Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Sports Education Leadership

First Committee Member

Monica Lounsbery

Second Committee Member

Dick Tandy

Third Committee Member

Mark Guadagnoli

Fourth Committee Member

Cecilia Maldonado-Daniels

Number of Pages



Though the NCAA has established rules that require student-athletes to complete their college degree in an expeditious manner, the 40/60/80% rule may impinge on student-athlete academic decisions (i.e., degree choice).Yet limited empirical data exist regarding the nature and prevalence of student-athlete degree impingement. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate the Student-Athlete Degree Choice Questionnaire (SA-DCQ). The SA-DCQ assesses factors that influence Division I student-athletes' degree choice. An initial 40 item, 4 component SA-DCQ instrument was piloted with 170 Division I student-athletes. In order to develop scales, Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was conducted. PCA results yielded 13 items that loaded on 3 components (satisfaction with major, eligibility barriers, and demographic matches) that together explained 51.4% of the variance. Cronbach's Alpha was used to assess the internal consistency of each component for use as a scaled score. The Cronbach coefficient alphas for each component are as follows: satisfaction with major .894, eligibility barriers .817, and demographic matches .722. SA-DCQ components met the standard for acceptable or good (> .8 to > .7; George & Mallery, 2000).

Chi square analyses were used to examine student-athlete scaled score differences based on gender, ethnicity, sport, admissions status, household income, educational background of parents, and scholarship status. Statistically significant chi square differences were found for all three scales and student-athletes' gender [X2 (4, N=107) =12.57, p=.014; X2 (4, N=74)= 22.88, p=.001; X2 (3, N=57)=11.60, p=.009], admissions status [X2 (8, N=107) =17.93, p=.022; X2 (8, N=74) = 18.92, p=.015; X2 (6, N=57) = 20.16, p=.03], and sport [X2 (56, N=107) = 84.85, p=.008; X2 (56, N=74) = 120.32, p=.001; X2 (42, N=57) = 62.26, p=.023].

The development and validation of the SA-DCQ should prove to be a useful tool to monitor student-athlete degree impingements and their pervasiveness. Additionally, although findings from the pilot study were limited by sampling challenges, they do provide some insight into student-athlete demographic differences in satisfaction with major, eligibility barriers, and demographic matches. Future related studies should seek a larger sample size with adequate representation from student-athletes from low SES families, 2 and 4 year transfers, and minority student-athletes.


Academic achievement; Academic success; College athletes; College majors; Higher education; NCAA eligibility requirements; Sport social justice; Student-Athletes; Universities and colleges


Education | Sports Management | Sports Studies