Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2015

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International and Multicultural Education (IME)


School of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Onllwyn Dixon

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Katz

Third Advisor

Dr. Betty Taylor


College sports have a profoundly positive effect on the vast majority of student-athletes who go on to pursue careers in something other than sports but this phenomenon has not translated equitably to the Black Male Student Athlete. Between 2007 and 2010, Black men were only 2.8% of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students but comprised 57.1% of football teams and 64.3% of basketball teams; The NCAA’s ongoing campaign to highlight the positive outcomes of participating in collegiate athletics has failed to address many of the underlying issues affecting Black male student-athletes. Specifically, there is perpetuation of the “myth that the road to success is paved with sports contracts, not diplomas.”

Black male student-athletes are often socialized to value sports over academics at a young age because athletic talent can mean access to a college education and improvement in the social and economic status of the athletes and their families. Once Black male student-athletes matriculate, colleges and universities often reify this educational disequilibrium by succumbing to the pressures of winning and by reaping substantial financial benefits at the expense of their academic success.

This project emphasizes the responsibilities that athletic department staff (ADS) have to deconstruct how the lived experiences of Black male student-athletes can negatively impact their academic progress, identify how their perceptions and stereotypes of these students cause them to unconsciously objectify them, and encourage engagement in practice that shifts from a deficit model approach to one that recognizes their community cultural capital. They must question their practices to identify how they are unconsciously contributing to the disenfranchisement and marginalization of these students during their collegiate careers.

ADS must recognize how their expectations are shaped by a prevailing negative social narrative about Black males and an industry that emphasizes revenue and entertainment value at the expense of the intellectual and social development of many student-athletes. Moreover, they must balance institutional pressure to win against the responsibility to provide culturally relevant support that allows Black male student-athletes to be more fully seen and included in all aspects of campus life.

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