Deconstructing Black Masculinity through a Life Span Continuum
Chapter Three: All Eyes on Me: High-Profile African American Male Student-Athletes’ Social Transition into Predominantly White Institutions of Higher Education
DARREN D. KELLY
African American male student-athletes are perhaps the most recognizable students at predominantly White NCAA Division I institutions. While their prominence is already high because they are one of the most visible historically underrepresented groups on campus, they are also frequently featured on television, radio, Internet, and other media outlets, making them stand out even more (Person, Benson-Quaziena, & Rogers, 2001). Despite accounting for only 9% of the total males enrolled in NCAA Division I colleges and universities, African American male student-athletes make up 30% of all the male student-athletes on athletic scholarship (NCAA, 2014a). Often, the most common image of the African American male student is the African American male student-athlete. Thus, due to their prominence in the media and campus culture, the choices they make and the things they do both on and off the field or court are highlighted and criticized openly and often.
Much of the prior literature on African American male student-athletes has suggested that these individuals have been exploited for their athletic ability and ← 43 | 44 → that their athletic participation often hinders their ability to reap many of the positive educational benefits of attending college (Edwards, 1984; Eitzen, 2009; Hawkins, 2001; Sailes, 1986). Scholars have used a number of theoretical frameworks to explain why academic outcomes are hindered. For example, a number of scholars have employed conflict theory to explain the reason for the academic issues of student-athletes in the major revenue-producing sports of...
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