Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Second Advisor

Randall F. Clemens

Third Advisor

Barbara Cozza


Athletic success sometimes may involve participants to work hard, be self-disciplined, exhibit perseverance and determination, and be able to concentrate. If such qualities are transferred into the academic domain, students may also experience academic motivation and success. Many varsity student-athletes are lacking motivation and hard work in the classroom but excel in these categories on the athletic fields. This study of the student-athlete and their motivational levels both in and out of the classroom will provide educators, coaches, and administrators with the knowledge about how to create a positive academic learning environment for its student athletes. The self-expectancy theory by Atkinson, Wigfield, and Eccles (2000) relates motivational levels to expectancies set by individuals. Motivational levels determine the tasks that we choose, persistence during those tasks, how much effort is exerted, and potentially levels of performance.

This study examines how athletics influences academic motivation of high school varsity athletes. This phenomenological study analyzes the experiences of five high school varsity student-athletes in the classroom and on the athletic field. The sample was randomly selected participants who were currently participating in competitive varsity athletics at Corbin High School. Qualitative data was triangulated through interviews, observation, and artifact collection. The findings from this study can guide teachers, coaches, and administrators to know how to best motivate students in suburban schools where there is a high priority placed on athletics. Increased levels of motivation can in turn lead to higher levels of academic achievement increasing student performance.