Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Executive Summary

This study examines the relationship between the level of spending on academic services per student-athlete for 22 athletic departments within the Division I structure and the recently established performance measure outlined in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Academic Reform: the Academic Progress Rate (APR).

The importance placed on student-athletes to learn, develop, and maintain academic eligibility has led to the implementation of a number of academic tutorial and support programs provided by college and university athletic departments. This analysis investigates the relationship between the level of spending on student-athlete academic services and student-athlete academic performance for two major NCAA Division I conferences. Additionally, it examines whether these programs are successful in accomplishing their goal of student-athlete academic success.

This analysis focuses on football and male basketball programs. It finds a relationship between per athlete spending changes and academic progress for men‟s football. However, this impact is not found at low levels of spending or when applied to men‟s basketball. Additionally, other factors such as academic quality, spending on student services, and the student faculty ratio mattered as expected. While these findings may signify that academic support programs only have significant effects on the academic achievement of student-athletes at higher levels of spending, the magnitude of this effect is unclear. Implications for these athletic departments are presented to address the potential concern that dollars spent on support services may not foster measureable academic improvements at lower levels of spending.