Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Hums, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hancock, Meg

Committee Member

Choi, Namok

Committee Member

Bergman, Mathew

Committee Member

Shuck, Brad

Author's Keywords

community service; student-athletes; higher education


With over 460,000 active student-athletes (NCAA, n.d.), the student sub-population is large enough to investigate potential options for institutions to increase their academic achievement. Additionally, participating in academic-related activities is especially important because of concerns about student-athletes spending more than the 20 hours per week the NCAA allows for working on their sport (Wolverton, 2008). Studies frequently highlight a lack of effort by student-athletes to adjust to academic opportunities and expectations within higher education (Adler & Adler, 1991; Lally & Kerr, 2005; Levine, Etchison, & Oppenheimer, 2014; Miller & Kerr, 2003). To combat this adjustment to higher education, community service has shown the ability for students to develop academically after their service experience (Astin & Sax, 1998). The primary purposes of this study were threefold: to examine (a) the motivation of student-athletes to perform community service, (b) the benefits they receive from community service, and (c) the association of their level of athletic identity with the student-athletes’ motivation and benefits received. Five hundred and forty-six participants from 17 different NCAA Division I/II/III institutions completed the survey. After making theoretically acceptable adjustments to the measurement model, an acceptable model fit was achieved (CMIN/df = 4.114, CFI = .954, GFI = .951, AGFI = .916, RMSEA = .076). Also, all factor loadings were above the .50 threshold recommended by Kline (2011) for large factor loadings for CFA. Participant results confirmed the first hypothesis (Standardized Direct Effect = .840, p < .001) from the structural model results. As stated previously, this means for every 1 standard deviation increase in CSM, there was a corresponding increase in CSB by .840 standard deviations. Contrary, the participant results did not confirm the second (Standardized Direct Effect = .064, p = .226) and third hypothesis (Standardized Direct Effect = -.043, p = .207) from the structural model. This study’s findings provide further insight into the relationship between Astin’s (1984) Student Involvement Theory and the athletic academic experience, in additional to valuable insight for athletic administrators and coaches for supporting student-athletes to perform community service.