M. Ward, A. Carlson, J. Thynes, J. Radi, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Grade point average (GPA) has been shown to be an accurate variable to measure academic performance. Previous research has identified additional variables within athletic, academic, and other loci that affect student-athletes’ GPA, including the average amount of time spent weekly directly towards their sport. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between Division III student-athletes average time commitment per week to their sport and their cumulative GPA. METHODS: Only current, full-time matriculated student-athletes at a selected university were eligible. These student-athletes were currently on the roster of a varsity level Division III NCAA sport. Ultimately, 79 eligible student-athletes (41 males, 33 females, ages 18-26 years old) anonymously completed an 8-question Qualtrics survey. In addition to a question that solicited cumulative GPA, the remaining questions solicited average time spent participating in their respective sport per week. This included practice time, travel time, film, lifting, and team meetings. A Pearson correlation coefficient (p < 0.05) was used to determine the relationship between time spent towards athletic commitments and GPA. RESULTS: As a whole, the student-athletes reported spending 21.17 7.57 hrs toward athletic commitments and reported a cumulative GPA of 3.61 0.33. Further analysis of the male and female data indicated similar measures of central tendency and variance. Inferentially, there was a non-significant weak negative correlation between time spent committed to athletics and cumulative GPA (r = -0.098, p = 0.388). CONCLUSION: Under these research conditions, time spent towards athletics did not appear to relate to cumulative GPA. Since the target population was limited to a single university, it is possible that student-athlete data from other universities and/or from different levels of NCAA competition would yield different results. Additionally, there was a high representation for baseball, softball, and men’s track sports within the sample population. Further research in this area should include more student-athletes from other sports to improve the generalizability of the data.

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