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Academic dishonesty among Division III college athletes

Arthur V Jewett, Johnson & Wales University


Academic dishonesty has been intensely studied from different perspectives, but most of the research involving athletes has been done at Division I institutions in high profile sports. The purpose of this study was to investigate academic dishonesty among collegiate athletes at NCAA Division III institutions. The study was designed to determine the prevalence and types of academic dishonesty behaviors among student athletes; the frequency of academic dishonesty on the campuses as perceived by student athletes; the attitudes of student athletes towards the seriousness of specific forms of academic dishonesty; and the relationship between student athletes' characteristics and the type, prevalence, and perceived seriousness of academic dishonesty. The sample consisted of 485 student athlete participants in selected winter sports and spring sports from 3 private and 3 public Division III colleges. The student athletes responded to a 16-item modified version of the McCabe Academic Integrity Survey (McCabe, 1992d). The results showed that academic dishonesty was widespread and supports the perception that academic dishonesty among student athletes is pervasive. Almost all the respondents (95%) admitted having participated in at least one cheating behavior, but not repeated cheating, and most (80%) thought cheating was prevalent on their campus. The likelihood of engaging in some form of academic dishonesty was found to have an inverse relationship to the student's perception of the seriousness of cheating. Although student athletes thought a great amount of cheating was happening, they were reluctant to confront cheating behavior of others. No significant differences were found in cheating behavior with regard to academic major, ethnicity, and year group. However, significant differences were found by institutional type, grade point average, age, gender, and sport participation. This topic needs additional research because of the increasing number of recruited athletes, admission preferences, and conflicting competitive goals of athletic programs at Division III colleges.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Jewett, Arthur V, "Academic dishonesty among Division III college athletes" (2006). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3234442.