Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Glenn Bettis, Terrence A. Tollefson, Thomas E. Coates


The purpose of the study was to examine the economic, institutional, and human impact of athletic programs at community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents community college system to determine how the athletic programs affects the benefits, or lack of benefits, for students, the institutions, and the communities.

Sixteen participants were interviewed: two presidents, two athletic directors, four coaches, and eight student-athletes. The student-athletes represented four different sports and came from a variety of educational backgrounds and academic standing. The primary benefits perceived for the institutions and the student-athletes were the impact on missions, enrollment, educational and athletic opportunities, and retention. The primary negative impacts perceived were the lack of preparation for college work by high school graduates inside and outside the athletic programs and the difficulties in recruiting the best academic student-athletes.

Some administrative and athletic participants perceived the lack of preparation of high school graduates to do college work as a great obstacle for some student-athletes and others in the community colleges. Emergent themes included time management, the stress of maintaining dual paths in academics and athletics, and the need of good housing environment. Mentoring by coaches, motivation to progress in academics, the assistance of student development services, and faculty and staff were perceived by the student-athletes as being beneficial to their success and progress.

The implication from this study is that student-athletes represent a variety of socioeconomic and diverse backgrounds that may impact educational backgrounds. They also represent a variety of academic levels that vary from year to year. Student-athletes are successful, with planning and assistance, in reaching their educational and career goals. The problem of remedial education is an obstacle for some of them, for the institution, and for the state. To become successful in increasing the number of Tennesseans who attain higher education levels, the obstacle needs to be addressed in the community college system and, more importantly, in the elementary and secondary schools.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.