School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Sarah J. Pannone


Athletics, Community College, Persistence, Retention, Student-athletes


Community College Education Administration | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of Division III National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) student athletes in central North Carolina who successfully persist to a four-year institution. The theory that guided this study was Vincent Tinto’s Theory of Student Integration (1975) as it established the principle that student’s personal commitment or determination to earn a degree and their commitment to their college or university determines whether they will complete their educational goals. The central research question guiding this study is: What are the experiences of the Division III NJCAA student-athlete in central North Carolina who successfully persist to a four-year institution? The sub-research questions investigated how Division III NJCAA student-athletes describe their (a) social, (b) athletic, (c) academic and (d) personal experiences at the community college level that led to their successful persistence to a four-year university or college. This study intended to capture the authentic voice of NJCAA Division III student-athletes who had persisted to a four-year institution. The method for this transcendental phenomenological study incorporated individual in-depth interviews, writing samples, and a focus group as the primary data collection methods. Four themes emerged: Parent Support, Push to Succeed, Love of Sport, and Not Ready for a University.