Participation in High School Competitive Sports: A Subversion of School Mission or Contribution to Academic Goals?

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Naomi FejginNORC and the University of Chicago

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Longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of 10th graders (National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 First Follow-Up) were used to assess the net effect of athletic participation on student outcomes after controlling for student background and 8th-grade measures of the dependent variables. The analyses show positive effects of sport participation on grades, self-concept, locus of control, and educational aspirations, and a negative effect on discipline problems. Analysis also shows that athletic participation is unequally distributed across gender and socioeconomic groups: Males, students from higher socioeconomic levels, students attending private and smaller schools, and those with previous experience in school and private sport teams are more engaged in high school competitive sport.

Naomi Fejgin is now with the Zinman College of Physical Education, Wingate Institute, Netanya, 42902, Israel.

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