School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Michelle Barthlow


Student-athlete, Academic Performance, In-season, Out-of-season


Education | Educational Leadership


The in-season and out-of-season effects of sports participation on academic performance vary depending on the level of play from middle school through collegiate athletics. The purpose of this study was to determine if a significant difference exists between in-season academic performance and out-of-season academic performance of student-athletes in a low-income high school. The number of students participating in high school athletics has continued to rise for 33 consecutive years as increases in the commercialization of high school athletics affect the athletic identities and academic achievement of student-athletes. Little research has been done to examine the effects of in- and out-of-season play on academic performance at the secondary level. This study examined the in- and out-of-season effects on the academic performance of 130 student-athletes in a low-income high school using a repeated measures design. The average semester GPAs of the student-athletes in- and out-of-season were compared using paired samples t-test procedures. The findings yielded positive and statistically significant differences in academic achievement in-season as compared to out-of-season at p = 0.038. Suggestions for future research include examining the effects of athletic seasons on academic achievement in individual sports and across ethnic groups, longitudinal studies, and qualitative studies to investigate the perspectives of student-athletes.