Examining the Value of Social Capital and Social Support for Black Student-Athletes’ Academic Success

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to understand how social capital and social support influence the academic success of Black student-athletes that attend predominantly White institutions of higher education (PWIHEs). Utilizing a qualitative approach, the authors conducted narrative interviews to understand the experiences of Black student-athletes (N = 9) at a PWIHE in the southwestern region of the USA. Employing critical race theory, the Black student-athletes revealed their experiential realities as a racial minority within the academic environment. The findings revealed that their academic success was contingent upon their interactions with faculty as their status as Black student-athletes promoted positive and negative interactions. As such, Black student-athletes leveraged their social capital, or social networks consisting of parents and family, to provide social support. Acknowledging the unique “culture” of student-athletes, college and university athletic departments and their personnel may find it beneficial to create proactive avenues for parental engagement to aid in student-athlete adjustment and matriculation.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Graduation Success Rate (GSR) reflects the proportion of student-athletes that progress toward degree completion and student-athletes that complete their college degree. The rate also accounts for student-athletes that transfer to and transfer from an institution of higher education (NCAA 2015).

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Carter-Francique, A.R., Hart, A. & Cheeks, G. Examining the Value of Social Capital and Social Support for Black Student-Athletes’ Academic Success. J Afr Am St 19, 157–177 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-015-9295-z

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Keywords

  • Black student-athletes
  • Social capital
  • Social support
  • Academic success
  • Critical race theory