A program evaluation of athletic academic support programs at two land -grant universities

Carlos A Thomas, Tennessee State University


In an effort to respond to growing public disdain for poor management in college athletics the governing body of college athletics, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), instituted a number of "academic reforms" during the second half of the twentieth century to improve not only the image of college athletics but also to increase the graduation rates of student athletes. To meet the goals of Proposition 48 and Proposition 16, the NCAA initiated additional reforms to improve graduation rates by requiring that all Division I-A athletic departments establish formal academic support services to address the unique academic needs of athletes. The effectiveness of the mandated academic support services in improving graduation rates among student athletes at Division I-A institutions has been mixed. This study is a comparative analysis of program evaluation techniques used at academic support programs for student athletes at Land-Grant institutions that participate in athletics in the Southeastern Conference. This study is a program evaluation of two academic support programs charged with the responsibility of meeting the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) for post-season participation. In January 2005, the NCAA Division-I Board of Directors approved a measure that penalizes Division-I universities that do not maintain a satisfactory APR. Any Division-I university not in compliance with the new standards stands to lose up to 10 percent of available scholarships and elimination from post-season play, resulting in significant revenue losses. The purpose of the study is to provide much needed insight on how mandated academic support programs for student athletes have attempted to meet the goals specified by NCAA legislation. While this evaluation uses a population of student athletes from two universities, the population is however, representative of student athletes at most Land Grant institutions in the United States. The study uses the CIPP program evaluation model and includes an extensive literature review on the history of program evaluation techniques in public policy and higher education administration. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Findings in the study suggest that academic support centers should utilize technology more in day-to-day processes especially those that apply to the evaluation process.

Subject Area

Public administration|School administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Carlos A Thomas, "A program evaluation of athletic academic support programs at two land -grant universities" (2006). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3211918.