Thesis Position Paper#1 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Thesis Position Paper It was very interesting starting this project with our goal being the influence of sports in the academic area of a students life. Being a coach myself, I am very excited to see the actual results we end up with. After reading several articles I have found that this topic has been an interest for many others for about two decades. In 1961 Colemans study suggested that participating in athletics was detrimental to ones academics because sports became more importance in the establishment of social status for males than did grades or scholarships. After investigating several articles I found that there are many factors that effect students and their academics. Socioeconomics, race, type of sport, sex, socialization and extent of involvement all contribute to academic performance. Socioeconomics was mentioned in just about every study I reviewed. This is very understandable in that if one comes from a well-to-do family the parents will more than likely become involved in the students education as well as the sport. Maybe wealthier families have the extra money to spend on the education of their child. Some of the studies found that involvement in sports has helped students to manage their time better and thereby achieve at higher level of academics. A student must be able to equally balance sports and academics if he/she wants to succeed in both areas. It was also found that participation in extracurricular activities increased the involvement of the student in other activities that enhanced academics. I myself have mixed feelings on the importance or influence of sports on the academics of a student. Going through school I found athletics to help me become motivated to do better in school but too many times sports took precedence over my studies. After coaching last year for a hockey team at my school I found that most of my athletes could have cared less about their grades and many times it almost seemed as if the sport was just something to fill a time slot with. Overall though I have found that students who are involved in sports are motivated to do better academically. Whether this is because of a need to stay eligible or because of some connection between sports and academics is something we shall find out. Another thing which will set us apart from other studies is that living as far up north as we do, travel time which is at least two hours for every trip, may have a big influence on the results of our study with students missing so much school.

-- Anonymous, June 01, 1999

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