Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathleen Van Horn



Improving the academic success and graduation rates of African-American males has been a major focus of both scholars and practitioners in the United States. Locally, African-American males at an urban Title 1 school were experiencing the lowest grade point averages, American College Test scores, and graduation rates in the district. In response to these academic declines, this study focused on the tenets of Bechtol's sports participation theory, which holds that students who play sports experience greater academic achievement and adult success in life. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between total hours of high school athletics participation and earned GPAs for African-American male students at the school under study for 1 academic year and across each term (4) of the school year. A correlational research design was used to identify if a relationship existed between hours of sports participation and the GPAs of African-American male student-athletes from the 2012 ' 2013 school year (N = 36). The results of the 5 Pearson correlation analyses indicated no statistically significant relationship between the total hours African-American male student-athletes spent participating in sports and their GPAs. The sample size was a limitation of the study design, therefore it was recommended to conduct the investigation with a larger sample size. The results of the study prompted the design of a professional development program for local administrators, faculty, and staff called Championing Higher Achievement Matriculation, Preparation, and Success for Student Athletes (CHAMPS). The CHAMPS program prepares school personnel to more effectively mentor, coach, tutor, and teach African-American male student-athletes. The program can improve the quality of education that can serve as the stimulus for social change through improved educational outcomes for African-American male student athletes.