School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Primary Subject Area
High School Athletic Eligibility Policies, Interscholastic Sports, Athletic Directors
High school students in North Carolina public schools must meet academic eligibility requirements in order to compete on school sponsored teams. While all districts must follow the state association guidelines, local education agencies may elect to create policies that are more rigorous. This mixed-methods study investigated the impact of the academic eligibility policies on high school campuses. The research relied heavily upon interviews with high school athletic directors, but also analyzed measures of student academic success. Interviewees were male and female, white and African-American. They had varied years of experience, and were from schools that were different geographically and demographically, including two districts with different eligibility requirements. The results highlight similarities and dissimilarities in the perspectives and opinions of athletic directors. The greatest variance of opinions concerned where the standard of academic eligibility should be established. This topic becomes increasingly important in an environment of high academic expectations and as participation in high school sports reaches unprecedented levels, both in terms of the number of students involved and the amount of money spent on athletic programs.