Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs


Joshua Castle

Publication Date



In 2004, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted legislation that it hoped would help increase the graduation rates of student athletes. The Academic Progress Rating (APR), was designed to hold each individual athletic program accountable for keeping student athletes eligible and at the institution until the student athlete graduates. With this reform the NCAA attached land mark discipline measures for non compliance of the APR standards. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact that the APR has had on NCAA college football programs. Specifically, this study focused on assessing coaches and directors of football operations' (DFOs) responses to questions regarding the issues of contention by football coaches and DFOs that lie within the APR legislation and how this legislation has changed their recruiting and retention strategies. The 234 DFOs and coaches that serve in that position at NCAA Division I institutions were chosen as subjects for this study. They were asked to complete a survey containing questions about how the APR has changed their program's recruiting and retention strategy. In addition, they were asked how the APR has affected their program's graduation rate, amount of resources they and their athletic department have dedicated to academics, and the amount of transfers they have coming into and leaving their program, due to the APR. These responses were then analyzed to see if there were any differences among BCS automatic bid conferences and non-BCS automatic bid conferences. The results indicated that there was no significant difference between BCS and non-BCS programs in terms of retention and recruiting strategies due to the APR legislation. However, results did indicate that 45.6% of Division I college football programs changed their recruiting strategy. Of the respondents, 56.3% are slightly less, less, or extremely less likely to recruit prospects that are potential discipline problems. In addition, 64.1% of football programs were slightly less, less, or extremely less likely to recruit academically challenged prospects. While 45.7% of programs said they were slightly less, less or extremely less likely to recruit special admittance prospects. In terms of retention, 48.6% of football programs indicated that they were slightly more, more, or extremely more likely to retain discipline problems due to the APR. When faced with a student athlete that has convicted a misdemeanor, 17.5% of football programs responded they were slightly more likely or more likely to retain the student athlete. Other results from this survey showed that 66% of football programs and 75.7% of athletic departments have increased either money or resources to their academic budgets because of the APR legislation. Responses also implied that 61.1% of football programs were slightly more likely, more, or were extremely more likely to monitor class attendance due to the APR legislation. The results also indicated that 83.5% of football programs feel they have graduated more student athletes since the inception of the APR. Additionally, 28.2% of football programs stated that they have more student athletes transferring out of their program than into the program.'


National Collegiate Athletic Association. Division I--Rules and practice, College athletes--Recruiting, Football players--Education--United States, Academic achievement, Dropouts--Prevention

Document Type




Degree Name

Sports Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Seidler, Todd

Second Committee Member

Bova, Breda

Third Committee Member

Clement, Annie