The Transfer Effect

A Critical Race Theory Examination of Black Male Transfer Student Athletes’ Experiences


  • Joseph N. Cooper University of Connecticut
  • Billy Hawkins University of Georgia



Black male student athletes, transfer student athletes, critical race theory, historically Black colleges and universities, intercollegiate athletics


The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of Black male student athletes who transferred from predominantly White institutions (PWIs) to a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in the southeastern United States (U.S.). This qualitative case study involved a single focus group interview and two individual interviews with Black male transfer student athletes who were enrolled at a HBCU. Critical race theory (CRT) was applied as a theoretical framework to examine the impact of race and racism on the participants’ experiences within different educational and sociocultural environments. The key research topics of interest included identifying the participants’ reasons for transferring from a PWI to a HBCU and understanding their college experiences at the HBCU. Findings revealed participants’ encounters with various forms of covert and overt racism at PWIs resulted in negative college experiences, which motivated them to transfer to a HBCU. Using tenets of CRT and a thematic analysis procedure, the following two emergent themes were identified: “We Were the Outcasts” and “They Want to See You Succeed.” Implications for policy and practice are discussed.


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Author Biography

  • Joseph N. Cooper, University of Connecticut
    Cooper is with Educational Leadership, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Hawkins is with the Kinesiology Department, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Address author correspondence to Joseph Cooper at




How to Cite

Cooper, J. N., & Hawkins, B. (2014). The Transfer Effect: A Critical Race Theory Examination of Black Male Transfer Student Athletes’ Experiences. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 7(1), 80-104.