Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Information Systems and Technology


Brandon Simmons


In competitive youth sports organizations, few organizational leaders focus on leadership development to prepare youth for life situations. Sports organizational leaders are concerned about youth leadership development, as development allows youth to build skills necessary to understand their strengths and weaknesses and recognize ways to overcome fears. Grounded in social learning theory, the purpose of this summative program evaluation was to determine the extent to which a competitive youth sports leadership development program aligned with the organization’s primary objective to provide skilled athletic training while providing lessons to prepare youth for adulthood. The participants comprised 40 key stakeholders, including participants of the leadership program in northeastern Ohio, who participated in, managed, or were affected by the program. Data were collected from semistructured interviews, surveys, archival data, and focus groups. The results indicated there were positive correlations linking eligible athletes to the number of athletes who participated in the leadership program for the years 2017 (r = .84, p = .05), 2018 (r = .90, p = .05), and 2019 (r = .98, p = .05). The qualitative data were examined using thematic analysis and the Van Kaam technique. The resulting themes were structure, academics, sense of self, community involvement, and physical health and safety. A key recommendation is for program leaders to evaluate programs to monitor success with meeting program outcomes continuously. The implications for positive social change include the potential for program leaders to provide a safe environment where youth learn leadership skills and use the skills independently to establish support networks to participate in community life.