A Critical Examination of NCAA Division I HBCU Athletic Director's Perspective of the Current State of Intercollegiate Athletics
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The purpose of this study is to illuminate the perception of the current National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) structure from the perspective of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) administrators, primarily DI HBCU Athletic Directors. HBCU athletic programs are placed in a precarious situation, in which, administrators are forced to operate as marginalized institutions within a structure that perpetuates resource based inequities between institutions. As historically Black institutions, HBCUs also operate within the confines of the greater socially oppressive racial structure that permeates between the American higher educational context and intercollegiate athletics context. Although there is literature pertaining to HBCUs in the broader intercollegiate athletics literature covering a range of topics (i.e., consumer behavior, academic success, history, organizational effectiveness), there continues to be a dearth in the literature of the voices and experiences of HBCU athletic administrators and how they navigate within the current NCAA structure. Thus, this examination utilized an intrinsic case study approach including a semi-structured interview with an Athletic Director from a NCAA DI HBCU. From this dialogue, four main themes emerged. First, (Re)defining Who We Are, which refers to the necessity for HBCUs to understand who they want to be and how they want to represent themselves moving forward. Second, Combatting the Label, which speaks to the perception of the impact that the label of an HBCU, or low resource institution, has and how HBCU athletic programs desire to overcome misconceptions. Third, Separation and Exclusion, refers to the perception of parameters and barriers to access that HBCU athletic programs face in the current structure of the NCAA. Lastly, Resource Disparities, which refers to the acknowledgement of the disparity in resource distribution in the current NCAA DI structure. This research demonstrates examples of how the perception and positioning of HBCU athletic programs at the NCAA DI level is symptomatic of continued racial and class discrimination. Additionally, the implications call for re-evaluation of continued participation in the NCAA as well as development of countermeasures to the imposed devaluation of HBCU athletics.
Cheeks, Geremy (2016). A Critical Examination of NCAA Division I HBCU Athletic Director's Perspective of the Current State of Intercollegiate Athletics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from