Retention of recruited athletes from the United States Naval Academy
Robbins, Richard A., Jr.
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This study examines fleet retention rates of USNA graduates who participated in varsity athlete programs from 1988 to 1990 and retained beyond their initial service obligation (N = 2,735). It is based on a theoretical model which investigates two forces of influence on retention: varsity athlete status as a positive influence and recruit status as a negative influence. Results of the hierarchical logistic regression analyses validate the theoretical model and suggest that varsity athletic participation and recruit status do have an impact on fleet retention rates. The negative retention influence of recruit status and the positive retention influence of varsity athletic participation are observed through the interaction of these two forces. Results indicate that recruit status is significantly related to lower retention rates, however, this negative force is counterbalanced by the positive influence of sustained varsity athletic participation, should the athlete have the perseverance to letter in his or her sport. This study also identifies the walk-on varsity athlete as the true beneficiary of the human capital benefits associated with varsity athletic participation. The walk-on varsity athlete acquires leadership and teamwork skills attributed to participation in varsity athletics without the negative recruit influence.
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