Factors influencing Big 12 Conference college basketball male student -athletes' selection of a university

Chris Croft, University of Texas at El Paso


College and university basketball programs have become very competitive in America for two major reasons. First, because the sport is a five-on-five contest, all universities regardless of the size of their student body can have a college basketball team and can support a competitive basketball program. Second, the ever-popular NCAA Tournament has generated an enormous amount of financial capital for the NCAA in general and all colleges. As a result of this popularity and the national will that my team can win, there has developed a highly competitive recruiting frenzy by NCAA Division I college basketball coaches to garner the top college basketball players. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college basketball program. It is extremely crucial for all college basketball programs, whether they are a high-major, mid-major, or low-major Division I college, to attempt to land the most talented and skilled college basketball student-athletes possible. The purposes of this study were: (1) to develop a profile of Big 12 Conference male basketball players, (2) to identify factors influencing school choice, and (3) to identify the individuals who influenced school choice. The study focused on male college basketball student-athletes from Big 12 Conference member institutions. All 12 of these institutions are located in the Midwest or Southwest geographic regions of the United States. The ultimate goal of this study was to provide invaluable information that can assist college basketball coaches, student-athletes, and parents to make appropriate decisions during the recruitment process. The study was conducted during the fall semester of 2007. The results indicate that more than 50% of the male basketball student-athletes in the schools under study were African-American with the overall majority being juniors and sophomores. More than half of the student-athletes at Big 12 participating schools had a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher and come from high schools with graduating classes of 700 or more and 100 or less. The most significant factors affecting school choice, in rank order, were the student-athletes’ relationship with the head coach, the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament, the reputation of the head coach, the opportunity to play in the Big 12 Conference, the head coach’s style of play, and the student-athlete’s relationship with the assistant coach(s). Additionally, they selected their mothers and fathers as the individuals most influential in their choice of a university. The Big 12 university head coach was selected by two-thirds of the student-athletes at five of the nine participating institutions as influencing their school choice. The campus facilities that impressed student athletes the most and, therefore, affected their school choice, in rank order, were the basketball arena and the institution’s athletic facilities. The campus contacts that were most influential in male basketball student-athletes’ selection of a university, in rank order, were telephone calls from the head coach, visits from the head coach to the school or home during the contact period, and visits from the head coach to high school games. The results of this study indicate that Big 12 Conference schools should evaluate how student-athletes perceive their athletic programs after their initial enrollment. Adjustments should be made to the recruitment processes based on the results of such studies.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Croft, Chris, "Factors influencing Big 12 Conference college basketball male student -athletes' selection of a university" (2008). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3313419.