Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Bruce H. Kramer, Ph.D.; Robert J. Brown, Ph.D.; Cindy A. Lavorato, J.D.


In the original “No Pass/No Play” legislation (enacted by Texas State Legislature in 1985), students had to pass all classes with at least a 70% average to participate in sports or extracurricular activities. Since then, no pass/no play regulations have been enacted across the nation with little evidence regarding their effectiveness. Questions necessarily arise: What effects do sanctions have on athletes’ social, emotional, and physical development? Specifically, how do imposed no pass/no play sanctions affect the youth development of high school athletes?

Using the framework of youth development, this study aimed to describe the impacts of no pass/no play on sanctioned youths. It was grounded in Giesela Konopka’s (1973) authoritative theories of the essential characteristics of positive and negative youth development, including her nine tenets describing requirements for healthy adolescent youth development.

This study used a qualitative, interview-based, grounded theory methodology. Data from 15 cases were categorized into factors that facilitated or impeded youth development. Within these two groups, participant responses were categorized by Konopka’s tenets as reported most often (High), in the midrange (Moderate), and rarely (Minimal). Analysis yielded a combined 387 comments (157 that facilitate and 230 that impede).

The results indicated how sanctions impacted the participants in terms of their youth development as athletes. Those comments indicating that positive youth development had been facilitated were outnumbered by those indicating it had been impeded by nearly 30%. Since the “highly impedes” and “moderately impedes” categories represented the majority of all the data, these findings suggest that no pass/no play sanctions may negatively impact the youth development of athletes more often than not. Less commonly, participants identified how the sanctions may have facilitated their youth development. This study concluded that stakeholders implementing no pass/no play policies should develop sanctions that focus particularly on activities that propel youths toward citizenship, self-reflection, and accountability. Further research may alter the course of sanction implementation or, minimally, provide better tools to facilitate, rather than hinder, athletes’ positive youth development.


No Pass/ No Play, Youth Development, High School Sports, Athletic Policy, Athletic Sanctions, Health Adolescent Development

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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