Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-12-2018


The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) reports over 7.5 million high school students participate in interscholastic athletics each year (National Federation of State High School Associations, 2017).

The impact of interscholastic sports participation has been researched and examined for over a century. Research has certainly brought attention to the impact and the many positive benefits students receive when given the opportunity to participate. It is evident high school sports participation enhances academic performance while promoting life skills and lessons.

Those who support interscholastic sports participation value the opportunities for character development, while critics often cite the costs and potential distractions from academics as reasons to keep sports out of schools. The majority of previous research on sport participation has utilized large sample sizes in longitudinal studies, using a quantitative design. This research takes a different approach. It examines the impact of participation by applying a qualitative design (exploratory case study) to examine the impact of participation, from the perspective of the high school principal, athletic director and counselor.

This qualitative research study was performed during the middle of a school year with 12 tenured administrators in several diverse high schools of comparable size in the Albany, New York area.

The research provides evidence for the perceived impact of interscholastic athletic participation from the perspective of the high school principal, athletic director and school counselor.


participation impact benefits interscholastic athletics

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Todd Seidler

Second Committee Member

Glen Hushman

Third Committee Member

David Scott

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Lombardi