Understanding Experiences, Engagement, and Persistence for Latina/O Student-Athletes



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Background: In 2014-2015, there were more than 20,000 Latina/o student-athletes participating in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), making them the third- largest group of athletes after White and African Americans (GOALS, 2015). However, research on intercollegiate athletics has been based on a predominately male and Black/White binary approach, excluding Latina/os (Oseguera, Merson, Harrison, & Rankin, 2018). Purpose: The overreaching purpose of this three-paper dissertation is to: (1) explore the experiences of Latino male student-athletes in a Division I public 4-year institution in the Southern U.S.; (2) understand how Latina/o student-athletes’ campus engagement is related to grade point average (GPA); and (3) examine Latina/o student-athletes’ intent to persist compared to Black and White student-athletes. Methods: In my first study, I draw on Crenshaw’s (1992) intersectionality to understand the challenges and motivations they face based on their Latino and athletic identities. Building off my first manuscript, my second and third manuscripts are quantitative studies using a nationally representative secondary dataset that collected data from over 8,000 student-athletes at 150 NCAA institutions. In the second study, I used Ordinary Least Square Regression (OLS) and modified modify Nora’s (2003) Student/Institution Engagement model to test whether the relationships between GPA and campus experiences (e.g., interactions with faculty, coaches, peers) are statistically different between Latino and Latinas. The third paper is guided by Terenzini and Reason (2005) Comprehensive Model of Influences of Student Learning to understand Latina/o student-athletes’ intent to graduate, consideration of transferring for academic reasons, and consideration of transferring for athletic purposes. Findings: In paper 1, my findings revealed the following three themes: racial remarks, peer stigmas, and cultural obligations. In Paper 2, my results showed that participation in class was positively related to Latina/o student-athletes GPA, and identifying as Latina was not statistically significant. Paper 3 found that White student-athletes have higher odds of intending to graduate than Latina/o student-athletes. In addition, Latina/o student-athletes are more likely to transfer for academic and athletic reasons compared to White student-athletes. Conclusion: Overall, my results suggest that faculty, teammates, and coaches play an important role in supporting Latina/o student-athletes' academic success.



Latina/o, Student-Athletes, Athletics, Persistence


Portions of this document appear in: Ortega, Guillermo. "Examining the Intersection of Race and Athletics for Latino Male Student-Athletes." Journal of Hispanic Higher Education (2019): 1538192719876091.