An Examination of the Experiences of Black Football Athletes
Keywords:race, college football, social support
The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of Black college athletes that played football and graduated from a Division I Power 5 institution. It is well documented that Black football players graduate from Power 5 institutions lower rates than any other student or athlete group, due to a variety of obstacles they face on campus. Despite these obstacles, there are athletes in this group who do graduate from their institution and successfully transition into professional careers. The research conducted for this article is adapted from a dissertation that explores the campus environment that Black college football players must navigate. This article focuses on the impact the social support network has, helping these athletes maneuver through their organizational environment and prepare for life after athletics. Understanding the possible influences of a support network can be a critical strategy for the survival of this group of athletes.
Aud, S., Fox, M., & Kewal-Ramani, A. (2010). Status and trends in the education of
racial and ethnic groups. (No. NCES 2010-005). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov.proxy.lib.umich.edu/pubs2010/2010015.pdf
Azzam, A. M. (2008). Neglecting high achievers. Educational Leadership, 66, 90-92.
Beamon, K. (2008). "Used goods": Former African American college student-athletes' perception of exploitation by Division I universities. The Journal of Negro Education, 77, 352-364.
Beamon, K. (2014). Racism and stereotyping on campus: Experiences of African American male student-athletes. The Journal of Negro Education, 83, 121-134.
Benson, K. (2000). Constructing academic inadequacy: African American athletes' stories of schooling. The Journal of Higher Education, 71, 223-246.
Berliner, D. (2013). Effects of inequality and poverty vs. teachers and schooling on America's youth. Teachers College Record, 115, 1-26.
Bimper, A., Harrison, L., & Clark, L. (2012). Diamonds in the rough: Examining a case of successful Black male student athletes in college sport. Journal of Black Psychology, 39, 107-130. doi:10.1177/0095798412454676
Butler, P. (2012). Poor people lose: Gideon and the critique of rights. Yale Law Journal, 122, 2176-2204.
Carter-Francique, A., Hart, A., & Cheeks, G. (2015). Examining the value of social capital and social support for Black student-athletes’ academic success. Journal of African American Studies, 19, 157-177. doi:10.1007/s12111-015-9295-z
Carter-Francique, A., Hart, A., & Steward, A. (2013). Black college athletes' perceptions of academic success and the role of social support. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 6, 231-246.
Carson, E. A. (2014). Prisoners in 2013. (No. NCJ 247282). Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.
Chen, S., Mason, N., Middleton, S., & Salazar, W. (2013). An examination of behavioral data and testing scores as indicators of student-athletes' academic success. KAHPERD Journal, 51, 34-43.
Coakley, J. (2009). Sports in society: Issues and controversies McGraw-Hill Ryerson Higher Education.
Comeaux, E. (2008). Black male in the college classroom: A quantitative analysis of student athlete-faculty interactions. Challenge: A Journal of Research on African American Men, (1), 13.
Comeaux, E. (2012). Unmasking athlete microaggressions: Division I student-athletes' engagement with members of the campus community. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 5, 189-198.
Comeaux, E. (2013). Rethinking academic reform and encouraging organizational innovation: Implications for stakeholder management in college sports. Innovative Higher Education, 38, 281-293.
Comeaux, E., Bachman, T., Burton, R., & Aliyeva, A. (2017). Undergraduate experiences of division I athlete science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates. Journal of Science Education Technology, 26, 24-32. 10.1007/s10956-016-9648
Comeaux, E., & Harrison, C. K. (2007). Faculty and male student athletes: Racial difference in the environmental predictors of academic achievement. Race Ethnicity and Education, 10, 199-214. doi:10.1080/13613320701330726
Comeaux, E., & Harrison, C. K. (2011). A conceptual model of academic success for student-athletes. Educational Researcher, 40(5), 235-245. doi:10.3102/0013189X11415260
Cooper, J. (2012). Personal troubles and public issues: A sociological imagination of black athletes' experience at predominantly white institutions in the united states. Sociology Mind, 2, 261-271.
Cooper, J. (2016). Excellence beyond athletics: Best practices for enhancing black male student athletes' educational experiences and outcomes. Equity & Excellence in Education, 49, 267-283.
Cooper, J., & Cooper, J. (2015). "I'm running so you can be happy and I can keep my scholarship": A comparative study of Black male college athletes' experiences with role conflict. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 8, 131-152. 10.1123/jis.2014.0120
Cooper, J., & Dougherty, S. (2015). Does race still matter?: A post bowl championship series (BCS) era examination of student athletes’ experiences at a division I historically black College/University (HBCU) and predominantly white institution (PWI). Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 8, 74-101.
Cooper, J., & Hawkins, B. (2014). The transfer effect: A critical race theory examination of black male transfer student athletes' experiences. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 7, 80-104.
Dancy, T. E. (2014). (Un) doing hegemony in education: Disrupting school-to-prison pipelines for black males. Equity & Excellence in Education, 47, 475-493.
Darensbourg, A., Perez, E., & Blake, J. (2010). Overrepresentation of African American males in exclusionary discipline: The role of school-based mental health professionals in dismantling the school to prison pipeline. Journal of African American Males in Education, 1, 196-211.
Davis, T. (1994). The myth of the superspade: The persistence of racism in college athletics. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 22, 615-698.
Donnor, J. (2005). Towards an interest-convergence in the education of African American football student athletes in major college sports. Race, 8, 45-67. doi:10.1080/1361332052000340999
Ford, D. (2014). Segregation and the underrepresentation of Black and Hispanics in gifted education: Social inequality and deficit paradigms. Roeper Review, 36, 143-154.
Gatmen, E. (2011). Academic exploitation: The adverse impact of college athletics on the educational success of minority student-athletes. Seattle Journal of Social Science, 10, 509-583.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1965). Awareness of dying. Chicago, IL: Aldine Atherton.
Golafshani, N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The
Qualitative Report, 8, 597-607.
Gragg, D. & Flowers, R. (2014). Factors that positively affect academic performance of African American football student athletes. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 8, 77-98. doi:10.1179/193573914Z.00000000020
Grandy, J., Lough, N., & Miller, C. (2016). Improving student-athlete academic success: Evaluation of learning support tools utilized by academic advisors for athletics. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 10, 199-217.
Harper, S. (2006). Black male students at public flagship universities in the U.S. status, trends, and implications for policy and practice. Washington, D.C.: The Joint Center Health Policy Institute.
Harper, S. (2009). Niggers no more: A critical race counternarrative on Black male student achievement at predominantly white colleges and universities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22
Harper, S. (2012). Black male student success in higher education. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.
Harper, S., Williams, C., & Blackman, H. (2012). Black male student-athletes and racial inequities in NCAA Division I college sports. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.
Harris, A. (2010). The economic and educational state of Black Americans in the 21st century: Should we be optimistic or concerned. The Review of Black Political Economy, 37, 241-252. doi:10.1007/s12114-010-9065-s
Hawkins, B. (2010). Economic recession, college athletics, and issues of diversity and inclusion: When white America sneezes, Black America catches pneumonia. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 3, 96-100.
Hayes, D., Cunningham, M., & Courseault, J. (2006). Race related barriers for African American males pursuing higher education: Implications for psychology. Race, Gender & Class, 13, 124-132.
Hope, E., Skoog, A., & Jagers, R. (2015). "It'll never be the white kids, it'll always be us": Black high school students' evolving critical analysis of racial discrimination and inequality in schools. Journal of Adolescent Research, 30, 83-112.
Hughes, C. (2013). Poverty and disability: Addressing the challenge of inequality. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 36, 37-42.
Jonassen, D., Davidson, M., Collins, C., Campbell, J., & Haag, B. B. (1995). Constructivism and computer-mediated communication in distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 9(7), 26.
Jones, J., & Schmitt, J. (2014). A college degree is no guarantee. Washington, D.C.: Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Leahey, T. H., & Harris, R. J. (1985). Human learning. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Martin, B., Harrison, C. K., & Bukstein, S. (2010). "It takes a village" for African American male scholar-athletes. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 4, 277-295. 10.1179/ssa.2010.4.3.277
Masten, A., & Powell, J. (2003). A resilience framework for research, policy, and practice. In S. S. Luthar (Ed.), Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood activities (pp. 1-25). New York: Cambridge University Press.
McCormick, R., & McCormick, A. (2006). The myth of the student-athlete: The college athlete as employee. Washington Law Review Association, 81, 71-157.
Melendez, M. (2008). Black football players on a predominately white college campus: Psychology and emotional realities of the black college athlete experience. Journal of Black Psychology,34, 423-451. doi:10.1177/0095798408319874
Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative case study research. Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation, 39-54.
Muwonge, C. L. (2012). Theocratic governance and the divergent catholic cultural groups in the USA. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI.
National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2015). Sport Sponsorship, Participation and Demographics Search [Data file]. Retrieved from http://web1.ncaa.org/rgdSearch/exec/main
National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2014). Trends in graduation success rates and federal graduation rates at NCAA division I institutions. NCAA.
Navarro, K. M. (2014). A conceptual model of Division I student-athletes' career construction processes. College Student Affairs Journal, 32, 219-235.
Ogbu, J. (2004). Collective identity and the burden of "acting white" in black history, community, and education. The Urban Review, 36, 1-35.
Owens, D., Lacey, K., Rawls, G., & Holbert-Quince, J. (2010). First generation African American male college students: Implications for career counselors. The Career Development Quarterly, 58, 291-300.
Palmer, R., Davis, R., Moore, J., & Hilton, A. (2010). A nation at risk: Increasing college participation and persistence among African American males to stimulate U.S. global competitiveness. Journal of African American Males in Education, 1, 105-124.
Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, MI: Sage Publications.
Perlmutter, D. (2003). Black athletes and white professors: A twilight zone of uncertainty. Chronicle of Higher Education, 50
Quillian, L., Pager, D., Hexel, O., & Midtbøen. (2017). Meta-analysis of field experiments shows no change in racial discrimination in hiring over time. PNAS.
Reeves, A. (2014). Written in black & white: Exploring confirmation bias in racialized perceptions of writing skills. Nextions.
Reynolds, L., Fisher, D., & Cavil, J. K. (2012). Impact of demographic variables on African American student athletes' academic performance. Educational Foundations, 93-111.
Sailes, G. (1993). An investigation of campus stereotypes: The myth of Black athlete superiority and the dumb jock stereotype. Sociology of Sport Journal, 10, 88-97.
Sailes, G. (2010). The African American athlete: Social myths and stereotypes. In G. Sailes (Ed.), Modern sport and the African American athlete experience. (pp. 55-68). San Diego, CA: Cognella.
Salkind, N. (2008). In Salkind N. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of educational psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.umich.edu/10.4135/9781412963848
Sanders, J., & Hildenbrand, K. (2010). Major concerns? A longitudinal analysis of student-athletes' academic majors in comparative perspective. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 3, 213-233.
Sellers, R. (1992). Racial difference in the predictors for academic achievement of student-athletes in division I revenue producing sports. Sociology of Sport Journal, 9, 48-59.
Sellers, R. (2000). African American student-athletes: Opportunity or exploitation? In D. Brooks, & R. Althouse (Eds.), Racism in college athletics (2nd ed., pp. 133-154). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
Simiyu, W. (2012). Challenges of being a Black student-athlete on U.S. college campuses. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 5, 40-63.
Simons, H. D., Bosworth, C., Fujita, S., & Jensen, M. (2007). The athlete stigma in higher education. College Student Journal, 41, 251-273.
Singer, J. (2005). Understanding racism through the eyes of African American male student-athletes. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8, 365-386. doi:10.1080/13613320500323963
Singer, J. (2008). Benefits and detriments of African American male athletes' participation in a big-time college football program. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 43, 399-498. doi:10.1177/1012690208099874
Smith, S. (2005). "Don't put my name of it": Social capital activation and job-finding
assistance among Black urban poor. American Journal of Sociology, 111, 1-57.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication.
The Sentencing Project. (2013). Report of the sentencing project to the united nations human rights committee: Regarding racial disparities in the united states criminal justice system. Washington, D.C.: The Sentencing Project.
Tyrance, S., Harris, H., & Post, P. (2013). Predicting positive career planning attitudes among
NCAA division I college student-athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 7, 22-40.
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. (2014). Civil rights data collection: Data snapshot (school discipline). U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://ocrdata.ed.gov/downloads/crdc-school-discipline-snapshot.pdf
Warikoo, N., Sinclair, S., Fei, J., & Jacoby-Senghor, D. (2016). Examining racial bias in education: A new approach. Educational Researcher, 45, 508-514.
Whiting, G. (2009). Gifted black males: Understanding and decreasing barriers to achievement and identity. Roeper Review, 31, 214-233. doi:10.1080/02783190903177598
Wolverton, B. (2016, January, 5). Athletes’ hours renew debate over college sports. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://chronicle.com
How to Cite
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-ND) License
1. License. You retain the copyright for your work. You here by grant to us a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable license to:
• Reproduce, distribute and display the edited manuscript in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport (and other publications prepared by us or on our behalf) in any media now or hereafter known (including without limitation electronic publications such as the Internet, Google Scholar, and social media)
We do not restrict your distribution or use of the manuscript following publication in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport (in fact, we encourage it!). However, we have the right to publish the manuscript first on the journal website. Thus, the foregoing licenses are exclusive to us prior to our publication of the manuscript. You confirm that you have disclosed to us all previous or pending public disseminations of the manuscript, including without limitation any publications or acceptances by other journals or disseminations via websites or conference proceedings.
2. Other Confirmations. You confirm that you are the manuscripts sole author(s); you have the right to convey the foregoing licenses; the manuscript does not infringe any third party copyright, publicity/privacy right or other proprietary right; and the manuscript is not defamatory or otherwise unlawful. You shall defend and indemnify us against all claims based on any alleged breach of your confirmations in this contract.
Compensation: You will receive one (1) free copy (PDF) of the article published online in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport. You will receive no royalty or other monetary return from the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport for use of the article. You do, however, have our extreme gratitude!
3. Entire Contract. This contract is the sole and exclusive agreement between the parties regarding the manuscript and supersedes all prior conversations and understandings regarding its subject matter. This contract may be modified or supplemented only by a mutually signed writing.