Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Higher Ed/Community College Ed

Major Professor

Donald Dellow, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

William Young, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Miller, Ed.D.

Committee Member

W. Robert Sullins, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Alan Balfour, Ph.D.


NCAA, Division I, Intercollegiate Athletics, Student Experiences, Academic Development, Life-Long Learning


The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine the perceived development of life-long learning skills of Division I student-athletes and their non-athlete general student peers. Using grade point averages and graduation rates, athletics administrators are constantly evaluating the academic performance and growth of student-athletes by comparing their results with those of non-athlete general students. Though these traditional metrics are useful in many ways, there is little research on the self-reported development of life-long learning skills.

Due to a changing global economy, employers are less concerned with the knowledge students possess at graduation and are more interested in a student’s ability to adapt to changes, think critically, and acquire information on their own and apply this new knowledge in an effort to create solutions to existing problems in a team based environment repeatedly over time. Collectively, these skills can be described as life-long learning skills.

The Capacity for Life-Long Learning Index (CLLI), which is comprised of fourteen items from the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ), purport to measure students’ perceived gains on academic skills relevant to life-long learning. This study compares scores on the CLLI for several different variables, including student-athletes, non-athlete general students, gender, class, and ethnicity to determine whether there were differences in the perceived gains in life-long learning skills.

On the basis of the results of this study, the following conclusions seem warranted:

1. There were no significant differences in the CLLI score for student-athletes and non-athlete general students. viii

2. There were significant differences between the CLLI scores for female students, both student-athletes and non-athlete general students, and their male counterparts.

3. There were significant differences between the CLLI scores for senior students, both student-athletes and non-athlete general students, and their freshman student counterparts.

4. There were no significant differences between the CLLI scores among students of different ethnic groups. "