How High School Sports Impact Graduation Rates

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, students who engage in high school athletics out-perform non-athletes in an academic setting.  A 2012 study found that high school athletes:

This results in an increased rate of graduation, higher than that of other student groups (Lumpkins 2012).  Some of Lumpkins’ findings are based upon earlier research, which shows that students who participate in high school athletics tend to have an enhanced feeling of belonging and a higher level of engagement within their social networks, (McNeal 1995).  This positive peer pressure has been shown to decrease dropout rates among student athletes.

Participation in Sports Leads to Healthier Students

Another factor that appears to have a positive impact on how a student athlete performs in the classroom setting is a heightened focus on physical health and nutrition.  Improved physical health and well-being leads to a lower rate of absenteeism, which can have a positive impact on learning outcomes.  Simple tactics, such as eating breakfast on a regular basis, are directly linked to improved cognitive function and higher information retention rates, (Aldolphus 2013).

Leadership Development On and Off the Field

Involvement in team sports helps student athletes develop their leadership skills.  Through interactions with teammates, students learn how to leverage their skills to impact the team’s performance.  “Due to peer influence, common experiences, and shared proximity, team leaders shape the attitudes and beliefs of their teams,” (National Federation of State High School Associations).  Working in teams also provides opportunities for students to develop trust.  Students learn to depend upon their teammates and have a better understanding of the role they play in helping the team perform.  Coaches can help foster team building by providing ample opportunities for athletes to interact with each other, as well as by rewarding team-focused behavior.

Coaches and Staff Have a Positive Impact on Athletes

In addition to the development of interpersonal relationship skills they build with their teammates, high school athletes are also given an opportunity to develop healthy relationships with positive adult role models including their coaches, trainers, officials, and athletic directors.  These interactions have been linked to positive outcomes in the student athlete’s behavior, as well as their psychological development.  Students learn how to follow directions and develop respect for authority figures.  Additionally, having strong relationships with positive adult role models enhances the student’s problem solving skills as these mentors can help a student navigate difficult situations. 

According to the High School Eligibility Guide for Student Athletes, Ohio High School Athletic Association’s eligibility requirements for 2018-2019 school year state that “students must receive a passing grade in a minimum of five one-credit courses or the equivalent thereof in the prior grading period,” (OHSAA).   Because of these eligibility requirements, coaches regularly monitor the progress of their students during the grading period to help identify any opportunities for improvement.  For parents of high school athletes, this means having an extra set of eyes looking out for the well being of their children.

Our Role in Shaping The Future

Athletic programs at area high schools do far more than provide structured playtime for students.  These programs help support educational outcomes, foster healthier lifestyles, and create better citizens through participation in high school sports.  Activities Beyond the Classroom is responsible for managing the athletic programs at thirteen CPS high schools.  We provide nine Athletic Directors to oversee on-site activities at ten high schools, as well as manage each school’s athletic fund. These athletic funds pay for equipment, uniforms, officials, transportation, security, and more.  ABC takes great pride in the role that we play in helping to shape the future by providing vital resources that make it possible for local high school students to participate in sports.