Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Hums, Mary A.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Keedy, John L.

Author's Keywords

High school; Boys; Basketball; Social structure; Athletes; Socioeconomic status


High school athletes--Social conditions; Basketball--Social aspects; School sports--Social aspects


This study examined the relationship between high school boys' basketball and the social structure of a suburban, rural, and urban high school in the lower Midwest. These schools surround a metropolitan area of approximately one million people. The researcher used interviews, observations, and mining of documents to collect data. The study answered four research questions. The first question addressed the social structure of the three schools. Each school contained a group associated with sport participation called "jock" or "athlete." The second research question examined how boys' basketball participation affected social group membership and the associated positive and negative aspects. At each school, boys' basketball assisted in "jock" or "athlete" group membership. Boys' basketball players, however, had dual membership in two social groups at each school. The third research question examined how boys' basketball participation offered opportunities or limited upward mobility within the school and beyond. All three schools showed boys' basketball as an overall positive in this regard, but questions of how much occurred at the rural and urban school. Research question four served as a cross-case analysis regarding the role of boys' basketball within the social structure of each school. The influence of socio-economics was a primary finding of research question four and ultimately the study. The findings contributed to the knowledge base that will allow high school basketball coaches and school administrators address social issues pertaining to the students who participate. The findings, furthermore, moved research forward concerning high school sport benefits and limitations and the social implications of high school sport.