Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Olinzock, Anthony A.

Committee Member

Adams, James H.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Committee Member

Okojie, Mabel C.P.O.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


The need to lessen the dropout rate for America’s high schools necessitated a search for answers by examining the impact of athletic participation on at-risk high school students. Research supports the contention that benefits athletics for students at-risk of dropping out. However, the majority of empirical research on athletic participation has been conducted on athletes and non-athletes, leaving a gap in regard to at-risk students. The study provides a comparison between athletic participation and non-participation with at-risk students. The goal of this study was to share the findings of an investigation of the impact of athletic participation on at-risk high school students’ academic performance. The academic performances included: standardized assessments, attendance, behavior, and dropout rate. This study sought to compare the criterion-referenced scores of at-risk athletes and at-risk non-athletes, as well as the GPA scores, attendance rates, number of disciplinary referrals, and the dropout rate of the 2 categories of students, using non-experimental research. The major findings of this study revealed that more at-risk non-athletes dropped out of school than at-risk athletes.