Exploring Success: Variations in Division I Student-Athlete Academic and Athletic Performance

Marissa K. Nichols – Boston University
Nancy L. Lough – University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Alice J. Corkill – University of Nevada, Las Vegas


The student-athlete literature is rife with studies examining factors that improve or inhibit academic or athletic performance. This study examined how different types of Division I FBS performers differ on three conceptual frameworks representing internal factors. Each of the frameworks – Mindset, Personal Growth Initiative, and Student-Athlete Experiences – have positive attributes relative to performance, development, and well-being. There were meaningful differences between high and low academic performers on academic experiences. Studentathletes in this sample also displayed a growth mindset towards academic and athletic abilities, as well as high levels of Personal Growth Initiative. In addition, student-athletes who performed at high levels athletically did not report fewer experiences academically. This study also contributed an athletic performance metric, the College Athletic Performance Indicator (CAP-I 1.0), that can be used and improved upon to quantify individual athletic performance in higher education, irrespective of sport. Implications for student-athlete development professionals are discussed.