This study investigated the effects of selected predictor variables of academic achievement on the academic performance of student-athletes at Louisiana State University. This study attempted to identify cognitive and noncognitive variables that might explain the variance in the cumulative college grade point average (GPA)among student-athletes at LSU enrolled during the 2003-04 academic year.
Cognitive variables included ACT composite score, high school GPA, and cumulative college GPA. Noncognitive variables included positive self-concept, support of academic plans, and community involvement. In addition, data were collected for two sport variables--type of sport participation (revenue and non-revenue generating sports) and time spent on sport (in hours per week). These data were analyzed using a stepwise regression method for student-athletes as a group, as well as by subgroups of gender, race, and academic classification level (freshman, upperclassmen). In addition, follow-up interviews were done with selected student-athletes to provide insight into the experiences that student-athletes encountered as a result of their dual roles as students and student-athletes.
The results of this study indicated that high school GPA, ACT composite score, gender, and academic classification level accounted for 55 percent of the variance in student-athletes' cumulative college GPA. High school GPA was the most effective single predictor variable of student-athletes' cumulative college GPA. In subgroup regression analyses, a different combination of cognitive and noncognitive variables explained most of the variance for each subgroup. Time spent on sport was significant in regression equations for whites, males, and upperclassmen student-athletes. Type of sport participation was significant for black and all freshman student-athletes. Support of academic plans was significant for all female and black student-athletes.
The results of this study suggest that, in addition to the cognitive variables, the noncognitive variables accounted for additional variance in college cumulative GPA in the subgroup analyses. Moreover, student-athletes identified time constraints, feeling fatigued, and financial concerns as challenges encountered in their dual roles as students and student-athletes. These various experiences of student-athletes should be considered when developing academic support strategies designed to improve their academic performance.