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Public Policy and Administration


Hilda Shepeard


National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I student-athletes select or may change their majors to maintain participation eligibility in sports rather than focus on their specific academic interests. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the impact of progress towards degree (PTD) on the degree choices and perceived academic value of the degree received by student-athletes attending HBCUs. The study used Sabatier's and Jenkins-Smith's advocacy coalition framework. The research questions focused on the perceptions and lived experiences of student-athletes, athletic advisors, and athletic administrators on the impact of PTD on major selection. A researcher-developed interview guide was used to collect data from 8 current and graduated student-athletes and 5 athletic advisor and athletic administrator participants. The study used random, purposeful, convenience, and snowball sampling. Data was transcribed, coded, categorized to develop themes. Data analysis included the fundamentals of first and second cycle coding. Key findings of the study identified a need for a better balance among a student athlete meeting their scholarship requirements, education goals, and commitment to the HBCU's athletic program. In addition, HBCU athletic administrator's challenges in balancing NCAA, DOE, PTD input could provide insight into the challenges of meeting the current 40-60-80 percentage requirements while supporting student academic interest. Potential positive social change will be consideration by Division I HBCU to focus on program objectives for the betterment of student-athletes' academic experience and career afterwards that are conducive to meeting benchmarks set by PTD and DOE.

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