Underprepared and Under Supported: Are Black Student-Athletes at an Academic Disadvantage?

Photo:  Adobe Stock

Photo: Adobe Stock


Are Black Student-Athletes at an Academic Disadvantage?

 (Spoiler, the answer is in the next sentence.)


Yes! Black student-athletes are at an academic disadvantage.


But that’s not the main issue.


I went to a PWI with an undergrad enrollment of 7000 students. My advisor didn’t know my name until my senior year. He wasn't interested in me as a student.


He did know, however, that I was a member of the Football and Track and Field teams.


Black Student-Athletes Need Support.


Social support greatly influences the academic success of Black student-athletes that attend predominantly White institutions of higher education. Currently, only 63% of black male athletes graduate with undergraduate degrees; while in comparison 84% of white athletes. 


Yes, Black student-athletes are often under prepared upon matriculation of their undergraduate careers. But the issue is, nothing ( or very little ) is being done to support these athletes during their academic pursuits. Athletic administration stakeholders need to take a step back and revisit the very mission statement of the NCAA which states that they aim to, “Integrate athletics into higher education so that the education experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”; and ensure that these underserved student-athletes are getting the proper support during their undergraduate educations and have the tools to successfully complete their academic careers.


There aren't enough resources in athletic departments for black student-athletes to receive to guidance through their student-athlete careers. My advisors did nothing for me, all they did was open up my account so I could register for classes. 


I was able to get across the stage because of intrinsic motivation and social support from a few friends and my family. But for 37% of my brothers that look just like me, they don’t make it because nobody cares…and that’s got to change.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR            

   Donovan Burriss is a Sports Management M.S. Student at Indiana University of PA. He graduated from Frostburg State University with a B.S. in Kinesiology while also focusing on Management and Small Business Administration. 

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