Faculty Research at Morehead State University


An Examination of Behavioral Data and Testing Scores as Indicators of Student-Athletes’ Academic Success

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2013


The researchers examined behavioral data and testing scores to verify the best indicators of student-athletes’ academic performance for balancing academic achievement and athletic participation. One hundred eighty six student-athletes (125 males and 61 females) of a regional university (a NCAA Division-I affiliated institution) in the Appalachian region completed an 11- item daily life behavioral survey based on several studies (Becker, 1965; Csikszentmihaly & Larson, 1984; Lee, Park, & Shin, 2007) from spring of 2012. Predictive standard test scores were gathered with the support of the Enrollment Office and the Office of Institutional Analysis. Results of the inquiry indicated that the participants spent a daily average of six hours studying and attending classes and four hours in athletic practices and competitions. Their time spent in leisure and social activities also varied significantly based on their gender, racial background, academic status, and participatory sport. Participants’ academic performance (grade point average) was found to be positively correlated (p < .01; Pearson r = .497) with the time spent attending classes and studying, and negatively correlated with the time spent in competition and practice and leisure activities (p < .01; Pearson r = -.357). Predictive standard testing scores yielded weak correlations with academic performance (Pearson r < .300). This sample group did not report more time spent in practices or competitions as reported by other studies. However, the need to balance student-athletes’ academic and athletic life is important. The researchers provided further discussion and practical suggestions on how to work with student-athletes concerning this conundrum.