Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Michael T. Miller

Committee Member

Suzanne McCray

Second Committee Member

G. David Gearhart


Academic Preparedness, Athletics, College Athlete, Community College, Graduation Rate, Retention, Student Success, Two-Year College


Two-year athletic programs bring many unique elements to a college campus, many of which help to create a comprehensive student experience. Quantifying this experience is difficult as little data has been collected historically on two-year college athletes. The purpose of conducting this study was to create a profile of a rural two-year college student-athlete and to utilize the data to determine if participation in athletics had any effect on student success measures. This study will help college administrators build a better understanding of the two-year college student-athlete, aiding their decision-making regarding the prioritization of college athletics on their campuses. These data will then hopefully enable those administrators to develop proactive strategies to serve this population more effectively.

Data was collected from one rural two-year Midwestern college which offers college athletics. The study encompassed three years of student data that was presented in a descriptive statistic format using frequencies and percentages. Data were also analyzed using the Pearson Chi-Square Test of Independence to determine if a significant difference existed between variables. The data indicated the student-athlete at the case study institution was different from the general study body. Data also showed some differences in the student-athlete's retention compared to the non-athlete at the case study institution. Differences were also indicated when comparing student-athletes based upon demographic characteristics.

Findings for this study demonstrated that students attracted to participation in two-year athletic programs at rural colleges are different from their same institution non-athlete peers. The study also indicated participation in athletics could positively affect student-athlete success while at the institution. Administrators should replicate a similar study on their campuses with hopes of improving data for decision making.