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Study: How Athletes Identify Influences GPA

June 24, 2016

College athletes who identify more strongly with an athletic, rather than academic, identity have lower grade point averages, according to a new study published this month in Social Science Quarterly.

The researchers, from the University of Texas at Dallas, examined data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association's GOALS survey, in which 21,000 athletes across all three NCAA divisions were surveyed in 2006. They found that students who see themselves more as athletes than academics had lower GPAs than those who saw themselves as students or academics first. GPAs are "directly influenced by their athletic versus academic identity, the athletic context including the coach's influence, and the seriousness with which they view academics," the researchers wrote.

Athletes who reported that their coaches discouraged them from certain majors had lower grade point averages. Division I athletes were more likely to focus more on athletics than their counterparts in the less competitive Divisions II and III.

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Jake New

Jake New, Reporter, covers student life and athletics for Inside Higher Ed. He joined the publication in June 2014 after writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education and covering education technology for eCampus News. For his work at the Chronicle covering legal disputes between academic publishers and critical librarians, he was awarded the David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists. His work has also appeared in the Bloomington Herald-Times, Indianapolis Monthly, Slate, PBS, Times Higher Education and the Australian. Jake studied journalism at Indiana University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student.

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