Graduate Program

Guidance and Counseling

Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Robert E. Saltmarsh


The purpose of this study is to provide descriptive and statistical data to identify any differences in three college divisions of men's basketball and baseball student athletes as they related to career decision making in their career interest, academic major and grade point average.

Concepts of this study were originally tested by Dr. Joseph Scott Paul (1986) in his doctoral dissertation, The Intercollegiate Athlete as a Student in Higher Education: An Analysis of Career Expectations, Interests, and Academic Majors.

This study will include men's basketball and baseball student athletes at three different institutions in three different divisions. The research describes their personal career interests, career goals, motivation in the academic setting, and academic majors. The research also shows their GPAs, ACT test scores, and their aspirations to become professional athletes.

Research based on descriptive and statistical data were used to determine the answers to the following questions:

1. Do these student athletes hold career goals which are realistic to their basic career interests? (Paul, 1986, p. 4)

2. Are there differences between Division I, II, and III students striving for academic goals which would increase their ability to obtain their career goals as measured by GPA and ACT scores?

3. Are there differences between black and white student athletes within their divisions striving for academic goals which would increase their ability to obtain their career goals?

The relevance of this study was to provide a resource for college athletic academic advisors and counselors to study and use in counseling athletes in career decisions. The information obtained from this study can be used during the college years of the student athlete to show that a college education is first and a professional contract (if possible) is second.

Data were gathered by a survey developed by Dr. Paul (1986) which was modified and administered to the student athletes. It requested information on college major, career goals, high school GPA, college transfer GPA, cumulative college GPA, ACT/SAT test scores, race, and college classification. The Strong Campbell Career Interest Inventory

Survey was administered which showed career interests based on nationally normed data in 6 general themes and 23 basic interest areas. Descriptive and statistical data were recorded in narrative form and charts include division, high school GPA, ACT test scores, college transfer GPA, cumulative college GPA, and career interest. Percentage, means, medians, modes, ranges, standard deviations, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were reported for descriptive and statistical data.

The most important academic factor was related to grade point average of those intending to become professional athletes. This conclusion supported related literature which stated that practice, team meetings, travel, and competition overruled study and tutoring time which was reflected by the cumulative GPAs of each student athlete. Thus, student athletes tended to focus more on physical development instead of academic (mental) development.