Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Christopher Maddox, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James Therrell, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jill Bonds, Ed.D.


African American male athletes are attending public and private universities and colleges across the United States in increasing numbers. Participating in a collegiate sport may interfere with the athletes’ academic achievements. Past researchers have shown the influence of collegiate sport participation on African American identity and a striving for upward mobility among African American males through sports. However, African American male athletes are not offered the chance to describe their experiences while participating in collegiate sports. In this explanatory case study I explored how sports participation impacted the academic achievement of African American male collegiate athletes. Parsons’s structural functionalism theory, Cross’s nigrescence model of Black identity, and Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory formed the conceptual framework, or lens, for this study. The research question about how sports participation impacts the pursuit of academic achievement among African American collegiate male athletes guided the study. The data revealed 3 recurring themes in participants’ perceptions of the impact of athletics on their academics: (a) participants did not feel like regular students; (b) participants had long days, and (c) participants frequently mentioned the conflict of money taking priority over academics. All participants agreed upon adopting approaches to perpetuate higher academic achievement for African American male athletes. This study may affect African American male athletes, coaches, and parents. The implications of this study could encourage colleges and universities to address the perceptions of African American male athletes’ failed academic achievements.