The retention of first-time, first-year students to their sophomore year is important to institutions of higher education because it predicts the students' ultimate graduation from the institution. Researchers have long asserted that the social environment of an institution influences students' decisions to continue at their schools. One of the most visible social aspects of colleges and universities in the United States is that of the intercollegiate athletic programs. This study focused on institutions with non-scholarship athletic programs and how athletics were incorporated in the overall retention programs of those institutions. Results indicated that athletics were important to these institutions because a large portion of the student population were student-athletes. Thus, the retention of student-athletes affected the overall retention rate of the institution. Effective retention practices are highlighted in the study.