Is Athletic an Important aspect at Smaller Colleges Particularly in Historical Black Colleges and Universities


Is Athletic an Important aspect at Smaller Colleges Particularly inHistorical Black Colleges and Universities

Is Athletic an Important aspect at Smaller Colleges Particularly inHistorical Black Colleges and Universities

Tableof Contents

Introduction 3

Current Situation 3

The problem 3

Background of the Study 3

Literature Review 4

Aims 5

Research Questions and Hypothesis 5

Hypothesis 1 5

Hypothesis 2 5

Hypothesis 3 5

Research Design and Methodology 6

Qualitative approach 6

Advantages 6

Disadvantages 6

Outcome and Significance of the Study 6

References 7

IntroductionCurrent Situation

Up to modern times, scientific inventions, discoveries, andtechnological advancement have revolutionized how current activitiesare being conducted, however, with all these discoveries being madeunresolved social problems still stand out with distinctabsoluteness. Is athletic an important aspect in small colleges anduniversities? Many critiques emanating from the National CollegiateAthletic Association and its member institutions have argued thatoveremphasis on athletic performance is the leading cause of academicand personal under-development of Black student-athletes in thesecolleges. According to Cooper and Hawkins (2012), continuous lowgraduation rates of Black student-athletes have been a long-standingproblem facing institutions of higher education, particularly inHistorically Black Colleges and Universities.

Cooperand Hawkins (2012), posits that some of the demographic challengesthat are associated with poor performance of these black athletesinclude negative stereotypes, being first generation collegestudents, lower economic status backgrounds as well as most of thestudent are likely to face poor academic preparation while enteringthe universities. However, most of the institution have not providedadequate support systems or they have not cultivated positivelearning environments that consider the impact of these problems.

The problem

Theproblem is that: To investigate whether the actual current status andposition of Black athlete-students about their academic achievementare affected by the over-emphasis on athletic performance. Therefore,this study will examine whether athletic is an important aspect insmaller colleges or it leads to poor academic performanceparticularly black athletes in Historic Black Colleges andUniversities.

Background of the Study

Historical Black Colleges and Universities are the only institutionsin the United States that were started to educate black citizens.Immediately after the Civil War, most of the public and privateschools were founded to serve several black American students insouthern and some borders of United States (La Noue and Bennett,2014). Nevertheless, the existence of low grades and academicachievements have been a longstanding problem that affects theseinstitutions because of athletics. This is because, there exist insignificant number, Black athletes, both men and women in highprofile football, basketball, and field events together withintegrity from higher education regardless of the abuses andcritiques that characterize athletes (Cooper and Hawkins, 2012).These black athletes continue to face substantial problems whileattempting to improve their academic and research capabilities(Johnson, 2013). On the other hand, as noted by Johnson (2013), theseinstitutions face many problems like aging infrastructure, theabsence of the state of art equipment, limited technology, anddigital access, limited funds for faculty development and newacademic programs for their students.

When these factors are combined, black student-athletes are subjectedto low academic outcomes within these institutions. However, withabove challenges, black college athletes participate in almost allthe intercollegiate sports and provides a majority of participants inthe two most popular and highest profit generating sports of footballand men’s basketball (Cooper et al., 2014). In spite ofthese achievements, the prevalence of opportunities for Blackathletes has always been ordinary in the United States. To understandwhether athletic is important among the black athletes in thesecolleges, it is necessary to investigate and understand the currentracial, athletic and economic imbalance between intercollegiateprograms between Historically White Colleges and Historically BlackColleges (Cooper et al., 2014).

Literature Review

Manystudies have been conducted pertaining the low academic achievementamong the Black athletes in the Historically Black Colleges andUniversities. However, only a little information has been identifiedas to the reason why black athletes achieve these low grades ascompared to students from Historically White Colleges andUniversities. Also, many studies have not fully considered variouschallenges that these Black Students face. According to Cooper et al.(2014), Athletic is an important aspect among the small colleges inthe sense that majority of the Black athletes constitute theparticipant of the most attractive profit generating sports such asBasketball and Football. These high profiled sports make lots ofincome in the United States.

Cooper and Hawkins (2012), finds that some research on Black malestudent-athletes has focused only on their experiences and academicachievement at major Division I Predominantly White Institutions.Within this context, black athletes are facing numerous forms ofracial discrimination, social isolation, academic negligence, andoverexploitation of their athletic talents. He further notes thatthese challenges are further exacerbated by cultural dissonance thatBlack athletes attending these institutions face (Cooper and Hawkins,2012). Indeed, these difficulties and negative experiences are themajor contributing factors towards high erosion rates and pooracademic outcomes among the Black athletes. La Noue and Bennett(2014), explicitly notes that Education for Blacks has remained to besegregated in the Southern and borders of United States. And the onlyway to deal with this problem is to disintegrate higher education andenhance equity in the distribution of learning materials to bothHistorically Black Colleges and Historically White Colleges.

The role of learning institutions in the lives of students largelyinvolves creation of ideal learning environments that promote thewell-being of these individuals. In historically African Americancolleges, this role extends further to addressing academic andsocio-cultural challenges that students of black heritage face(Simiyu, 2012). According to the Student Involvement Theory (SIT)(Astin 1984 cited in Simiyu, 2012), the contribution of anindividual to their own academic growth is determined by theirinvolvement in the education offered by the institutions as well asthe resources offered to them within the institution.

Consequently, the exploitation of Black athletes has been a dominanttopic of controversy. This controversy is equated with the mostprofit generating sports, and when these events are taking place,they expose and editorial bounds, decrying low graduation ratesrecruitment and commodification of young Black athletes for theirtalent and potential. On the other hand, these Black athletes comefrom low-income families, and they are not able to financiallycontinue (Johnson, 2013).


The primary objective of this research is to examine whetherathletics is important among the small colleges, particularly inHistorically Black Colleges and Universities.

Research Questions and Hypothesis

Toaccomplish the aim and address the how this research will add valueto the field of athletics as a whole, the following issues will beaddressed in the study:

  1. To identify the importance of athletics in smaller colleges particularly in historically black colleges and universities

  2. To determine the challenges that are associated with low academic outcomes among Black athletes.

  3. To examine the role of government in the change and development of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

  4. Is there significance difference between Historically Black and Historically White Colleges and Universities?

Researchobjectives for the current study include:

  1. To conduct literature, review to identify the importance of athletics in small colleges

  2. What are the problems facing Black athlete-students?

  3. To develop and related the difference between Historically Black and White Colleges and Universities.

Separately, considering the primary source and the practicalexperience of the current situation, analysis of the literaturereview, below are the formulated hypothesis of the research:

Hypothesis 1

Athleticis important in small colleges as it constitutes the highest profitgenerating sport.

Hypothesis 2

Racialdiscrimination, low-income economies, and negative stereotypes arethe main factors that lead to low academic outcomes among Blackathletes.

Hypothesis 3

Thereare statistically significant differences between Historically Blackand White Colleges and Universities regarding the allocation ofresources and development.

Research Design and MethodologyQualitative approach

This study will adopt the qualitative approach. This method is saidto provide reliable, relevant, and pertinent data for research asnoted by Galbraith (2010). Semi-structured interviews will be carriedout to identify the importance of athletics in small colleges andalso provide an appropriate framework that posits impact on thecontinuation of athletic among Black students. Using random sampling,500 Black students in the Historically Black Colleges in the southernparts. Semi-structured interview guide will be prepared based onresearch questions and literature review. Other pieces of literatureare also going to be examined such as books, journals, peer-reviewedarticles and websites will be used to collect information based onthe present study. On the availability of the data, comparativeanalysis will be carried on, to shed light on the current researchquestions.


A qualitative approach, in this case, have the tendency to stress aninductive approach that focuses on generating theories. Theexamination and reflection of the perceptions of the researchparticipants with the aim of understanding the rationale behind theirsuccess as athletes will be part of the qualitative approach.Furthermore, this study is inductive and exploratory therefore, thismethod will prove helpful in providing the description of limited andautonomous phenomena and will provide a better grasp of the phenomenathat are barely understood (Galbraith, 2010). Because this study isprimarily centered on cross-sectional qualitative approach, it willhelp to collect large sample size within the less period to examinethe importance of athletics in smaller colleges.


Someof the disadvantages include the perception of the situation of theresearcher when the actual process of collecting data. Galbraith(2010), identifies qualitative approach to have a limit on thedevelopment of an understanding of observation, behavior, andattitudes towards an individual. Sometimes, the plan is said to besubjective with outcomes being taken without being tested.

Finding and Significance of the Study

This study will contribute vastly towards the inventions of newpolicies that seeks the importance of athletics both as educationalachievement and part of profit generating income. The research willalso provide different fronts. In the first category, the researchtends to validate both factors lead to low academic outcomes amongblack athletes and ways of addressing them. Secondly, it alsocontributes to academic research on the importance of athletics amongthe students of Historically Black Colleges, which is an understudiedcontext. Finally, the study will provide recommendations essentialfor dealing with factors that affect Historically Black Colleges inaddressing the issue like the equal distribution of resources anddevelopment, discrimination, and social stereotypes.


Astin, A. W. (1984). Student Involvement: A Development Theory forHigher Education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297-308.

Cooper, J. N., Cavil, K. J., and Cheeks, G. (2014). The State soIntercollegiate Athletics at Historically Black Colleges andUniversities (HBCUs): Past, Present, and Persistence. Journal ofIssues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 2014, Vol. 7, p. 307-332.

Cooper, J. N., and Hawkins, B. (2012). A Place of Opportunity: BlackMale Student Athletes’ Experiences at the Historically BlackUniversity. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 2012, Vol. 5, p.170-188.

Galbraith, S. (2010), “Handbook of qualitative research methods inentrepreneurship: People and Places in the Global Economy. Journalof Enterprising Communities, 2010, Vol. 4(1), p. 109-111

Johnson, N. M. (2013). Financial and Related Issues among theHistorically Black Colleges and Universities. Journal ofIntercollegiate Sport, 2013, Vol. 6 p. 65-75.

La Noue, R. G., and Bennett, M. (2014). The Impact of Disintegrationon College Choices of Elite Black Athletes. International Journalof Higher Education, 2014. Vol. 3 (3). doi:10.5430/ijhe.v3n3p142.

Simiyu, W. N. (2012). Challenges of a Black Student Athlete on U.S.College Campuses. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics,2012. Vol. 5 p. 40-63.