The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of
Eric Bailey II
for the degree of Doctor of Education
August 9, 2017 at 10:00 am in 301 Browning Hall
Major Advisor: Jeffery Wilson, PhD
Play the game, don’t let it play you: A case study of African American male student-athletes’ experiences at a Division II historically Black college
ABSTRACT: The media’s overrepresentation of Black men in entertainment often portrays that the only Black males who are successful are those who are either professional athletes or entertainers. Therefore, at an early age, many Black boys aspire to capitalize on what society speculates to be their best attributes—physical ability. African American male athletes spend countless hours practicing, exerting a great deal of energy, and enduring physical pain and injuries while competing, all for the slim hope of securing a roster spot on a professional sports team. While college is intended to be a place to acquire the necessary skills or credentials needed to gain entrance into a career, many student-athletes at major Division I institutions view college as simply an audition for professional leagues. The purpose of this case study was to understand the experiences that influence African American male student-athletes’ college choice, career goals, and academic persistence at a Division II Historically Black College. The findings showed that sports played a significant role in providing the participants an opportunity to attend college, and revealed that the HBCU culture was influential in their self-efficacy to secure non-sports related careers. It is anticipated that this study will help to understand the ongoing relevancy of HBCUs and how it prepares African American male student-athletes for life after sports.