Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

James R Campbell

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Third Advisor

Richard Bernato


Each year in New York state, tens of thousands of student-athletes participate in interscholastic athletics on over 15,000 public school teams. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on interscholastic athletic participation rates in New York state public schools and their relationship to school districts’ demographics, including percentage of non-White students, percentage of economically disadvantaged students, total enrollment, and graduation rates. The sample consisted of 218 public school districts located throughout New York state, with approximately 20 participant districts from each of the 11 New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s governing sections. This study adds to the growing literature on equitable participation in interscholastic athletics. This ex post facto quantitative analysis relied on archived data from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s annual participation survey and the New York State Education Department’s enrollment data from the 2018–2019 and 2021–2022 school years. The data provided variables for path analysis that allowed the researcher to infer that the COVID-19 pandemic affected athletic participation across different demographics. It is important for educational leaders to consider equity and access to participation in interscholastic athletics and all of the associated benefits that attend such participation. The findings of this research provide additional quantitative data for educational leaders looking to build culturally responsive school communities that extend outside the classroom into the realm of extracurricular participation.