An examination of the graduation rates of the Division I African -American male basketball student-athlete

Kevin L Hatcher, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

In the continuing debate over the importance placed on intercollegiate athletics verses higher education, a recent source of scrutiny has been the low graduation rates of African-American male basketball student-athletes. For the past 20 years, college graduation rates of African-American male basketball players have been the lowest among student-athletes in NCAA Division-I schools (NCAA archived graduation rates, NCAA web page). ^ The most recent NCAA graduation rate report (for the 2002 academic school year) revealed that graduation rates for Division I and Division I-A African-American male basketball players were 35% and 28% respectively (NCAA archived graduation rates, NCAA web page). In comparison, the graduation rate for all student-athletes was 60%. ^ The purpose of this study is to increase our understanding of why the graduation rates of African-American male student-athletes in the sport of Division-I basketball are significantly lower than other Division-I student-athletes. ^ In examining the low graduation rates of African-American male basketball student-athletes the following research questions guided the conduct of this study: (1) What perceived factors influence graduation rates of African American male basketball student-athletes attending Division I athletic institutions? (2) What perceived influence(s) does the specific institution have on the graduation rates of African-American male basketball student-athletes? (3) What are the perceived pre-college characteristics that affect African American male basketball student-athlete's graduation rates? ^ In conducting this research, the researcher interviewed five current and former African-American male basketball players (2 current and 3 former), four current Athletic Administrators and three Division I-A basketball coaches. ^ The findings of this study were consistent with the findings of other studies on African-American males and school achievement. The following pre-college factors influence academic achievement; self-efficacy (Irvine, 1990; Berry & Asamen, 1989); lack of role models (Hopkins, 1996; Irvine, 1990); environmental factors (Shujaa, 1996; Haymes, 1995); lack of preparedness (Hopkins, 1997; Berry & Asamen, 1989). ^ The major recommendation for this research is that colleges and universities need to make their athletic departments more accountable when it comes to the low graduation rates of their African-American male basketball players. By focusing less on the monetary benefits of a winning team and holding athletic administrators and coaches more accountable for their graduation rates, this researcher believes that we will see a drop in practice and playing time and a rise in graduation rates. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Physical

Recommended Citation

Hatcher, Kevin L, "An examination of the graduation rates of the Division I African -American male basketball student-athlete" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3125569.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3125569

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