Policy makers at the federal and state levels use retention rates as one of several measures of performance for higher education institutions. Although student retention has been an area of intensive study by higher education researchers, very few studies have focused on the retention rates of big-time college athletes. The major purpose of this study was twofold. First, Federal Graduation Rate data were used to measure the retention rate gaps between football players and other students in Football Bowl Subdivision institutions. Second, a number of hypotheses were tested in an effort to explain why some FBC institutions have bigger gaps than others. The overall average federal graduation rate gap between players and other students, while small, was statistically significant. A school’s academic selectivity and commitment to athletic success were positively related to the size of the retention gap. The percentage of part- time students in the general population was inversely related to the retention gap.
Sack, Allen L.; Park, Eun A.; and Thiel, Robert
"Watch the Gap: Explaining Retention Gaps between FBS Football Players and the General Student Body,"
Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics: Vol. 4, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jiia/vol4/iss1/4