing participation in athletics. In other words, there is no need for the athletic director to discuss the issue. In addition, the courts of law already gave a fair decision that athletic participation is not a right but a privilege. However, the question still remains as to why athletes are given stricter treatment in contrast to yearbook, theater, or band members. For those who failed the academic eligibility requirements, no appeal process will be entertained in court. Therefore, this matter cannot be decided by the school administration or the school boards. In athletic management, eligibility standards, athlete academic progress, and accountability remain the priority issues in 2006.

Deficiencies in the Evidence

Forty-five years, researchers have struggled to answer the question of whether or not athletic participation has academic benefits, but thanks to a few longitudinal studies and improved methods of data collection, there is now a consensus arrived at among the educational researchers. Early studies on the relationship between athletics and academics held that athletics participation detracts academic success. Researchers have learned that the male athletes in American secondary schools are among the students having the highest status. It was the researchers' assumption at the time that status is highly significant. The assumption is that, so that a high status is achieved, achievers should engage actively in athletic events. These students will devote more time on their sport instead of harnessing their academic potential to the fullest (Coleman, 1961 as cited in Olson, 2006). The methodology employed in this early work is enormously flawed; though it became the starting point to dig further into this novel youth culture following the Second World War. The earlier statement of Coleman is refuted by Sitkowski (2008) saying that there is still no definite answer to the athletics-academics relationship in the high school level. As a result, this study will be an attempt to bridge the deficiencies or the literature gap. As the researcher was collating information from recent dissertations, studies being reviewed in the references were mostly in the 70s, 80s, and 90s and very few in 2000 above.

Audience

Studying the association between athletics and academics among high school athletes is important for the following reasons. First, the study will examine the relationship between the participation of the athletes in interscholastic sports events and their academic performance. Studies showed that an investment of both time and energy is needed to improve one's performance. In this way, the Guidance Counselor of the school may help teach the student athletes effective time management skills to the athletes. Another is it could pave the way for educational interventions geared at helping the athletes maintain their performance in core courses. The researcher's role is an Athletic Director at an urban inner city school designated for this study. An integral responsibility of an athletic director is to routinely monitor athlete's academics, attendance, grades and discipline and provide support to those athletes who have not yet met the criteria for graduation as well as NCAA Clearinghouse guidelines for college admission. The results of the study may also form the basis for enabling the coach to monitor the academic performance of the athletes. It is fairly acknowledged that in-season athletes had significantly higher academic performance compared to when they are not playing the sport. The desire to still be eligible and participate in the sport as a result, fuels the efforts of the athlete in learning further (Hoch, 2006). The analysis will also help add to existing literature and refine concepts already established. Furthermore, the correlation between the in- and off-season academic performances of high school athletes will provide a guide for follow up researches.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to establish how athletic participation could affect academic performance of high school athletes at an inner city school. Literature gave conflicting conclusions on the effect of athletic participation on academic performance. In addition, past research identified other problems that are traceable to athletic performance. One of these problems is the impact that athletics have on academic performance is tied to low graduation rate in numerous high schools in America (White, 2005). These concerns, aggravated by the increasing number of nearly illiterate athletes have prompted the NCAA to uphold academic eligibility standards for athletes. The standards set the minimum high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores in the core courses. The rationale behind instituting the eligibility standards is the belief that standardized tests and high school grade point averages are reliable predictors of academic success. While cognitive variables significantly predicted grades in college, the SAT has received continuous criticism for being a culturally and racially biased test. Amidst this controversy, Ting (2009) found that SAT scores were related to the persistence and academic performance of athletes. This study is purposely conducted to relate athletics and academics in high school athletes during which period that application for college is important in the life of the student.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Across the US, athletics play a key role in the lives of high school and university students (Griffith, 2007; Hamilton, 2005; Knox, 2007; Tublitz, 2007). For many generations, education and athletics have been inseparable resulting in the intersection between the academic and athletic culture. By tradition, sports participation is considered to mould boys to become men and help them value dedication, sacrifice, duty, and teamwork. In younger men, sports help build character and engender sportsmanship at an early age. Because of this tradition, numerous researchers argued that "organized sports can play a beneficial role in the development of children into educated and well-rounded students" (Griffith, 2007, p. 1). One would usually hear in official school statements or in podiums, that "high school athletics can have a profound influence on our youth, our schools, and our communities" (Griffith, 2007, p. 2).

Primarily, the conceptual problem surrounding student-athletes is whether sports participation positively impact academic endeavors (Coleman, 2006). Currently, researchers searched for the direct and indirect connections and one of these researchers is James Coleman who described the distinctiveness of the adolescent from the adult culture since the latter centers on "cars, dates, sports, popular music, and other matter….unrelated to school" (Coleman, 2006, p. 1). Also, adolescent culture pays little attention to education. Coleman's assumption that adolescents pay less attention to scholastic endeavors is suggested from the responses of students to a questionnaire. When he asked "if you could be remembered here at school for one of the three things below, which one would you want it to be: brilliant student, star athlete or most popular?" (Coleman, 2006, p. 2), 40% wanted to be remembered as a premier athlete while very few for an intelligent student. When examining if this is the case in school, Coleman hypothesized that the institution in its entirety demands members and from an institutional context, the group holds down students to the "level which can be maintained by all" (Coleman, 2006, p. 3). If a classmate busts the curve, then others would likely exclude or ridicule him or her so that the normative level of the curve is retained. Therefore, "in a high school, the norms act to hold down the achievements of those who are above average, so that the school's demands will be a level easily maintained by the majority" (Coleman, 2006 p. 3). Consequently, the "grades are almost completely relative in effect ranking students relative to others in their class" (Coleman, 2006 p. 3). Coleman then noted that while a collective action against the curve raisers is directed, "there is no epithet comparable to 'curve-raiser'" in sports; thus outstanding athletes are not ostracized. This could be explained by the fact that athletes represent a team and essentially do not compete singly as individuals. Therefore, in high school, sports achievement is validated while academic achievement is left behind. The solution to solve the problem of Coleman is provide schools with both intramural and interscholastic "in scholastic matters" in order for students to realize that academic achievement comparably represents a group as in sports. He illustrated an example when a small high school, though unable to come up with an athletic team, may compete successfully in music tilts all over the state. Their success in the musical arena compensates for the small size. Consequently, "it is a thing of pride to be a trombone soloist in this school, and the leading boys in the school are also leading musicians-not, as in many schools, scornful of such an unmanly activity" (Coleman, 2006, p. 5). In consequence, response to current sports-academics imbalance in high school is an instrumental paradigm "shift in the competitive structure of high schools" changing school norms to encourage academic excellence (Coleman, 2006 p. 5). In summary, Coleman's response to the previous question on whether sports achievement benefits academic achievement is easy: what matters is achievement and the competitiveness in school explains the area that is valued, either academics or sports. If the school has a more balanced competitive structure, there is an intermingling of academic and athletic achievement; if not balanced, academic achievement may be compromised.

Contrarily, from a positive perspective, Yancey (2007) concluded athletic participation creates a cohesive environment between teachers and students which seamlessly transition into academic success for student-athletes. Yancey stated athletic participation provides physiological benefits as the probability of student-athletes struggling with obesity was reduced. Yancey further asserted extra-curricular activities avert the potential of deviant behaviors such as smoking, drinking, etc.

To counter potential negative affects at the college level, Maher (2007) and Voinis (2009) found colleges and universities are augmenting the academic support they provide student athletes. Maher (2007) stated due to the NCAA's mandate to publicize the graduation rates of student-athletes, major universities were expending financial resources to support, monitor, and tutor their student athletes. To underscore the importance of academic support at major universities, Maher found one university's student-athlete academic support budget was $2,000,000 for the 2008 school year.

Maher (2007) found the above stated university added a new 18,000 sq. ft academic support center for student athletes. Voinis stated colleges are making a concerted effort to improve the academic achievement of student athletes. Voinis lauded the efforts of one university's student athletes. He found over 60 percent of the student athletes achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and irrespective of three men's and women's teams, the overall team GPA of the university's athletic teams was 3.0 or higher.

Franklin's (2006) study provided quantifiable data to support the notion that athletic participation positively affects academic achievement. Franklin refuted the notion 13 that student-athletes were incapable of achieving academically. Franklin's assertion was underpinned by statistics stating Division 1 student-athletes' graduation rates were two percentage points higher than non-athletes.

White (2005) cited Mark Stegman (year), an educator and football coach at the Westside High School conducted a study on the effect of athletic participation on academic performance of student athletes. The school is regarded a "world class school" according to the National Association of Secondary School Principals and majority (80%) continue their studies. In the three athletic seasons, there are 21 interscholastic sports offered. Enrolment in mathematics is almost 100%; therefore questionnaires were administered to every junior or senior in the mathematics classroom. The questionnaire asked the demographic profile of every student such as name, gender, grade, and number of sports played. This consequently grouped the students further into four: female athletes, female non-athletes, male athletes, and male non-athletes. Athletically, the students were categorized as to whether their participation is low or high. By definition, if the student's number of years in school is greater than the number of seasons he or she participated in, the athlete is considered a low participant. When the number of seasons is equal or greater than the years spent in school, the student is designated "high participant". This guideline avoids a freshman who participated in one or two sports events in this category. The GPA, rank in class, as well as the GPA in math were determined and compared across the low and high participant groups. Of all the four groups, those categorized high participant registered better academic outcomes in all parameters compared to the low participant. Among the females, the high participant group significantly outperformed the low participants; in the males the difference in all parameters is not significant. Difference in the low participants across genders was very little; however, high participant females had better academic performance than the males who are high participant. The highest GPAs and class ranks were obtained by the high participant females. The study argued that athletic participation does not distract academic success and it helps inculcate the values of self-discipline, teamwork, goal setting, and physical fitness which are all helpful in the lives of the students.

Stephens and Schaben (2002) as cited in White (2005) studied the trends in grade point averages of eighth graders at a middle school in Nebraska in the SY 1998-1999. Data on the California Achievement Test were obtained from 73 athletes and 63 non-athletes. They defined an athlete as a student who has taken part in at least one interscholastic athletic event offered during the school year. The study showed a significantly higher GPA among the athletes than the non-athletes in the full group and same sex comparisons. In Math, the athletes performed better than the non-athletes. The study suggests that participation in interscholastic sports events enhance student academic performance through self-confidence, time management, goal setting, and self-discipline.

Gehring (2002) as cited in White (2005) reported that "powerhouse" sports schools do not sacrifice the academics of their athletes. Members of top athletic teams in some of the schools performed better in state examinations compared to less accomplished athletic programs.

Naylor, Gardner, and Zaichkowsky (2001) as cited in White (2005) surveyed 1515 students from 15 high schools and asked about their alcohol and drug use. The non-athletes were found to more likely smoke cigarettes than the athletes. The non-athletes more frequently use psychedelics and cocaine than the athletes; however, the difference in the frequency of using barbiturates, amphetamines, and marijuana did not significantly differ between the athlete and the non-athlete groups.

As cited in White (2005), Broh (2002) utilized the National Educational Longitudinal Study and tested the hypothesis that athletics participation affects high school achievement. His results showed that participation in such events in high school increased development and academic success.

Rhea and Lantz (2004) in White (2005) revealed that athletic participation result in having violent behaviors in both athletes and non-athletes alike. The research noted that male athletes were more aggressive than the male non-athletes. Among females however, the non-athletes were more violent compared to the athletes. The findings of Rhea and Lantz support the belief that aggressive behavior is not only present in athletic competition, but it is taught and encouraged.

The study of Yiannakis and Melnick (2005) established that sports participation positively affected academic performance (grades), educational aspirations, locus of control, and self-concept but it resulted in more discipline problems.

Ocal (2006) determined the effects of interscholastic sports participation on academic achievement and the behavioral development of junior students in Turkey. The results showed that participation positively affected GPA, rate of attendance in school, and individual development.

Craig (2006) showed that coaches supported the developmental model while teachers who are not coaching athletes slightly favored the leading crowd model. Both groups of teachers dismissed that minimum GPA requirements cause the athletes to better perform academically than the non-athletes. Likewise, both respondent groups did not acknowledge that teacher-bias as the reason for higher academic performance. Finally, both groups believed that the social capital model is not significant.

Taras (2005) reviewed studies on the effect of physical activity on academic performance in younger students. The review demonstrated short-term benefits of physical activity such as increased concentration; but the long-term effect on academic achievement is not well substantiated as a consequence of engaging in physically demanding activity which in this case taking part in interscholastic sporting events.

Sitkowski (2008) determined the relationship existing between athletic participation and academic performance which is measured in terms of the GPA. By analyzing 249 sophomores and juniors at a high school, athletic participation positively impacted academic performance which could be attributed to the variation in the performance in- and off-season.

DeMeulenaere (2010) used a qualitative approach by interviewing students, families, and friends and examined ways wherein student involvement in athletics promoted student success such as structuring daily schedule, generating incentives, confidence building, developing peer and adult role models, and developing aspirations about the future. Participation in school sports became a powerful justification for successful school performance for the participating students in this study. 

Research Questions

To guide the researcher in meeting the aims of the study, three research questions will be formulated and they are the following:

What is the profile of the high school athletes in terms of:

Age

Gender

Sport

Racial background

What is the academic performance of the high school athletes during the pre- and post-season in:

English

Math

Is there a significant difference in in the pre- and post-season grades of the high school athletes in:

English

Math

Is there a significant difference in the pre- and post-season grades of high school athletes in terms of:

Age

Gender

Sport

Addressing these questions will increase the understanding on the relationship existing between athletic participation and academic performance of high school athletes. It is expected that the study will provide additional literature on this subject matter. The research questions of the study were structured in order to provide a straightforward assessment of the relationship between academic performance and athletic participation. The methodology that was utilized to answer the research questions will now be presented.

Chapter 3: Methodology

This chapter presents the method in which the study will be performed. It will describe the participants, instruments, procedures, and limitations.

Participants

The population targeted in the study will be all junior and senior high school students participating in sporting events sponsored by the school. In the population, it is expected that gender and ethnicity are represented. The sample will be taken from an inner city school. The setting of this study is and urban inner city school located in a low socioeconomic community, which serves a population of 1035 students from grades 9th to 12th. As a result, 85.7% of the population is economically-disadvantaged. The student demographic analysis is 51% African American, 47% Hispanic, and 2% White. Additionally, 9.7% of the students are classified as English Language Learners (ELL), 15.7% of students are students with disabilities (SWD) and 2.4% of students are gifted. Ninety three percent of the student population receives free and reduced lunch.

The sampling method to be used in the study is convenience sampling where grades of student-athletes in school-sponsored events will be obtained. Using the convenience sampling will allow the researcher to collect information needed in the study.

Ethical standards in research will be considered in the proposed study by asking permission first from the School Administrator explaining the objectives of the study and the procedure that will be followed. The participants will be assigned numbers to protect their identities.

Instruments

In- and off-season grade point average of the participants will be compared by the researcher. The researcher will not manipulate the grades the high school athletes obtained and will only collect these records for further statistical analyses. The grades to be obtained will be the following courses: English, Math, Science, Economics, History, Social Science, and the Overall average. The grades will then be converted to grade point averages.

Procedures

The data that will be collected by the researcher included age, gender, sport, and racial background of the athletes and the grades pre- and post-season in English, Math, Science, Economics, History, Social Science, and Overall average. After putting together the data by encoding them as spreadsheets, the researcher will narrow down to the data demanded in the study. This will include the delimiting of students not being able to meet the eligibility criteria in the study.

In processing and organizing data, a statistical database will be employed in analyzing the data. Every student will be assigned a participant number as a code and the demographic profile of the respondents will be logged in. The GPAs during the pre- and post-season will also be entered into the statistical database. Using the frequency distribution, the characteristics of the sample can be described. To answer Research Question 2, means and standard deviations will be computed. In analyzing statistical differences in the GPA (Research Question 3), difference of the pre- and post-season scores, sum of the differences in the scores, as well as the mean difference will form part of the table on the results of the paired t-test. To test the hypothesis in Research Question 4, an independent t-test will be applied. The p-values computed will form the basis on whether the null hypothesis will be accepted or rejected.

Limitations

The study has limitations. First, the profile of the participants will focus on age, gender, sport, and racial background. Second, because the study is in one school, the population of student athletes is relatively small and results should not be extrapolated. Third, the grades will be on these courses: English, Math, Science, Economics, History, Social Science, and the Overall average. The author of the research is an Athletic Director at the inner city school who has access to the GPA's in the fore mentioned courses. The GPA's will then be averaged. Lastly, the grades will be obtained prior to and after the season.

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